Public letter regarding child killed by truck driver this Sunday in the Seaport

A 4-year-old girl was struck and killed by a truck driver near the Children’s Museum in the Seaport District on Sunday. While this occurred outside of Roslindale, we felt it was important to speak out on this horrific event. Below is a public letter we sent to our elected officials.

It was heart-breaking news that we heard of the death of a 4 year old girl, who was out with her family, in the Seaport district on Sunday evening. She was struck and killed by an F150 truck on the junction of Congress and Sleeper streets.

As the circumstances around the death remain under investigation, we do not know the causes of the lethal incident, and in many ways at this very moment, it does not matter: what matters is that it happened at all. 

No one gets into their vehicle with the intent of killing another human being, yet this happens too often (approx. 40,000 times a year in the US alone), but these deaths on our roads (especially in cities) can be attributed to just a few contributing factors:

A lack of safe street design, aggressive vehicle design, and poor/distracted driving. 

Taken together these factors are creating a deadly cocktail on our roads, and we should be saying “Enough is Enough”.

If it was your 4 year old child, how would you be feeling today? 

That it is not your child, should not lessen that feeling.

The first step in preventing any more of these road deaths, and moving towards VisionZero (remember that?) is the implementation of Safe Streets.

Safe Streets are safe for every road user, including vulnerable road users, and not just vehicle drivers, and the creation of Safe Streets is something that the City of Boston is directly able to control.

Safe Street design within the City of Boston simply needs to happen more quickly. We applauded Mayor Wu’s Safety Surge, which started in 2023, but this death highlights that it cannot happen fast enough. Do we need to wait for a small child to be killed in every neighborhood or on every street in Boston, before they are implemented everywhere? 

Speed is a major issue determining safety on our streets, and ultimately, the outcome of a collision between a pedestrian. We all know and see that speed limits are neither followed nor enforced in the City, but excess speed is also encouraged by the lack of Safe Street design. In other words, we cannot just rely on the good nature of our neighbours to adhere to speed limits.

Safe streets require that drivers pay active attention to their driving, their surroundings, and regulate their speed accordingly. Simple, relatively inexpensive and passive measures which can be built retroactively on streets include, speed humps (which have been somewhat of a success in Roslindale), raised crosswalks, central street islands, and small chicanes or curb extensions, all of which breakup the straight (and speed-inducing) nature of our city streets.

One aspect that the City of Boston cannot control is the increasing size and aggressive design of vehicles being purchased in the US market1. These larger pick-up trucks and SUVS are causing more environmental damage (and its associated health issues) as well as becoming more dangerous to other road users (both those in other vehicles and vulnerable road users!). Their aggressive design insulates drivers, severely reduces visibility from the driver’s seat2, and because of raised hoods makes them more deadly to other road users in an incident3, 4, 5. Shockingly, these trucks and SUVs are now only a few inches away from the size of the US Army tanks which were used to defeat Nazi Germany  in World War 26

These non-commercial vehicles do not fit in Boston, and should not be allowed to continue to endanger every other road or sidewalk user. 

Other cities across the world have implemented restrictions on such vehicles for non-commercial use, be it complete bans (Paris) or Time-based or Fee-Based Zones based on vehicle weight/engine size (Florence, London), and Boston needs to consider this approach as a tool, in addition to creating Safer Slower Streets, to help control this increasing danger to all road users.

Currently the use of these excessively sized non-commercial vehicles is killing us and our children in a double-whammy: their increased emissions and their lethality on the streets.

We know how to control both aspects, and it is about time that we say “Enough is Enough”.








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