Transportation Officials Under Scrutiny In Wake Of Child’s Death

Residents are demanding answers after a young South Boston boy, walking on the sidewalk with his sister and nanny, died as a result of injuries sustained when a vehicle jumped the curb after being struck by another vehicle at the intersection of L and East Sixth Streets.

Local elected officials and community leaders have been pressing transportation officials for several years about the need to prioritize investment in road safety measures in South Boston to properly address the impacts of Downtown Boston and Waterfront growth.

In response, the state Legislature in a 2014 Transportation bond bill authorized $25m for MassDOT to investment in South Boston transportation infrastructure.  Subsequently, city and state agencies came together to produce the South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Plan, published in January of 2015, which laid out a list of recommended investments and timeline for their completion.

These recommendations included ‘road diets’ and ‘lane shrinking’, bump outs at pedestrian crossings, higher visibility and raised crosswalks, improved intersection geometry, modified signal timing, and better operating traffic signals, all to ‘calm’ traffic, slow down cars and discourage cut-through traffic by commuters for both Day Boulevard and L Street, which experts believe would have significant impact. Sections related to local streets and near-term (0-3 years) projects are contained in the 2015 South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Plan:

Since January of 2015, elected officials and community leaders have urged transportation officials, at community meetings and in letters, about the need to prioritize safety in the neighborhood. As recently as March 2017, elected officials were on record with the Boston Transportation Department supporting the ‘Neighborhood Slow Streets’ applications submitted by both the City Point Neighborhood Association, the Andrew Square Civic Association and St Vincent’s/Lower End Neighborhood Association. And as recently as last week, MassDOT came out to the Curley Recreation Center to present their road safety audit.

So, with solutions at hand and funds available, it’s time for the agencies responsible for implementing the action items to execute. No more agency studies are needed. Time for agency leaders to act.