Back in May, lifelong Southie resident Katie Donovan and her 8 year-old son Andrew was hit by a car in the crosswalk at Farragut Road and Broadway. Katie has had two surgeries and spent fourteen days in the hospital. Her entire summer has been spent in a wheelchair with a broken leg, shoulder and elbow. Katie was one of the organizers of the Drive Like You Live Here street slow down protest on Thursday afternoon. Katie was the first person to speak during the Question and Answer portion of the South Boston Traffic Safety Meeting on Thursday night. Here are her powerful words:
My name is Katie Donovan and I have been a resident of South Boston for all of my 44 years.
First of all I would like to thank all of the police officers that went above and beyond this afternoon to keep us safe and help us do what we came to do….Commissioner Gross, Cpt. Boyle and all of the officers we always knew you were on our team, now we just have to get you guys the team jersey.
I think everyone here just needs to hear the answer to this question. Before we move forward. And I address it to everyone up there, and would appreciate an answer from each of you
WERE YOU AWARE THAT THERE WAS/IS A SAFETY ISSUE REGARDING THE TRAFFIC & STREETS OF SOUTH BOSTON?
Ok so we can all agree that there is a problem.
The people of South Boston are angry, clearly. We can’t imagine that it takes such a terrible tragedy to facilitate change.
It’s a shame that the tragedy 5 years ago did not get the same response. William McDermott was killed and absolutely nothing on Day Blvd changed. Day Blvd is merely an extension of the expressway as people travel that neighborhood street like it’s a raceway. With absolutely no regard for us, YOUR citizens. If we can’t trust that you, our elected officials, are going to advocate for change on our behalf then what choice do we have?
6 people have been hit by cars in South Boston since June, 3 of those people were children, one of those children was killed. And those are the ones that we know about so many are not reported.
We as Moms and Dads are afraid….afraid that we cannot cross Day Boulevard to go to the park or karate or cross Farragut Road after a baseball game.
And I’m sorry to say this is PERSONAL.
I ‘stand’ here today because I am lucky. On May 31st, my 8-year-old son and I were hit by a car in the notoriously dangerous crosswalk…Farragut Road and Broadway. After two surgeries and 14 days in the hospital I have spent the summer in a wheelchair with a broken leg, shoulder and elbow, but I am one of the lucky ones. I do not want pity, I just want action.
This is the problem as we see it.
• That plan, the $25 million dollar plan, had little to no interest in keeping the residents of South Boston safe, THE SOUTH BOSTON WATERFRONT TRANSPORTATION PLAN, was about the ease of access to the seaport district. A place that is only at 28% of its planned capacity. There is still 72% growth on the books for that area. If it had anything to with our safety then those recommendations to all of those crosswalks and streets would have been made a priority and those changes would’ve been made.
And on the subject of growth
South Boston, according to the 2016 census…the population here was up 14.2%
Compared to the city of Boston 5.5%
• Cruise ships
In 1986 – 13
In 2017- 153
• 8+ hotels where there used to be 1
• 20+ corporations with 1000s of employees commuting
• Countless Ubers & Lyfts where there used to be zero.
This does not include the small city that will be built at the Edison plant on L street.
And Washington Village at the other end of town, bookends if your will.
Just so you don’t think this group here tonight is a bunch of vigilantes with no direction…we’ve done our homework.
Why was the CPNA denied entrance into the safe streets program. Better still why do you have to apply and be accepted into a program to get safer streets? We should be able to leave our houses without the fear of getting hit by a car…and we shouldn’t have to be enrolled in some program to get that.
We have put together a call to action with 6 specific demands that need to be implemented immediately, before another development is approved…
I encourage action and I encourage it now. I am happy to call or meet you to discuss further. This is my priority. Here is our Call to Action:
OUR COMMUNITY DESERVES THE FOLLOWING MEASURES BE UNDERTAKEN:
1. ENFORCEMENT: Immediate enforcement of speed limits and adherence to stop signs and traffic signals;
2. TRAFFIC CALMING: Immediate traffic calming measures (speed humps, stop signs, flashing lights, traffic lights) installed on L Street, Day Blvd, Farragut Road, Dorchester Street, and I Street to deter/slow “cut through” commuters.
3. IMPROVED VISIBILITY OF PEDESTRIAN CROSSINGS: Place flashing yellow cross-walk lights and raised cross-walks on main thoroughfares like Day Boulevard and L Street. Crash data collected by MassDOT demonstrates that there is a higher crash rate during summer months and rush hour;
4. ADMISSION TO THE SLOW STREETS PROGRAM. In 2017 City Point was denied acceptance into slow streets program despite an application.
5. COMPREHENSIVE TRAFFIC STUDY: South Boston needs a comprehensive traffic study conducted by BTD that evaluates pedestrian safety into the overall traffic analysis, not the current study being done to facilitate MBTA bus placement.
6. LONG TERM PLANNING: Demonstrate a long-term plan for dealing with “cut-through” commuters such as congestion pricing or tolls for out-of-town commuters.
We are joining together to DEMAND action to make our streets and sidewalks safe!