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Southie families band together for safe streets

The following is a call to action from South Boston Families For Safe Streets and Sidewalks.  You are encouraged to reach out to our local elected officials for change:

Families of South Boston are devastated by the loss of a young child who was fatally struck by a car while being pushed in his stroller on the L Street sidewalk. South Boston residents have repeatedly warned local officials that a tragic accident like this has been waiting to happen if drastic improvement measures to the current traffic circulation were not made. Every single day, thousands of commuters, uber/lyft vehicles, and visitors speed through our densely populated neighborhood. In the past two months alone, six pedestrians, including three small children, have been struck by vehicles traveling on our streets. Families cannot leave a baseball game on Farragut Road or cross Day Boulevard to bring their child to dance class without fear of being struck by a speeding vehicle/ distracted driver. Now, the horrific event that we have been warning about for years, has come to fruition. The time of inaction has ended. Our children, our neighbors, our elderly, our community, deserve safe streets and sidewalks.

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.

Contact your local elected officials:

Mayor Marty Walsh – MAYOR@BOSTON.GOV
Congressman Stephen Lynchemail him here
Senator Nick Collins  – Nick.Collins@masenate.gov
City Councilor at-Large Michael Flaherty – Michael.flaherty@boston.gov
City Councilor Ed Flynn – ed.flynn@boston.gov
City Councilor at-Large Michelle Wu – michelle.wu@boston.gov
City Councilor at-Large Annissa George – A.E.GEORGE@BOSTON.GOV
City Councilor at-Large Ayanna Pressley – AYANNA.PRESSLEY@BOSTON.GOV

For a list of city councilors phone numbers, you can visit here! 

A special community safety meeting will take place on Sunday, August 5th from 2pm-4pm at Medal of Honor Park/M St. Park.  For more information, visit here! 

 

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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. This is a good start. I hope everyone who cares about our streets, will take 5 min out of their day to write/call elected officials and candidates for state Rep. to express their opinion.
    All South Boston residents, new and established, have a stake in the outcome.
    Unfortunately, another tragedy will occur with the current state of our streets.

  2. I agree with everything that is said here, but it is also Southie residents that violate the laws as well. I have almost been hit by vehicles with orange (resident) transponders while crossing Broadway, E. Fourth St. and Day Blvd.

  3. Eric, there are many who live here that could care less about our streets. Just a sad fact. But, if people Do care, its time for them to start raising their voices. On a side note, it was nice to see a very visible C-6 presence on the streets tonight.

  4. We need DRASTIC measures.. to curbthe current situation..south boston is a neighborhood..NOT A CUT THROUGH for surban commuters..with the right measures..at least 75% of the problems can be eliminated…these measures must be permanent..example: SEVERE speed limits in all of SOUTHIE ( 15 mph), blocking off certain roads.( I STREET at Columbia road).making certain streets ONE WAY..,STOP SIGNS at EVERY corner on L street..speed bumps where deemed necessary..electronic ticket machines installed ( to enforce speeding violators)..possibly 24/7 RESIDENT PARKING. let YUPPIE visitors take advantage of local parking lots ( located on A street, D street ect ) and take a UBER..enough is enough TIME FOR ACTION!

    • I don’t understand why people keep using the term “cut through”. South Boston is part of the city. City streets form a network by which traffic gets from point A to point B. Summer Street becomes L Street — it’s a major route though the city. The suggestion that cars traveling on it are somehow not supposed to be there is absurd. Have the identities of the drivers in last week’s fatal accident been made public? Has it been confirmed that they were commuters from the suburbs? You suggest reducing speeds to 15 mph in “all of Southie”. I agree that’s “severe” but I have to ask, why only Southie? What about the rest of Boston’s neighborhoods? Why shouldn’t all of East Boston or all of Roxbury have a 15 mph limit? If you block off certain roads, won’t that traffic just find it’s way to other streets? How about the people who live on those streets? Can they not have visitors? FedEx delivery? Pizza delivery? How would it work? Have you considered what 24/7 resident-only parking would do to neighborhood businesses? How would people access the state-run beaches and parks (such as Castle Island)? You say you want “yuppies” to park in lots at the edge of the neighborhood. How about non-yuppies? Are they allowed to park in the neighborhood? Do yuppies get special stickers on their cars so we can identify them?

      • Using the term ‘cut through’ does not imply that L street isn’t part of the City. It does not imply that people from the suburbs do not have a right to use it. It simply means that xway traffic with a destination of downtown from the Suburbs are getting off the xway early and using L street as a cut through to downtown. Very simple. L street is a neighborhood STREET. It is not as you imply a ‘Major route through the City’ (look at a map, it doesn’t run ‘through’ the city it runs several blocks through Southie). Your remark is very telling. Many people do erroneously think of L street as such and use it like it is an expressway. That’s the problem.

  5. One last point to all the south shore commuters who use SOUTHIE as a cut through..you brought your nice single family house down the south shore and work in town.well STAY ON THE SOUTH EAST EXPRESSYAY to South station/downtown EXIT..DONT try to use OUR NEIGHBORHOOD ( where we live with our children) as a cut through at our expense..for your convenience at our expense..
    .
    .

    • Your neighborhood is part of a city. The streets are part of a network. My guess is that you drive on streets in neighborhoods outside of your own on a regular basis.

  6. I like this idea of the neighborhood coming together. I can remember back in the 80’s when the neighborhood complained and sought solutions to the L Street problem, Southie residents were viewed as isolationists and obstructionists. I hope the changing times might change peoples’ minds about this issue, especially when they consider the horrific and preventable death that occurred last week. I suggest speed bumps at each intersection on L Street and the surrounding intersections/streets that those who choose to use Southie streets as their alternate expressway will seek to use as an alternative to a “speed-bumped” L Street.

    • Speed bumps are a good idea, but not when there are too many of them, because if there are too many of them, they can do a real number on the underbelly, and the alignment of one’s car. Strict enforcement of the speed limit, and having a lower speed limit for L Street and other streets like it is also a great idea.

      Some parts of the city, such as sections of Jamaica Plain, for example, don’t allow traffic to pass through their streets during rush-hours as a short-cut, at all.

    • The other problem with speed bumps is they slow down and damage emergency vehicles when seconds count you don’t want paramedics having to slow down.

  7. Really well written…Thank you. Couple of observations. Although the intense police presence on L street in the days immediately following the tragedy,I can’t help but think to myself while I see a cop at every intersection /How long will this last? I doubt I will see them here like this 3 months from now which then begs the question, what’s the motivation? To quell the neighborhood criticism until they start thinking about something else? :/ I hate to be so cynical and I know the rank and file cops intentions are good but I remember the outcry when another person was killed on Day Blvd and frankly once the people started going back to their normal routines …so did the police. The biggest challenge here will be to NOT let the pressure up on the Pols and the police. Easier said than done. I hope we can do it. We have to.

  8. Ugggh. I just read an article on the Heralds website that a digital speed sign was placed on L street next to the crash site like it was some big dramatic step and that a ‘long term’ study will be conducted. Those signs are NOT a solution- they’re a joke. People don’t care about them and if anything they may even be more of a distraction. Let’s control what we can control. We cannot control drivers behavior and/or attitudes towards the safety of our streets but we CAN control the streets. Do your long term study but that CANNOT defer IMMEDIATE steps from being taken right now.

  9. I totally agree with the last 2 comments..WE residents of SOUTHIE Do NOT own the streets.However, their are ways to deter SOUTH SHORE and other ” daily commuters” from using L street, I street, Broadway, OLD COLONY ave ect as a cut through…i was out on L street today between 7 and 9 AM still cars flying down L street towards downtown..We must STRIKE NOW for PERMANENT deterrents..KEEP THE HEAT ON the elected officials..NO temporary appeasement, that temporary approach WILL NOT SOLVE THIS PROBLEM!

    .

  10. There’s no way to prohibit people from using L Street as a cut-through. The goal must be to make the streets safe for pedestrians regardless of who’s driving. Add stops signs. Add traffic lights. Add speed bumps. Maybe this will dissuade people from using Southie as a cut-through. Maybe it won’t. It doesn’t matter. The streets MUST be safe for pedestrians. Period. The other issues are a distraction and don’t get at the root of the problem; namely, the City’s practice of prioritizing cars over pedestrians.

    • Adding traffic lights is a good idea. Why not have alternate traffic lights at one or two intersections, and a speed bump or two at other intersections? Just a thought.

  11. What ” other distractions ” are you talking about..the way I see it ANY IDEA is worth looking into..Simply put, we have got to make it VERY DIFFICULT to use SOUTHIE as a pass through…and have electronic ticketing installed ( like they use all over the country) and make a 15 MPH limit on all south boston streets..i urge everyone to drive at 15 MPH in southie this speed is VERY RESONABLE..

    • Oldtimesouthie – I think we’re in agreement that there’s a pedestrian safety problem in Southie. I’m not opposed to anything you’ve said. We should lower speed limits. We should add electronic ticketing. The City should use all tools that are available to slow traffic throughout our neighborhood.

      When I talk about “other distractions,” I’m referring to concerns people have about (i) Southie being used as a cut through, (ii) over-development, (iii) lack of parking, etc. These are legitimate concerns, but I don’t consider them to be directly related to pedestrian safety. I think it’s possible to improve pedestrian safety without simultaneously trying to fix every problem in the neighborhood. In fact, I think we’re more likely to see results if we focus on one issue at a time.

      One benefit of improving pedestrian safety is that it will likely discourage people from using Southie as a cut-through in the future. Right now, people use Southie as a cut-through because it’s easy and fast. Viewed in this way, the cut-through problem is a symptom of the City’s failure to prioritize pedestrian safety and slow people down (by whatever means necessary) on Day Blvd., L Street, Farragut, and other roads. It is not the cause of the pedestrian safety problem. If we can address the safety issues, my hope is that the cut-through problem will resolve itself. Even if it doesn’t, however, pedestrians will be safe walking around the neighborhood.

  12. CALL TO ACTION
    why don’t we take back our streets? I suggest we start using the crosswalks to slow down traffic. I propose a completely Passive exercise where we use the crosswalks and slow down the cars. Let’s gather and start slowing everyone down by being present in the crosswalks. No signs, no yelling, no confrontation, just community members coming together and doing our own form of intervention. I’ll be at L St dunks/Shell at 730AM. Join me? We can spread out and use our crosswalks, as pedestrians, in order to get the point across.

  13. Some raised crosswalks are a good idea. They serve the same function as regular speed bumps (i. e. forcing people to slow down), but they won’t do the same sort of number on one’s car as the regular speed bumps can. They’re easier to bike over, as well.

    They do have quite afew of them in Cambridge, and they work quite well.

  14. It is time to revisit one way streets in Southie. East Sixth Street was one way going the opposite way from where the driver of the car was driving when the accident occurred. To those who vehemently opposed one way streets (and those who still do) keep an open mind to one way streets. Times have changed– there are thousands of more cars, vans, trucks, SUVS etc on our streets.

    15 mph speed limit is an excellent idea. Pedestrians and occupants of all vehicles are all at risk with this hot mess Southie finds itself in with respect to street safety. Double parked cars on opposite sides of the same street are simply unacceptable and create situations of accidents waiting to happen. One way streets would eliminate double parked cars going in opposite directions on the same block.

    Let’s add one way streets to the street safety plan.

    • I think more one way streets is a great idea and should definitely be added to the safety plan, and the safety plan should be for all of South Boston. It should also be strictly enforced.

  15. Every coin has two sides

    Perhaps in addition to enforcement, we residents of South Boston need to comply with the rules of the road. I have lived in Southie for 15 years and have seen courtesy and compliance with driving rules rapidly disappear. Too many people not even pretending to stop at a STOP sign, they just zip through. Too many distracted drivers with their eyes on their cell phones and not on the road….. and the list goes on.

    Time to take responsibility for our actions – drive smart and drive safe