Elderly pedestrian hit by car in the Theater District, dies

Boston Police report a woman, 80, died of head trauma after being hit by a car at Stuart and Charles streets around 6:20 a.m. on Sunday.

The driver said he did not see the woman.

At present, the cause of the accident is still under investigation and no violations have been issued at this time.

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Comments

Crosswalk?

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Does it say anything about whether she was in a crosswalk and if so, whether she had a walk signal?

If she wasn't in a crosswalk or was crossing against the light, then no citation SHOULD be issued. I mean, yes, drivers should refrain from HITTING PEOPLE no matter where they are, but the driver may not have violated a law and the pedestrian may have. And if the pedestrian was in a crosswalk and the driver was going an appropriate speed and otherwise was handling the vehicle appropriately, then can they at least give a "failure to yield" or something? It seems like they charge manslaughter or nothing.

Condolences to the victim's family, and my thoughts are with the driver who has to live with that (regardless of whether it was unavoidable, compete idiocy, or somewhere in between).

It was right next to

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It was right next to Fleming's and that's Church Street. The vehicle was a Grand Caravan, so it's a fucking van that hit her. The driverside headlight was hanging off and the fender was dented. How fast do you think impact was? How would you react if I told you there were no tire marks on the ground? Was there an attempt to even stop or swerve? What if I told you the accident broke 3 of her ribs and was sent flying causing trauma to the head stopping blood flow to the brain which deemed her brain dead when EMT got there. There was a crosswalk and both sides have tall buildings so the excuse of sun glare at 6:20 is fucking bullshit. If this was your elderly grandmother what else can you say to defend the driver?

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Was the driver texting?

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When I read this article, I questioned if the driver was texting or chatting on the cellphone. He says he "didn't see her". Most likely because he was distracted.

Interesting that earlier today I read about a proposed bill in NJ that would allow the police to review cell phone records when ever there is a crash, to confirm if the driver was on the phone:

http://www.northjersey.com/news/state/Bill_would_l...

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This is just so full of hyperbole and drama...

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...that I don't even know where to begin. Or why I'm responding to it, but since you're so intent to make the driver at fault just because something horrible happened, someone might as well take the time to deconstruct it.

No, I don't know how fast the impact was. Do you? The lack of skid marks suggests it probably wasn't that fast. If the car was traveling at a high speed and there were no skid marks, that would mean the driver did not brake quickly, so the car would be quite a ways down the road from the impact, which hasn't been described anywhere here.

It doesn't take much force at all to dent a bumper, nor to break a headlight. Both are common damage in claims where someone tapped a post pulling out of a parking space at pulling-out-of-parking-space speed. Likewise, it doesn't take a lot of force to break ribs. It frequently happens during falls from tripping on a normal household surface, particularly involving people of advanced age. It doesn't take a lot to cause head trauma either. We had people on our brain injury unit who had been in a coma for months and afterwards had a permanent severe cognitive disability from things like falling down the stairs at home or a baseball-sized rock falling onto their head from a hillside -- and these were young, healthy people.

As for pointing out that it was a minivan, what's the point? A person only usually contacts a vehicle in one small area, so what difference does it make, besides adding to your drama? Besides, a Mercedes-Benz S class is longer and almost as wide as a Grand Caravan, only it wouldn't earn the "fucking van" nomenclature, because it's not as hyperbolic to say the person got hit by "a fucking full-size passenger sedan." The fender and light assembly of a Smart car going the same speed would similarly deliver force to a person if s/he were to contact it. It doesn't actually change what happened. But "van" is more fun to say when making an anti-vehicle rant, because it sounds more dramatic to be hit by a van than a car.

There IS a crosswalk there. Was she in it? Was the walk signal lit?

See? We just DON'T KNOW. That's why this is being investigated by people who do such a thing for a living. We can't say that the driver for sure was operating safely and was alert, but we also can't say that s/he wasn't.

You brought up "how would you like it if this was your grandmother [and people on the internet were failing to blame the operator of the car for having the nerve to drive a car]." How would you like it if someone jumped out in front of your car to commit suicide? Or you swerved to avoid a road hazard or another vehicle and hit someone who was jaywalking? See? We JUST DON'T KNOW what happened, so we can't go assuming that it was the driver's fault, or that it was the pedestrian's fault.

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I suppose we could all go

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I suppose we could all go around hitting people and tell ourselves we it's just an accident that we couldn't avoid. IT'S OK NOT TO YIELD when there is no state law sign next to that damn crosswalk or anywhere on the road. A human life is not worth scratching your pretty mercedez. Let's just all pretend elderly around the world can run towards a car because they want to commit suicide. Those of us who "dont know" the facts is obviously assuming shit. On the bpd site, it stated the driver never left the scene. What a great samaritan! There has been many reports of people just driving away after hitting an elderly. WOW, give this person a medal! Yes, we all know accidents happen. If someone gets behind the wheel and thinks there is no chance that something will happen needs to GTFO the road. I'd much rather hit a pole than to injure or kill an innocent elderly pedestrian.

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Fighting assumptions with assumptions?

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I don't think anyone said that this driver was trying to kill a pedestrian, or that the driver feels great at having done so.

Also, the suicide rate is high for elders. There's no particular reason to speculate that this is the case here any more than how it's always a possibility, but there's also no reason to insist that the pedestrian can't possibly have done anything wrong and that the driver is a horrible person for driving a motor vehicle.

why is 'i wasn't paying attention" a license to kill?

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When did "I wasn't paying enough attention so I didn't even see the person" become a viable defense? Drivers need to take responsibility and make sure they can see everyone else in the road. If the driver who killed this woman didnt see her, thats the drivers fault and they should be arrested and prosecuted. Then drivers would start paying attention if there were consequences. But Menino doesnt give a f**k about anyone who gets killed by drivers, whether they be pedestrian or bicyclist, so the killing keeps going on and the drivers drive off free.

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Menino

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Let's not forget that several years ago Mayor Menino was riding his bike and hit by a driver who didn't see him.

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"Did not see"

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That excuse should lead to automatic suspension of license at least until successful completion of a vision test. And then the question becomes "why didn't you see?"

If "you didn't see" then you shouldn't be driving.

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Why didn't they see?

Well human beings have eyes and a brain, and these two things don't automatically make a car stop if an object appears in front of that car the human being is driving.

They have this thing called the point of perception, or actual perception. This would be the point where a situation is comprehended or perceived as being what it is, such as a hazard. You then have reaction times, and reaction distances. These are factors of a crash which would determine whether a human being would be able to stop a car in time if a hazard is presented in front of that car at a certain distance and time.

Other factors that affect perception/reaction times would include the drivers vision and hearing, the drivers experience, medical problems, roadway characteristics, nightime vs daytime driving, weather, visibility, etc....

Your average healthy human being is accepted to have a 1.5 second reaction time during the day and about 2.5 seconds at night.

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You don't seem to get it

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Cars are the guests in the city. People have the right to be there first. If you are driving in a condition where you cannot reasonably stop, then you should not be driving that way.

If the driver has "vision" or "medical problems", if "roadway characteristics" prevents the driver from seeing, if "weather" is a problem, then that driver should be going slower or not be on the street.

If you "cannot see" you should not drive. It's really that simple.

The police should be gathering evidence for a case in a court of law. Whether or not it is reasonable for the driver to have stopped is not an issue for the police to decide. It is for a judge/jury to decide.

But the police have decided, it seems, to take the law into their own hands and will not even let the case go before a judge. Because the police care more about protecting motorists than other people.

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I don't seem to get it?

You said it all right here:

If you are driving in a condition where you cannot reasonably stop, then you should not be driving that way.

What is reasonable? What I just expalained to you in the above post is what judges and juries must deem as reasonable? Why do they have to do that? Because doctor's and the science behind motor vehicle physics back up those claims.

So you want the police to just issue a citation (costing taxpayers possibly 1-100K in costs) for cases they know are bogus? You want a cop to testify that someone going 22mph with 75% braking should have to stop for a kid running out in front of a car (according to witnesses) at 7.5 feet before the point of impact?

Whether or not it is reasonable for the driver to have stopped is not an issue for the police to decide. It is for a judge/jury to decide.

Wrong. In fact, that is very wrong. The crash reconstructionist takes the measurements, and presents the ADA with perception distances, times. The math really isn't that complicated.

But the police have decided, it seems, to take the law into their own hands and will not even let the case go before a judge. Because the police care more about protecting motorists than other people.

Wrong again. The police don't decide whether the case goes before a judge (although they legally do), it is up to the ADA to determine whether there are enough facts to go forward.

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You don't get it

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So you want the police to just issue a citation (costing taxpayers possibly 1-100K in costs) for cases they know are bogus?

Bogus? Somebody died. Now you want to cheap out? Heck, why bother issuing citations ever? They just cost the taxpayer money! Save money by not ever issuing citations. What a deficit reduction scheme!

That explains why speeding and red light running never seems to draw any attention. The cops are just trying to save us money.

You want a cop to testify that someone going 22mph with 75% braking should have to stop for a kid running out in front of a car (according to witnesses) at 7.5 feet before the point of impact?

First, this case is about an elderly woman, not about a kid. Seniors are not known for their "darting" ability.

Second, the question is not reduced to a physics case of "driver is going 22 mph, victim is 7.5 feet away, can driver stop?"

The question really is: why was the driver going 22 mph around a blind corner where the driver was unable to see far enough to stop in time?

The whole safety system of cars is based on line-of-sight. If you cannot see entirety of the pavement over the distance your car needs to slow down in order to come to a stop, then you are going too fast.

(Even further, you should always be able to see beyond that. I was always taught the twelve-second rule of thumb: you should strive as best you can to anticipate all events and upcoming conditions within the next twelve seconds of driving. And beyond if possible.)

But when you cut the question down to a simple instantaneous "can driver stop within 7.5 feet at 22 mph?" then you are eliding the entire process that led to that situation. And since the answer to that question is obviously "no" this is a facile way to reject a case, when you should be considering why the driver was in that situation to begin with.

Perhaps the driver is not at fault, perhaps they were doing everything right. Or maybe they were speeding irresponsibly. But we'll never know since the police won't look beyond the superficial physics question. It's too much effort. The police will just say "why wasn't the victim driving? why wasn't she like us, in a car all the time? why should we care about anyone walking in a city?"

Investigation ongoing

By on

I tend to agree with the idea that these things probably don't get enough attention from law enforcement as I'd like either at times...however, what part of:

At present, the cause of the accident is still under investigation and no violations have been issued at this time.

matches:

But we'll never know since the police won't look beyond the superficial physics question.

Seems to me an investigation is ongoing. Citations aren't always handed to you at the scene. When people die, the other person involved isn't automatically handcuffed and strip searched. I'm sure they know where that person lives and can reach them if need be at a later date.

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I would like to believe that

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But history seems to show that the process will go like this:

  1. "At present, the cause of the accident is still under investigation and no violations have been issued at this time."
  2. Press might follow up a bit, print an article about the incident. Probably will include an implicit victim-blaming quote such as "officials wishing to remain anonymous say it is possible the driver did not see the victim."
  3. Post moves off front-page, a few people might check-in once in a while but nothing happens.
  4. A year later, when most have forgotten, a report is released which absolves the driver of all responsibility. Finds a way to blame victim. Only the safety advocates notice; everyone else has moved on.

So yes, it is all well and good to wait for an investigation, in theory. But in practice, my feeling is that it's a farce that ends the same way every time. How can we have any assurance that the investigators are acting in good faith? That's what we need.

This is not good for the city. If people do not feel safe walking in the city, then we will repeat the mistakes of the 20th century all over again, when cities across America died and residents fled to the suburbs.

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What history are you talking about Matthew?

The one you are getting from the internet? Or court chapter 90 records. It seems like you have no clue on how these cases go forward except for what you read online.

I mean, you seem to think the the police only use physics for their investigations and ignore CDR data, witness statments, lighting factors, operator's medical records, roadway characteristics, etc, etc.

How many crash investigation reports have you read? Where are you getting your Chapter 90. prosecution data?

Blarrrggghhh!!!!

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I wasn't there, but the driver MUST PAY regardless of what really happened.

Brevity Matthew, try it.

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You want brevity?

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If you "couldn't see" then you shouldn't be driving.

If you hit someone and claim that you could not see them, then at a minimum your driving privileges are revoked until you are able to demonstrate that your vision has been restored satisfactorily.

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You're stubborn, gotta give you that

By on

How many times do people have to point out your hyperventilating non-sense before you get it?

"couldn't see" could mean a number of things, including situations where (gasp!) the driver was not at fault. For instance, the pedestrian could have been standing behind a parked SUV, and thus obscured from view of the driver. Pedestrian steps out into immediate path of a moving "fucking van" and blammo, dead pedestrian.

Thus, "I didn't see them" is a perfectly understandable statement from the driver, because they don't have x-ray vision and the pedestrian made a poor decision.

Anyone that's spent time in Boston has seen plenty of pure idiocy by drivers, cyclist and pedestrians. Thus, someone with common sense would understand they can't assign blame in an accident they didn't witness or personally investigate.

So take your ball and go home before you look any more foolish.

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It was brief

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But you still didn't read it.

I didn't assign blame. I said revoke the license until a vision test checks out. Because one of the reasons someone might not "see" is because they have bad eyesight. Isn't it prudent to ensure that is not the case before giving them their license back?

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Grasping at straws

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You've been assigning blame the entire time. We can still read what you wrote you know. Now your backtracking with some crap about license suspension pending a vision test? Please.

Presumption of guilt

I said revoke the license until a vision test checks out.

That's presumption of guilt. You're revoking a privilege before a person has been found at fault. Sounds like "assigning blame to the driver" to me.

Believe me, there are times when I would love to just lock someone up when a pedestrian or cyclist gets whacked (see Wellesley cyclist crash from last year), but it doesn't work that way.

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No, it's not

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Driving is a privilege, not a Constitutional right. Privileges may be retracted. In addition, every driver is required to have a certain eyesight capability, by law. The RMV tests your eyesight as a matter of course, and issues restrictions for licenses based on this. That is not "assigning blame" either. It's just common sense: if you can't see, you can't drive.

The state may at any point choose to suspend your license for public safety purposes.

According to a spokeswoman for the Department of Transportation, the state has the right to suspend or revoke your learner's permit, license, right to operate, or vehicle registration, in some instances without prior notice. In most cases, local or state police departments inform the Registry of Motor Vehicles of a potential threat.

An "immediate threat" is invoked if the Registrar determines that the driver poses a threat to public safety; the revocation is indefinite.

I was being nicer than that, and suggesting that the license only be suspended until satisfactory completion of a vision test to the standards that the DOT requires for EVERY driver. Explicitly because I am not blaming him. But we must have some assurance that we are not putting a driver with eyesight problems back on the road.

However, the state does have the capability to suspend or revoke the license indefinitely, without prior notice or procedure, if they so choose to use it.

It is a figure of speech Matthew.

"I didn't see them" doesn't mean there might be something wrong with their eyes. In fact, 99.86% of the time people crash into something, their eyes probably are fine. And the registry knows this, and that is why your proposed rule of suspending anyone who says "I didn't see" until they pass an eye test is NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN.

This persons eyesight is probably fine. There is a much greater chance they were drunk, texting, going to fast, or not paying attention in some sort of other capacity.

In fact, it probably hurts the states case if the police take your license away becuase of some percieved "eyesight" problem, only to find out that their eyesight is perfectly fine. That would be a defense attorney's dream!

defense: "so officer, you are telling me you took this license away because of a percieved eye problem, only to find out that my client has great eyesight? So he actually could see? So this could mean the pedestrian did something very unusual to get hit by this car?"

Etc, etc.

I disagree

By on

Maybe I'm extra sensitive to problems with eyesight because of my family history. But I think poor vision is far more prevalent than admitted. People don't want to bother with getting their eyes checked, or obtaining the proper corrective lenses.

And no, it doesn't hurt the state's case. As you said yourself, the state would not bring the case if they did not have some kind of evidence of fault that they felt was significant enough to bring to court. A vision test is just a common sense precaution, and also a public safety measure.

The state has an interest in ensuring that everyone driving a car on the roads has vision in working order, for the same reason the state has an interest in ensuring that everyone's car is in working order. That's why we have state-mandated vehicle inspections.

If anything, I wonder why we don't mandate regular eyesight check-ups for driver's license holders, as the manual suggests. Get your vehicle inspected, get your eyes inspected. Your senses are part of your vehicle's safety system. As near as I can tell, a vision test is only required every 10 years in MA.

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MA seriously deficient with vision testing

So much so, that if any of us MA licensees moved to Canada, we'd have to start over for the entire exam process.

The lack of vision testing is one big reason - the lack of a comprehensive (e.g. covers full range of skills and knowledge for all drivers) written or applied exam is another.

"Why didn't you see"

So you thinking is if an accident happens, the license get suspended for a formal vision test then asking "why didn't you see?" I think 3/4 of this argument is just that ordering.

I'm pretty sure Pete's vision is the scenario of driving down a street and someone step in front of the car after being completely covered by some large object (truck, van, SUV, tree, something) with no context (like a crosswalk for a large distance) and then an accident happens.

In this context, I can see Pete's concern just fine. Such a person getting their license even temporary suspended is unfair. It cost time and energy even if the exam is free. A suspended license carries all kinds of stigma and insurance costs. Reworking the system can mitigate much of those negatives, but making it an automatic suspension as-is bring those consequences.

In your arguments. You are calling to make sure drivers have can see well. All of your arguments seems to center about the importance of ensuring drivers can see.

Thus, both can sound right, but neither are you are talking about the same contention. A driver who gets automatically suspended because a person stepped out without looking from behind a van is unfair. You are correct as drivers should be able to see well as an important part of our senses. I doubt Pete is contesting that drivers shouldn't be assess on vision. I doubt you are saying a driver should be removed from driving privileges for accidents when "I didn't see" means similar scenarios to what I wrote above.

Law School?

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The police file police reports, they do not decide whether a case should proceed to a court. Police reports go to a prosecutor who decides whether to charge (or to put the case before a grand jury). If the prosecutor decides in his or her discretion to charge then the case goes to court. This decision is based on the facts set forth in the police report, which it sounds like you don't have. Also, cars are not guests in the city. Cars are vehicles that people drive to get around in the city. Other people choose to walk. Sometimes people make mistakes and bump into eachother. When one person is driving a car and the other isn't sometimes bad things happen. If the person who was driving the car was acting unreasonably when the accident happened then there could be legal repercussions, but likely civil and not criminal. This has nothing to do with motorists versus pedestrians. Get a grip.

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Guests?

Cars are the guests in the city. People have the right to be there first.

Guests? Wow, that's a stretch. Maybe in your mind, but show me the law citing this.

Anyways.....

"I didn't see him/her" is a common refrain that I just don't agree with. How can you not see someone? That is, unless you're busy doing something else like yapping on the phone, texting, daydreaming, playing with yourself/another - anything but actually driving the car. One may even have a semi-legitimate reason for whacking someone, but the second someone says "I didn't see him/her", they lose all credibility.

"I didn't see him/her" gets used a lot when a car whacks a cyclist, even in the simplest of situations. It's gotta stop. I just don't buy it.

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Because that is what people say...

You see this with pedestrians and cyclists all the time. Many times cyclists and pedestrians are not at fault, they will often say something right after they get hit (by an at fault motorist) like "it's my fault, I should have seen them", when in reality, yes they should have seen them, but they still aren't at fault, even though some sort of 'excited utterence' or 'present sense impression' comes out in which they admit fault to the crash.

Most motorists who hit objects might say something like "I didn't see them", but what they mean is "I didn't see them until it was too late," or "I didn't see them until they ran in front of my car".

They might be at fault or they might not be. Just because they say something like that doesn't mean they are automatically at fault though.

I'll go with that

Just because they say something like that doesn't mean they are automatically at fault though.

Yes, I agree, I don't believe in any automatic fault - ever.
An important part of my point was credibility, which is important when listening to people explain things, whether it be politicians trying to wriggle themselves out of a situation ("I misspoke" - please.....), or a motorist trying to explain an accident. When someone tries to excuse an accident by saying they simply didn't see the victim, that's cause for further explanation.
Why didn't you see them, they were right there?
What were you doing at the time?
Just don't let them off the hook that easily.

Exactly....

I didn't see them because I was trying to text someone....

I didn't see them because they ran out into the street to catch a train and didn't look....

It isn't like a cop hears something like "I didn't see them" and just throws up his hands and says "Well you heard it, we can all go home now, no crime here!"

It simply doesn't happen like that.

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Was she crossing Charles near PF Chang's

That particular part of the street is somewhat difficult to cross. There are two "blind intersections" leading onto Charles. Cars usually come zipping around the corner and don't seem to be very cautious at all.

There is also an elderly man I see crossing that area from time to time. This man moves extremely slow. It almost always takes him a few light cycles to make it across the street. When I saw this headline, I thought it was this guy.

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World Class redux

Easy to imagine this happening in front of P.F. Chang's. That whole area is a death trap for pedestrians, and, of course, it's all been rebuilt/redesigned over the last 15-20 years or so. Just shows the sort of traffic engineering standards we use here in this World Class City[tm] when redesigning the heart of the tourist district.

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Stuart and Charles

Is a death trap indeed. That's one of those cases where it really is a minimum reasonable standard to walk to the corner to use the crosswalk. It's hair-raising through there no matter your mode of transport.

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Yeah, sure. Good luck on

Yeah, sure. Good luck on those crosswalks that are superimposed on the rounded-off, dedicated turn lanes leading onto Charles from both directions (assuming the crosswalks are even visible). That's some quality traffic engineering.

http://goo.gl/maps/LbtXK

Not having another crosswalk between there and Boylston Street is just the icing on the cake. World class, baby!

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That's not the corner I'd walk to

If you want to cross from the PF Chang side to the Park Plaza side, by all means walk down the block to Boylston Street. You have a chance there. Or go island-hopping so you can take each stream of oncoming cars one by one. That's an insanely dangerous place to cross.

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Thought I was the only one who hated this area this much.

I like having dinner around there and all, just not walking there. I've even gone up to Boylston to cross this particular street. It takes longer, and some people have poked fun at me. I don't care though, it feels much safer crossing up there than it does at the crazy curves.

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Two Words

Raised crossings

Go more than 10mph and rip out your undercarriage.

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I like this idea.

Parts of Kneeland could really use this too. I'm not sure how snow plows might handle it though. Are there places in Boston with this type of raised intersection?

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