Bad crash at Dartmouth and Columbus involving a school bus, a pedestrian and a dog

The pedestrian is hurt, the dog is dead. Karen Twomey at WBZ reports the bus was turning onto Dartmouth from Columbus. Because of the severity of the man's injuries, the homicide unit was called in - routine procedure for both murders and potentially fatal accidents.

Police have shut the intersection.

Ad:

Neighborhoods: 

Topics: 

Comments

Oh no...

By on

Why does that intersection always seem like a huge hazard?

up
Voting is closed. 0

Seem like?

Try "designed as". That whole area is a traffic wasteland, and lack of enforcement of traffic laws on any road users turns it into a free-for-all.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Traffic signals

By on

There are lights at that intersection. By 'road users' I assume you mean the pedestrian. If the bus had the green light, the pedestrian would not have.

I don't understand the vitriol towards fellow human beings just because they drive a vehicle. Yes, humans make mistakes and need to be more aware but the blind hatred and blame towards ALL drivers is so absurd to me. The same goes towards those who do the same towards cyclists. Each incident is unique and not a pandemic.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Where did I single out any mode of road user?

I didn't.

You implied that, not me.

I was trying to be fair - there are jaywalkers and also drivers and cyclists running red lights and ignoring signals, and no enforcement on anyone.

Bad design plus Massholes all the way down.

Each incident is unique and not a pandemic.

Nothing could be further from the truth when all stem from poor design + poor user behavior. This is a huge problem with attitudes toward fixing things in the northeast, though. You don't see this ridiculous attitude in areas of Europe with similar older city designs and mixed users.

We need to look for solutions, not make lazy excuses like this.

up
Voting is closed. 0

You have an absurdly low

By on

You have an absurdly low threshold for what constitutes "vitriol". Is this your sole prerogative, or shall we apply the same standard to your comments?

up
Voting is closed. 0

green and a walk signal

By on

>If the bus had the green light, the pedestrian would not have.

Not necessarily, many intersections have a walk signal and a green light at the same time, the walk signal is in the same direction as the movement of car traffic.

For example at Mass and Marlborough, pedestrians get a walk signal to cross Mass Ave and traffic traveling along Marlborough Street have a green light. I think you can see that on Google's Street view.

In these cases the pedestrian has the right of way and turning traffic is supposed to yield to them.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Hyperbolic much

By on

The whole area is a wasteland? I think that's a tad over the top.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Traffic wasteland

The intersection and the intersections near it are dominated by traffic, by imposed traffic patterns that run everybody around in circles, and very wide roadways that meet at odd angles, yes. Very much so. I suggest you spend some time there, attempting to get between two otherwise nearby destinations via different modes. This is the kind of intersection design and focus on motor vehicles passing through that leads everyone to avoid an area.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Chilllllllll

By on

My but you make a lot of outrageous blanket statements about things about which you clearly don't Know the first thing. Please note: just because you can Google it doesn't mean it's true.
Now I have a suggestion for you; rather than try to fix the rest of the world (that probably isn't broken in the first place) why not deal with some of this pent up and misplaced anger? It can't be good for you, or your family (presuming you didn't make them up too).

up
Voting is closed. 0

Then read the comments by others that corroborate mine

For more information about navigating the area, from a variety of perspectives, read the rest of this thread.

You are the one who clearly doesn't know "first thing" if you think my statements and those made by others who frequently transit the area are "outrageous".

You are just making yourself look stupid by trolling me while ignoring the entire descriptive discussion that is largely in agreement.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Its because...

By on

People don't mind the legal distance between a corner and where they parked in reference to a corner. That intersection has blind corners and requires pedestrians to get half way out in the street so they can see if they can cross. BTD needs to ticket heavily to those offenders who don't mind the legal distance between a corner and a parking spot

Secondly, look at a map. Dartmouth hits Columbus at a 70-80% angle, not a a 90 degree so combined with the above, the there's very limited site distance on two corners.

Edit: fixed bad english (as always!)

up
Voting is closed. 0

yes

By on

I noticed this got worse when large SUVs were trendy--a car parked too close to the corner is enough of a hazard, but bigger vehicles block even more visibility. Still bad, though not as bad as it was 10 years ago.

Boston has quite a few corners that give pedestrians the walk signal while allowing vehicles to turn. I can't remember if that's the case with Dartmouth and Columbus, so perhaps it wasn't a factor in this tragedy.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Walk signals with turns allowed

Yes, this is true at many busy intersections. I've even had a driver yell at me and when I said I had a walk signal (and pointed to it) she said she didn't believe me!

up
Voting is closed. 0

Yes, many times over

A pedestrian with a walk sign has the right of way even if the car has green light. Yet it's extremely common for drivers to cut off pedestrians or try to beat them to the corner. (Or only stop mid-way in the crosswalk.)

No idea what happened this morning but it wouldn't be surprising if the bus clipped someone walking with the light.

up
Voting is closed. 0

All of this is true.

By on

I walk a lot and I have cars cut me off daily, when I have the walk signal.

Where is the mayor and his concern for public safety?

up
Voting is closed. 0

The mayor

By on

is busy with the Olympics and backpedaling from the agreements he signed.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Concerned Resident

By on

People from outside of the city, who are unaware of the dangers of that intersection are generally the cause of the accidents. It is horrendous that a second person was critically injured in less than a year in the same intersection. Something needs to be done to make it safer. I am personally terrified of walking through that area.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Metco Bus

By on

I'd be willing to bet it drives this route often,

up
Voting is closed. 0

Stats?

By on

Everyone is freaking out like crashes of this type happen at this intersection *all* the time. Are there statistics for this here?

I see one response to Karen Twomy's tweet that something happened ~16 months ago. Others?

I go through this intersection often - swivel your head (driving, riding and walking). And there are signals for everyone - drivers/bicyclists and pedestrians alike.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Two bad pedestrian crashes within two years

By on

would seem like enough reason to look into what's going on at this spot. And I said it seems like a hazard, not that it's a death trap that needs to be razed. I go through there all the time, on bike, foot, car and there's just something wrong there that probably could be fixed by some design tweaks. There are a ton of pedestrians, including jaywalkers and people crossing diagonally, a ton of cabs rushing down Columbus OR rushing to turn into Dartmouth to get to the train station, and often drivers darting around the cars waiting to turn. It's just a bad combination.

up
Voting is closed. 0

And

By on

Add in smart phones that both drivers and pedestrians think are SO important to be looking at ALL THE TIME (why do we need to be constantly entertained by these objects?) and we have a ticking bomb.

I still think everyone needs to pay attention to where they're going.

Oh - and do you ALWAYS need the GPS on? That one surprises me the most.

(PS: not You, you, Sally, but the generalized 'you')

Further - this intersection has been like this for ever. Design tweaks may be necessary, but firstly - what has changed to cause this uptick?

up
Voting is closed. 0

Table Tops at Crosswalks could help

By on

At some major intersections like this one providing raised "table tops" at crosswalks would force drivers to slow down and likely make the intersection safer. I drive through there all the time and people are always going fast to "make the light". Sucks anytime someone gets hit by a vehicle :(

up
Voting is closed. 0

Good Option

By on

That would certainly do it.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Pedestrians wearing reflective clothing would help too

At 5 AM its still pretty dark and pedestrians stupidly assume they are as visible as vehicles with head and tail lights. No, just because you see them doesn't mean they see you.

Pedestrians wearing appropriate cloths for conditions is much less expensive than table tops everywhere.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Reflective clothing?

By on

For Pete's sake--it's the South End, a block from Back Bay Station, not a foggy rural back road. It's one of the densest pedestrian neighborhoods in the city with timed lights, crosswalks, etc--no one should need f'ing reflective clothing to avoid being hit by a bus, especially during broad daylight. But honestly...why am I bothering?

up
Voting is closed. 0

I know, right?

It's like trying to explain to a five-year-old why they can't have candy for dinner.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Sally--i couldn't agree with

By on

Sally--i couldn't agree with you more. That is a terrible
intersection for pedestrians. Drivers trying to beat red lights
and going right on red especially from Colunbus to Dartmouth.
Drivers could care less about pedestrians. I walk everywhere
and the drivers in Boston are the worst. I'm sorry that a man
and his dog have suffered due to this poorly designed intersection.
Last time I checked pedestrians ALWAYS have the right of way.

up
Voting is closed. 0

5 AM vs 7:30 AM

By on

Markk - how not-dark is it at 7:30 am?

According to CBS:

Police were called to Dartmouth Street near the intersection of Columbus Ave. at about 7:30 a.m. after the crash

Another story indicates that the accident happened around 7.

Sunrise was at 7:05 AM. Should have been plenty bright to observe pedestrians. Trust me, if it's plenty light enough to pick up dog poop at 6:00, it's plenty light enough for drivers to see pedestrians.

Further, the photos imply it was turning to head up toward Back Bay. That's north-north-west facing. I haven't found info is the driver was left turning or right turning onto Columbus. I don't believe the sun could have been a factor - especially in light (yes, I know) of the fact that it is still early enough that the sun is behind buildings (while still being light enough out that clothing is not a factor). Regardless, as a driver, if the sun is in your eyes, you slow the eff down. The DRIVER is the one wielding a dangerous weapon and shouldn't be reckless with it.

up
Voting is closed. 0

8:22

By on

When I click on both Adam's link and the one you provided, the time stamp says 8:22 am.

Besides, all other news sources say 7 or 7:30.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Kids?

Were there kids on the school bus when this happened? If so, what age? Seeing a person get seriously hurt and an animal killed is pretty traumatic.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Possible Solution

By on

Hello all - I live two blocks from this horrible accident with my husband and two children (3yrs and 5 yrs) and saw the aftermath. One possible solution would be to make this a 4-way stop so that all cars in both directions stop for pedestrians to cross. Many people cross when the green turn arrow is on (orange hand is still up for pedestrians) and it is a blind intersection so that's risky. If all cars stopped in both directions and there were "no turn on red" signs that could potentially alleviate it. I would also consider removing the 8-10 parking spaces on Dartmouth between Clery's and the train station on both sides. With all of the deliveries in that small space, and two parking garages exiting, one double parked car causes huge problems and people get frustrated and zoom into that intersection not thinking. I think it's a problem on both the signal part and the pedestrian part but a 4-way stop like Clarendon/Columbus could help. I will be attending neighborhood association meetings to work on a solution and I urge you all to do the same. Also consider downloading the app "Citizens Connect" and make a report which goes go the mayors office. Something must change soon there and in the meantime I'm walking a couple blocks out of my way to avoid that intersection.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Larger problem with signals city-wide

This is one intersection where everyone needs to follow the traffic signals strictly. In too many intersections city-wide, the lights do not make sense for pedestrian traffic.

I don't know what happened in this particular case, but there are so many intersections in the city that are built without consideration for all modes of traffic.

Pedestrian safety could be greatly improved by applying a consistent approach to signalized intersections. Lack of consistency weakens the faith pedestrians can put into the validity of a DON’T WALK signal, which thereby increases the likelihood of pedestrians taking into their own hands the crossing of an intersection, regardless of the WALK/DON’T WALK signals.

Some pedestrian signals have a countdown that reaches 0 immediately before crossing traffic has a green light. Some pedestrian signals have a countdown that reaches 0, but then crossing traffic still waits 5-10 seconds for a green light. Some pedestrian signals display DON’T WALK when it is legally impossible for any car to cross the crosswalk. Some pedestrian signals display DON’T WALK when it is only legal for a car to turn right/left on red after stopping.

Some traffic cycles always include a pedestrian cross phase, regardless of a walk button request. Some traffic cycles never include a pedestrian cross phase, regardless of a walk button request. Some traffic cycles only include a pedestrian cross phase, regardless of a walk button request, only during certain hours and days of the week.

I cross 15 signalized intersections on my walk to work. In my opinion, 8 are signalized appropriately for vehicular and passenger traffic, 4 don’t display WALK where it is either illegal for vehicles to cross the crosswalk or vehicles must stop before turning right/left on red, and 3 have countdowns that reach 0 5-10 seconds before any vehicle can legally cross. How can I have faith in WALK/DON’T WALK signals if they’re accurate only 53% of the time?

up
Voting is closed. 0

A fix planned

By on

Looks like the city has a fix in the works to adjust the signal timing and make it safer for pedestrians:

https://mayors24.cityofboston.gov/reports/101001252390

Request from citizen:
"caller that when the ped signal goes off cars are still able to turn. Some one was seriously injured this morning walking his dog and people have been hit in the past. Something needs to be done to correct dangerous situation for pedestrians. Caller suggests 4 way cross just like Columbus St and Clarendon St."

Response from BTD:
"Thank you for contacting the Boston Transportation Department regarding your concerns with the operation and safety concerns of the the intersection and traffic signal at Columbus Avenue and Dartmouth Street. We are aware of the tragic accident that occurred between a school bus and a pedestrian and his dog. I want to assure you we are looking at remedies to improve the operation at this intersection. It is quite challenging due to the traffic volumes, two-way streets on both Dartmouth St and Columbus Avenue, limited geometry to allow widening for turn lanes, and pedestrian volumes as well. We are in the process of retiming the Back Bay traffic signals and this intersection is part of the study. Our goal is to come up with a signal phasing that will improve pedestrian safety and accommodate vehicles as well, without causing more backups in your neighborhood. Currently, the traffic signal has concurrent walks for pedestrians (Walks in the same direction of traffic) and it also has turning arrows from Dartmouth SB to Columbus inbound as well as a right turn arrow from Columbus outbound to Dartmouth northbound. One issue we have observed is pedestrians crossing Columbus Ave on the east side during the turning arrow phases even though the pedestrian signals display Don't Walk. They see the traffic signal on Columbus Ave turn red and assume they can walk across, especially from south to north where they cannot see the turning arrows. The benefit of an exclusive only pedestrian phase (all-walk, all-red for cars) is it is the absolute safest condition for pedestrians. The downside to an exclusive is it adds delays to the overall intersection causing longer vehicular queues, longer cycle lengths (the amount of time for a signal to serve all approaches before starting over), and even longer pedestrian delays because a pedestrian will have to wait for other phases to happen before finally receiving the exclusive all-walk. This can lead to pedestrians becoming impatient and jaywalking, putting themselves in harms way. Our current plan is to add an exclusive pedestrian phase. Our study shows the north crosswalk across Dartmouth St is best to only operate under this condition due to the amount of left and right turning vehicles from Columbus Avenue to Dartmouth St NB. This crosswalk will only turn on during the exclusive pedestrian phase and will display Don't Walk at all other times. All other crosswalks will also be on during the exclusive pedestrian phase but will remain on during the concurrent traffic phases as well. We will also eliminate the turn arrows on Dartmouth SB and Columbus outbound to Dartmouth NB, since our analysis shows arrows are not warranted and have a limited effect without a dedicated left-turn lane on to store traffic and there is no room to add one. A hybrid exclusive/concurrent pedestrian operation should improve pedestrian safety but also not increase pedestrian delay too much overall. I hope I explained our understanding of the situation and our plan that we hope to enact in Spring 2015 (some of the improvements require restriping and we must wait until after the winter). Before then we will be making some adjustments to yellow/red times and pedestrian times to the way the signal currently operates."

up
Voting is closed. 0

Bigger DON'T WALK signs needed

With pedestrians ignoring the don't walk signs often in many places, it occurred to me that these signs need to be much larger in places like this with larger intersections and longer viewing distances. The countdown pedestrian lights are thankfully larger than most of the old pedestrian signals around. Still, they are unfriendly for visually impaired pedestrians.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Why?

So the turning vehicles can continue to ignore the "walk" part?

up
Voting is closed. 0

I don't know what phase the

By on

I don't know what phase the signal was in when the person was crossing who was hit. I can tell you that it's a tricky intersection for drivers and for pedestrians.

That north crossing (across Dartmouth St) is really a tough one for everyone, which I think was the one that the pedestrian was using. There are a lot of drivers turning from Columbus Ave from both directions onto Dartmouth St northbound. For the eastbound drivers during left, they have to wait for a break in traffic (across 2 opposing lanes, a through and a right turn only one) in order to turn and may not be also looking for a pedestrian crossing there. For the westbound drivers turning right, a pedestrian crossing from east to west may not be that visible because they are blocked by the people standing and waiting to cross Columbus.

(There are also a lot of jaywalking pedestrians who cross Columbus. There is a protected turn phase that a lot of people don't seem to realize exists. I think they assume during this phase that the walk signal is just wrong or broken like it is in many other intersections.)

The city's solution seems good: eliminate the confusing protected turn phase, and add an exclusive walk phase, which will be the only time that pedestrians will be able to cross that north crosswalk, when there is no turning traffic to worry about.

up
Voting is closed. 0

Location