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Pedestrian hit, killed by truck in Harvard Square

Harvard Square crash scene

Post-crash scene, with the boom truck that was involved. Photo by Chris Devers.

Updated, 1:30 p.m.

Authorities report a woman in her 60s was hit and killed by a boom truck as she tried to cross the street in Harvard Square at 6:53 a.m.

The woman, who was not in a crosswalk, was attempting to walk across Brattle Street in front of Out of Town News, police say, adding the driver of the truck remained on scene.

The area remained shut to traffic through Tuesday afternoon as local and state police conducted an investigation.

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Comments

That even with all of the region's aggressive attempts to control drivers' behavior* and protect vulnerable pedestrians** that this keeps happening on a near-daily basis

*footage not found
**ditto

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Voting closed 45

difficult navigation in square and all over cambridge. harvard is doing tremendous amounts of construction all over the city. maybe the genius' at harvard can figure out a way to keep 30 ton trucks from having to squeeze through the cow paths of the square.

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Voting closed 17

Just spit ballin here but maybe there are parts of the city, particularly narrow cow paths around squares, where we should look at limiting 30 ton trucks and even cars from rolling through?

Hell you don't even need a genius from Harvard to figure that out.

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Voting closed 89

The problem is the road network funnels through Harvard Square, because it was the first town center in that area by a couple hundred years. This is especially true if you're driving a truck, since you can't use Memorial Drive, Soldiers Field Road, or the residential streets that serve as an unofficial bypass of the square.

How would you drive a truck from Allston to Porter without going through the square? How about Kendall to Watertown, or Union Square to Belmont?

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Voting closed 2

Why would you drive a truck from Kendall to Watertown? Does Russo's buy Taza by the ton?

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Voting closed 2

One should simply not drive there if your vehicle does not fit and you can't drive it safely? After all, that area was designed for pedestrians and there are numerous ways to avoid it if you use your newfangled map thingy properly.

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Voting closed 48

Yup, Harvard Square should never had cars in the first place. An area with that many pedestrians should not prioritize vehicles. Give it back to the people and this will never happen again.

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Voting closed 57

The State House just uncovered RMV officials ringing the bells in 2018 and invoking the Packer Law. The Baker leadership did nothing. People are trying to make the streets safer, but are getting a no from above.

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Voting closed 10

And as a Star Trek fan a pedestrian city sounds cool to me but this idea completely ignores a large portion of the people you want to "return" the city to. Like it or not there are people who cannot use bikes to get everywhere, and Im not only talking about elderly or disabled people. The shops, restaurants, clubs, and nearly every other business here needs to regularly take in inventory and we can't do that without vehicle access. It's difficult enough to unload a pallet of boxes when the truck can find a loading zone that isnt full of parked cars, how will it be feasible if they have to stop a half mile from the square's center? Big chains might be able to hire extra staff and equipment to make the haul a few times a week, but you can say goodbye to every business featured in that boston.com article on harvard square from a few days ago.

Sorry for the rant but cars and their drivers aren't evil demons who's eradication will save us, it's the blase attitude eveyone (drivers, pedestrians, bikers) has towards traffic. As long as people speed through yellow lights or bike the wrong way down the street or walk into traffic expecting every car to stop people will get hit, and if harvard square is closed to cars then they will continue to get hit on the fringes of the square.

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Voting closed 4

HBS doing a lot of work in allston right now at the end of western ave. trucks entering and exiting must follow strict directions going in and out. certain streets and neighborhoods are completely restricted. the neighbors are watching closely and companies with vehichles that use restricted streets will be heavily fined. so, it is possible to plan something like this, im just not sure how you deal with it in harvard square. only one way in and out of a lot of harvard properties and the square is right in the center of it all lol,

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Voting closed 14

A private developer has demolished the buildings in the center of the square and they have closed a lane of JFK St which makes that busy corridor that much more congested. JFK is really a clusterfuck right now.

Not sure if that has anything to do with today's collision but this section isn't Harvard's doing. And it's going to get worst before it gets better seeing as how it's a large building they are constructing.

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Voting closed 14

If I'm driving, I avoid that area like the plague.

Know what? It really isn't hard to do.

Turn off the phone google, and just look at a freaking map and plan your route - just like you learned in grade school. There are at least ten ways that I can think of to avoid that area coming from several different directions.

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Voting closed 17

I never once had any map reading instruction in school.
And my public school was top-rated.

Now orienteering was a special event, and I had already been familiar with a topo map and a compass. But that isn't road map-reading.

No fair you can navigate around Harvard Square and I can't!

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Voting closed 2

especially during rush-hours.

I avoid driving around or through Harvard Square at rush-hours, whenever I can.

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Voting closed 0

Spot on. People from the 'burbs constantly tell me they're afraid to drive in the city. My response is always: then don't. If you're looking at a GPS, then you're not looking out for pedestrians, cyclists and other motor vehicles. If you KNOW you do not have the skills to drive in a congested, confusing area, then do us all a favor and take public transportation or take a taxi.

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Voting closed 55

Leave your car at Alewife or in a outer lot and take transit into congested areas.

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Voting closed 11

Doesn't work for a truck with 30 tons of cargo.

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Voting closed 3

Drive part-way, thus avoiding congested areas, and then walk the rest of the way.

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Voting closed 1

There are construction projects throughout the square as well as the surrounding areas. Should the workers offload literal tons of materials and carry it to the site?

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Voting closed 1

Trucks can fit in Harvard Square.

It's not a European village from the 1100s where streets are 6 feet wide.

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Voting closed 0

I wasn’t there and don’t know what happened but I’m sure this will continue to degenerate to the regulars blaming the PD for some kind of conspiracy.

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Voting closed 5

Harvard Square is badly designed and has large numbers of pedestrians. I find it amazing that there aren't more serious collisions with pedestrians there.

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Voting closed 10

Hint: it was wonderfully well designed for humans and horses.

It was not "designed" at all for cars. Nor should it be.

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Voting closed 47

I think it's the other way around--vehicles are badly designed for Harvard Square. We hit this same thing in our community. They wanted to add a pedestrian island, but the fire department said no because their new trucks couldn't get past, which I read as they bought stupidly oversized trucks for the community they are supposed to protect.

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Voting closed 9

It's not the size of the roads or of the trucks or the construction site - all of which are manageable when navigated with attention and caution. The real question is: who was texting or otherwise on a phone when it happened? The driver, the pedestrian, or both?

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Voting closed 17

Someone I know saw her on the ground and she was wearing bright clothes, apparently out running. So probably wasn’t on a phone while crossing.

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Voting closed 9

woman in her 60s

RIP

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Voting closed 15

I don't really understand....the space in front of Out Of Town News (which is where the truck looks like it is stopped) is, most definitely, a crosswalk. In fairness there is a light and it is certainly possible that this person was crossing against the light (a very common occurrence there, especially right after the walk light has turned off and cars get the green). Unless they are saying she was hit closer to Otto but that is not in front of Out Of Town News.

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Voting closed 14

The truck was parked in front of old town news, but closer to the other side of the street where the main T station access is.

(I passed the square this morning and noted the truck because of PD presence in excess of a basic traffic detail.)

So many people ignore the directionals - drivers and pedestrians alike. What are the traffic rules for if not to keep us safe? RIP.

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Voting closed 0

In streetview, there is no white striped crosswalk on Brattle street in front of Out of Town News. However there is a broad brick paved area that crosses Brattle. It has ramps in the center on both sides. You can't be in front of the news stand and in the street without being contained in this crosswalk.

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Voting closed 12

I always assumed the huge brick area is the crosswalk. The traffic lights are red on all sides making the entire middle of the square crossable once every few minutes.

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Voting closed 8

Yes, the crosswalk is huge, that whole brick-paved swath covering the area in front of the T entrance and the ends of JFK Street and Brattle Street. And yet I've seen pedestrians hit in Harvard Square twice, and both times they were crossing from the far end of that little "island" on the other side of Out of Town.

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Voting closed 9

Yes, but behind out of town news is Mass Ave. The story said she was in front but not in the crosswalk.

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Voting closed 3

How fast was the truck going ? Any details yet ?

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Voting closed 3

I wonder how fast it was going as well. And, as others have said above, this section of Harvard Square is one giant crosswalk. I would be shocked if there weren't eye witnesses, it being at 7AM in the busiest block of Harvard Square. I also wonder if there wasn't surveillance footage, given the Bank of America is right there.

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Voting closed 0