and Address Infrastructure Improvements 

See Press Release Below:

BOSTON – Boston City Councilors Ed Flynn and Frank Baker are calling for a hearing at this week’s City Council meeting to discuss speeding cars and unsafe streets as a Public Health Emergency to raise awareness about this critical issue, as well as to talk about traffic calming infrastructure needed to improve pedestrian safety. Last week, Councilor Flynn also recommended an updated Safe Streets 12 Point Plan to the city aimed at infrastructure improvements, slower speeds and enforcement.

There were several car crashes in recent weeks in various parts of the city. Two pedestrians were fatally struck by vehicles in South Boston, one at Andrew Square and another on First St, and another pedestrian was struck by a pickup truck at the entrance of the Public Garden when the truck crashed into a stone pillar. Just last week, there were four separate incidents where cars crashed into buildings or light poles in South Boston – on L St, East Broadway, West Broadway, and on Old Colony Ave -causing not only injuries, but also displacing families and businesses. In Dorchester, there was a motor vehicle crash that resulted in an SUV rollover with a baby inside, as well two pedestrians struck while in the crosswalk during broad daylight – both on the same day. Even as we see less traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic, some drivers view these less congested roads as a license to speed and put the safety and lives of our neighbors in danger.

These crashes illustrate that work still needs to be done to reduce speeding and achieve Vision Zero – the goal of having zero serious or fatal crashes in the City of Boston. Advocates and public health agencies have long viewed road safety as a public health issue, as car crashes are one of the leading causes of death and injuries in the nation and worldwide. In fact, the World Health Organization highlighted road safety as a public health issue in 2004, and the New York State Department of Health identifies motor vehicle traffic injuries as a major public health problem. In recognizing speeding cars and road safety as a public health emergency, we elevate this issue and provide the urgency needed to make the infrastructure improvements required to address this public health and safety issue. Moreover, it will also allow city departments and the Boston Public Health Commission to work together to develop strategies to reduce car crashes and traffic fatalities and injuries.

“I believe it’s time we call our unsafe roads what we all know them to be – a Public Health Emergency,” said Councilor Flynn. “Declaring a Public Health Emergency will help to bring the awareness and resources needed to address this serious issue to hopefully prevent serious and fatal crashes like the ones that we continue to see all too frequently in our neighborhoods. I want to thank Councilor Baker for his partnership on this issue, I look forward to working with my colleagues and the city on making our streets safer.”

“My number one constituent complaint is the need for lower speed limits and traffic calming measures,” said Councilor Baker. We were already successful in lowering the speed limit to 25 miles per hour but we need to do more to make our streets safer. As elected officials we must make a commitment to eliminate traffic fatalities and severe injuries from road crashes, while increasing safe, equitable mobility for all and improving the quality of life in Boston.”

For more information, please contact Councilor Flynn’s office at 617-635-3203 or [email protected] and Councilor Baker’s office at 617-635-3455 and [email protected].

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