Our friends and fellow travelers at West Rox Walks recently completed a Walk Audit documenting pedestrian safety concerns in the neighborhood, particularly along the Centre Street Corridor. To further their efforts to make West Roxbury a more walkable neighborhood, they recently sent a letter to Chris Osgood, the Chief of the Streets, Transportation, and Sanitation for the City of Boston, seeking a major street redesign that would consider safety for all street users. WalkUP Roslindale proudly joined this letter, as did many other Boston-area organizations that promote walkability as well as pedestrian and bicycle safety. The full letter is reproduced below.
June 7, 2019
By Electronic Mail Only (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Boston Transportation Department
1 City Hall Square, Room 721
Boston, MA 02201-2043
Attention: Chris Osgood, Chief of the Streets, Transportation, and Sanitation
Dear Mr. Osgood:
In 2018, the United States saw the largest number of pedestrians killed (6,227) in motor vehicle crashes in nearly 30 years. West Roxbury residents have experienced this trend firsthand with, in aggregate, one car crash every six weeks involving a person walking or riding a bicycle on Centre and Spring Streets over the past four years. Notably, these incidents include two serious crashes involving pedestrians walking across Centre Street at the intersection with Hastings Street. The crashes resulted in one severe traumatic brain injury in November 2015 and one fatality inFebruary 2019. Additionally, there have been 11 car crashes with cyclists.
These safety concerns were also reported by West Roxbury Main Streets in their 2016 Imagine West Roxbury Report. A survey of 702 residents found that nearly 3 in 4 respondents identified the street design as a major barrier to walkability and access to local businesses, and nearly 200 residents requested improvements to cyclist and pedestrian safety, traffic calming, and better parking. We are writing to request your support for the Go Boston 2030 top priority project to create walk- and bike-friendly main streets via the following changes to Centre and Spring Streets in West Roxbury: 1) traffic lane reduction, 2) improved crosswalks, and 3) addition of protected bicycle lanes.
A “road diet” on Centre and Spring Streets would help decrease motor vehicle travel speeds to posted speed limits, which significantly reduces the risk of severe injury to pedestrians struck by vehicles and would likely decrease crosswalk fatalities. Crosswalk improvements recommended include: high-visibility crosswalk markings, parking restrictions on crosswalk approach, adequate nighttime lighting, advance yield here to and stop signs, curb extensions, and pedestrian hybrid beacons. Finally, Better Bike Lanes would increase access to the Main Streets district, improve safety for all, and are widely supported by over 80% of local businesses.
We eagerly await the proposal of a major street redesign, which includes safety for all street users, at the upcoming meeting on June 20, 2019.
William Vincent, West Rox Walks
Jacob Robinson, West Roxbury Main Streets
Ben Wetherill, West Roxbury Bicycle Chapter
Brendan Kearney, WalkBoston
Matthew Lawlor, WalkUP Roslindale
Becca Wolfson, Boston Cyclists Union
Rachel Poliner, Progressive WRox/Roz
Ambar Johnson, Liveable Streets
Alan Wright, RozzieBikes
Gregory Rooney, Commissioner, Property Management
Jack Duggan, Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services
Matt O’Malley, District 6 City Councilor
Michelle Wu, At-Large City Councilor
Althea Garrison, At-Large City Councilor
Michael F. Flaherty, At-Large City Councilor
Annissa Essaibi-George, At-Large City Councilor