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Katie Donovan: A Plea for Safer Streets

Back in May, lifelong Southie resident Katie Donovan and her 8 year-old son Andrew were 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!

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About the Author

Maureen Dahill

Maureen Dahill is the editor of Caught in Southie and a lifelong resident of South Boston sometimes mistaken for a yuppie. Hockey mom, yoga enthusiast, lover of red wine and binge watching TV series. Mrs. Peter G. Follow her @MaureenCaught.

Comments

  1. Where’s the STOP SIGNS on MARINE RD, EAST 7th, EAST 6th, EAST 4th, EAST 3rd.ON “L” street…SPEED HUMPS ON ” L” STREET..NOW..they wasted no time with the white poles on L STREET.(a GOOD action)..now dig some poles with STOP SIGNS..potrable speed HUMPS..SOON.!!LET’S GET BUSY..NO MORE TALK..ACTION..great job KATIE DONOVAN.!!

  2. Awesome job Katie! Perfectly said!!! I am curious from everyone what the expectation should be around turnaround times that we think are fair. We would all love it done yesterday, but if we don’t set deadlines, the politicians will “try” to kick this down the road. We know this can’t happen.

    • Unacceptable words from politicians..LOOKING INTO, STUDIES, RESEARCH, MORE “MEETINGS”..etc.
      Instead; words like ” AS OF TOMORROWthe following WILL TAKE PLACE”..if NOT YOUR OUT OF OFFICE..no excuses..

      • OldtimeSouthie: agreed. It all feels like reactive lip service, a little too late. They need to do their job.

  3. I was almost in tears with hearing Katie at the community meeting last night. No one should ever have to endure what she has gone through in their own damn neighborhood and the frightening thing is she was one of tge lucky ones.

    This needs to change. Love to Katie.

  4. You people keep electing the same people over and over and wonder why nothing gets done.

  5. Katie, you are eloquent, passionate and represent this community well. We will be safer because of you.

  6. Great job Katie .
    I’ve been telling my brains out down here in Old Harbor Projects at car speeding up and down our streets .
    One guy had the guts to get out of his and yell at me …. My daughters we’re both with me as I sat on my stoop . I’m and on oxygen which anyone with eye balls can see . All my friends here are afraid that someone might get out of there car and beat or shoot my , Even better . I lived here growing up and have seen children and dogs get hit by c ars one child died in early 70’s crossing from the park .
    This has been going on in this town , only now it’s worse .
    Katie I thank for speaking for the people of South Boston .

  7. Great job Katie .
    I’ve been yelling my brains out down here in Old Harbor Projects at car speeding up and down our streets .
    One guy had the guts to get out of his and yell at me …. My daughters we’re both with me as I sat on my stoop . I’m and on oxygen which anyone with eye balls can see . All my friends here are afraid that someone might get out of there car and beat or shoot my , Even better . I lived here growing up and have seen children and dogs get hit by c ars one child died in early 70’s crossing from the park .
    This has been going on in this town , only now it’s worse .
    Katie I thank for speaking for the people of South Boston .