Third Pedestrian Incident in Rozzie in Two Weeks

Firth and Washington Street
Firth and Washington Street

We were yet again saddened to hear of another car hitting a pedestrian in Roslindale; this is the third such incident in about two weeks (Blue Ledge Drive / Hyde Park Ave). The latest occurred at the intersection of Firth Road and Washington Street. Thus far the only reporting we’ve found was this brief description on Twitter:

pedestrian hit by a car in intersection of Firth & Washington in Roslindale- she was on the ground but alert- tons of traffic.

While the City has a formal action response plan for any pedestrian incident involving a fatality, non-fatal incidents don’t necessarily result in anything more than a statistic. Yet these non-fatal incidents are often equally indicative of poor road design creating dangerous conditions.

The important thing to remember is most of these incidents are preventable and not merely the result of poor judgment by a driver (or pedestrian). Cities that take Vision Zero seriously have seen dramatic results–in Sweden, pedestrian fatalities have dropped 50% in the past five years; we’ve also seen a 43% reduction in traffic fatalities in Minnesota, a 48% reduction in Utah, and a 40% decrease in Washington State (source: Vision Zero: Learning from Sweden’s Successes). Thus far, the City of Boston’s Vision Zero aspirational plan hits all the right notes, but we’ve yet to see real changes “on the ground.” These recent incidents in Roslindale are powerful reminders that immediate action is urgently needed.

We wish the victim of the latest incident a quick recovery. If anyone has more details, please leave them in the comments here.

Silvia Acosta

About Tuesday’s Pedestrian Death on Washington Street at Blue Ledge Drive

Silvia Acosta
Family photograph of Silvia Acosta (with Mayor Marty Walsh)

Our deepest sympathies go out to the family of Silvia Acosta, a 78 year-old resident of our neighborhood who was tragically struck and killed by a motor vehicle on Washington Street on Tuesday afternoon. Universal Hub has the most complete coverage so far of the crash, which occurred in the section of Washington Street between Walworth and the West Roxbury Parkway. The Herald also has a report.

What’s being reported so far is that the crash happened in the late afternoon (shortly after dark) and that Ms. Acosta was in a crosswalk when she was struck. It is noteworthy that the Suffolk DA’s office is charging the driver, who reportedly left the scene even though she later admitted she knew she had struck someone, with vehicular homicide by reckless operation as well. While it is important that individual drivers be held accountable for their actions, it is usually the case that larger design, infrastructure, and policy decisions play a significant role in these sorts of tragedies, demonstrating (unfortunately) how badly needed a vigorous VisionZero policy and set of actions in our city really are. We’ll follow this story as it unfolds further to see what exactly happened, what lessons can be learned, and what steps can and should be taken going forward to prevent pedestrian deaths around the location of the crash and throughout our neighborhood. And then we’ll do what we can to make sure those steps are taken. Stay tuned.

Washington Street and Blue Ledge Drive, Approximate Location of Impact
Washington Street and Blue Ledge Drive, Approximate Location of Impact

Sad Crosswalks

We envision a sea change for pedestrian safety in and around Roslindale: traffic calming, narrower automobile travel laneswoonerfs, pedestrianized-street parties, reliable enforcement of speed limits, curb extensions, chokers, road diets, pedestrian zones, chicanes–they should all be in the mix and implemented where appropriate. We should be leading, not trailing, in rolling out these best practices, because we are ideally situated to be the most walkable neighborhood in Boston. We share the dream of Vision Zero and need to hold the City’s feet to the fire to make it real.

None of these changes are likely to come quickly, though. In our neighborhood, the streets surrounding Adams Park are especially bad but also have fantastic potential. While we’re putting in the long-term work to achieve Vision Zero, we should, in the meantime, at least get some crosswalks that are not an embarrassment to the community. Check out these two recent photos from the already problematically-wide intersection at Poplar, Washington, and Corinth. Roslindale deserves better.

Poplar Crosswalk at Washington Street
Poplar Crosswalk at Washington Street
Washington Street Crosswalk to Public Library
Washington Street Crosswalk to Public Library

 

Near Fatal Hit-and-Run Near Rozzie

Universal Hub reports on a potentially deadly hit-and-run against a pedestrian on Washington Street not far from Rozzie Square late Thursday night. While it’s important that BPD bring the perpetrator to justice, we should also take this opportunity to fix the pedestrian environment. Washington Street brings a large volume of pass-through traffic through the village, and features large stretches of road without crosswalks; crosswalks with poor visibility; gridlocked traffic at busy times; and dangerously high-speed traffic (including drag racing) at others. There’s a lot more to say on this topic, but for now let’s just start a conversation about a new vision for the area stretching from Turtle Pond all the way up to the Forest Hills, while we also hope the victim makes a full recovery.

(Update 6/9/15: the driver has since been identified based on a tip and summonsed for arraignment, specifically Eddie Cartagena, 25, of Boston.)