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Another pedestrian hit by SUV on Centre Street in West Roxbury, as city paints lines for new layout aimed at making the road safer

Update: SUV driver blames new road configuration, not impatience, for slamming into pedestrian in a crosswalk on Centre Street in West Roxbury.

A 53-year-old man walking across Centre Street in West Roxbury suffered head and rib injuries after being hit by an SUV near the TD Bank branch around 3:40 p.m.

"When I saw him, he was in the fetal position, face down with his head in his hands," said one of the last drivers to pass the scene before police shut Centre between Willow and Corey streets. He added the man may have been walking to the post office because there were packages strewn around him.

The crash comes as the city is re-configuring Centre Street between Holy Name Rotary and Lagrange Street in an attempt to make it safer for pedestrians, bicyclists and even motorists, through measures that include reducing the number of motor-vehicle lanes in each direction from two to one and creating dedicated bike lanes. The goal is slowing down the drivers who regularly speed down the road and the elimination of "double threat" crashes, in which a driver in one lane stops for a pedestrian, who then gets slammed by a motorist in the other lane who doesn't stop.

The work, still ongoing, will include a new center turn lane, pedestrian islands at intersections and reconfigured traffic signals. The work started in October with the installation of new handicap ramps.

Although parts of Centre are now marked for just one travel lane in each direction, with a new center turn lane and curbside bike lanes, the city has yet to put up permanent signs or road markings to alert motorists to the new configuration.

Motorists today continued to park right at the curb, in what is supposed bike lanes, rather than in the new parking lanes a few feet away from the curb.

The city first began looking at reducing lanes on Centre Street in 2019, following the death of Marilyn Wentworth as she walked across Centre at Hastings Street. But Mayor Walsh shut that down after vociferous protests from some West Roxbury residents who charged the plan was really a plot by bicycle interests and other horrible people to destroy the neighborhood.

The Wu administration revived the basic idea in May, as part of an overall citywide effort to make streets safer.

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Comments

And the low lifes in the West Roxbury Connect Facebook group are already blaming the road diet for this man being struck. Nevermind the changes aren’t done yet and people are still driving and parking wherever they want on Centre St just like they always have.

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This guy was paid by Big Road Diet to swing public opinion.

I'm just kidding.

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And what kind of people would like it?

Just kidding about somebody who was seriously injured? Warped.

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I suspect the poster is just really tired of idiotic conspiracy theories replacing good sense and factual data and stalling progress on what actually prevents people from being seriously injured on a regular basis.

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It is common that sudden shifts in traffic patterns lead to car crashes. This is especially the case as rush hour ramps up, as it does in West Rox around that time (nearly 4 pm). In this case, Jascha Franklin-Hodge totally screwed the pooch by not ensuring that police officers are present during the transition to assist drivers in managing the new traffic patterns.

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The number one person to blame here is the driver. Period. End.of.story.

This driver was driving too fast regardless of the layout. There is zero excuse. It was 3:40pm. Sun was out. No glare yesterday. If you are aware of the new paint, the crosswalk is visible and a pedestrian would be visible to a driver driving 25 mph or less as the road way allows. The driver most likely drove out of the painted driving lanes due to impatience and ridiculous anger and fear mongering against bikes and the mayor's office. When this has zero to due with bikes, cops or city employees.

This cross walk serves two banks (TD and BOA), the post office, the train station, a medical building and multiple other restaurants and businesses including a daycare. There is someone in this crosswalk probably 15% of the time I drive this route--to and from work and to errands. I have stopped and waited in fear of the drivers in the other three lanes hoping the stop. I personally have stood in that crosswalk as cars have blasted by me... to make it to the Corey light and stop.

Stop your nonsense and blame the drivers.

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Welcome to Boston. Get the fughowdamywaymuthahfughah!!

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…. motorist is horrible.
Head injuries can change a person’s life forever.

Was it hit and run?

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Or hit and cover up?

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All cover-ups are bad.

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.

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i posted the following last march. i still have never heard a thing about it. i asked a town cop i know and he told me something was coming but that was well over a year ago.

east st walpole
By bostnkid on Fri, 03/04/2022 - 4:37pm.
last july 27 an elderly woman was struck by a car and killed in the late afternoon right outside a church. it was in the news the next day.

https://www.boston25news.com/news/local/pedestrian-dies-after-being-hit-...

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2021/07/27/metro/woman-killed-after-being-hi...

https://whdh.com/news/https-whdh-com-news-police-investigating-fatal-ped...

that was it. never another word printed anywhere about it after july 28th.

last week there another accident in same spot involving pedestrians.

this is from the walpole police facebook

Walpole Police Department
February 24 at 7:57 PM ·
#Update: Investigation has wrapped up and East St. is back open. Thank you.
⚠️ WPD & Walpole Firefighters IAFF Local 2464 personnel are on scene of a serious crash involving pedestrians on East St. near Diamond St. This section of East St. is shut down while the crash is investigated. We will update when it is reopened. Please avoid the area.

(walpole police facebook page)

that’s it.

so two serious accidents in the same location, one causing a death but again no details or follow up stories.

how do stories like this just disappear into thin air??

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Not a hit and run. I came upon scene around 4:30 and there were two SUVs still in the road with the little evidence markers in the street and that block taped off.

I'll also add, that about that time of day (3:40), the sun blindness from the setting sun is brutal. (Both vehicles were heading west.) Another reason to be very careful along that stretch of road.

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The driver who hit the pedestrian stayed on scene (the second driver was not involved, except that he was right there and the first driver claimed he was trying to get around the second).

Update.

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It is specifically illegal to pass a car stopped at a crosswalk. Given sufficient enforcement of existing law, the road diet would not be necessary. But apparently we can't have that. So all crosswalks crossing roads with two lanes on a side pose dangers to pedestrians and the road must be reconfigured so a crosswalk only has one lane per side.

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I used to think enforcement would be enough, but the police can't be everywhere at once, and in this country *everyone* needs to drive, not just those capable of learning. "Water flows downhill," it needs to be easier to do the right thing than the wrong thing when it comes to safety. Same safety principles we use for everything BUT road design.

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I like the idea of the road diet because I genuinely believe a dedicated left turn lane is going to make life easier for everyone including other motorists.

My spouse agreed, but also points out that now that there's only one lane, ubereats double parkers will now just bring traffic to a screaming halt completely, and the left lane will become de-facto pass lanes, causing a more dangerous situation.

I suggested that with only one travel lane, the cops who are literally RIGHT THERE AT THE ROTARY might ACTUALLY be incentivized to enforce traffic.

Then we both had a hearty laugh. Even the documents for the diet suggest increased enforcement has to be a portion of this new plan. People are still going to get hit, we'll just see a lot more absolutely batshit behavior of violating the way the new lanes work to do it.

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"My spouse agreed, but also points out that now that there's only one lane, ubereats double parkers will now just bring traffic to a screaming halt completely, and the left lane will become de-facto pass lanes, causing a more dangerous situation."

If we are going to have UberEats, GrubHub, Amazon, Uber, Lyft, . . . . .operating in an area, road design should incorporate adequate parking and loading, financed by the respective companies.

Road diets would work better if people's lives are considered.

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If we are going to have UberEats, GrubHub, Amazon, Uber, Lyft, operating in an area, we should require them to actually follow applicable laws rather than subsidizing corporations by granting them more free use of public resources even if they can't be bothered to operate safely.

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This incident happened after the new road diet was painted. Traffic has been moving single file through this crosswalk for a few days. Unless there was some sort of insane overtake maneuver occurring double threat isn't relevant

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The crosswalk at TD Bank, until they did the improvements, was wide open and and you almost put your life into your hands if you crossed there. Thus, I crossed at Corey Street or Park Street because it was/is much safer.

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I've crossed here six or seven times since the new layout was painted and it's significantly safer now. Very curious to see what other information comes to light here. Given the time of day perhaps glare was a factor? Texting and driving? Excessive speed or some sort of illegal overtake using the new median?

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Usually I'll stop at the Bank of America ATM and cross over to the Westbury Diner or my doctor, but I'll be pleased if it has improved and this accident happened because there were other factors.

UPDATE: Went there today and I didn't cross at the open crosswalks at Maple, Hastings or Richwood - I stuck to the lights at Corey and Park. The only difference I see is that there is now a bike lane and the open-turn lanes in the middle, and the cars parked near the Rox Diner/Hardware store/Ale House are now extended out and filled up near the bike lane.

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a little after the accident. While driving outbound near that intersection, an impatient driver passed me on the right into a prohibited zone to gain a one or two-car advantage to take a right hand turn.

A block earlier we had to dodge a couple of double-parked cars waiting presumably for a food order. The road improvements will work but there has to be some enforcement by police as to double parking in the travel lanes. Another traffic light or two would help especially in front of the post office. People take their lives into their hands running across the street to Comellas and the post office. It wouldn’t hurt to have a few police officers here and there.

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The stripey lane is where drivers intuitively will go to turn right. This is normal behavior at any intersection with a combination straight/rightturn lane. Drivers will try to form two lanes.

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The current half-baked state of Centre Street is dangerous and incredibly confusing

The parking area is also quite thin and puts you extremely close to traffic when opening your door (and no, I don't drive an SUV)

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If you look at yesterday's 311 reports for Centre St., there's a litany of reports of drivers parking block-to-block in the bike lane and requests for traffic enforcement as drivers willfully ignore the new lane markings. They point out its dangerous and unsafe. They're closed and dismissed with the basic sentiment 'case noted, no action taken.' The requests started coming in the morning, well before the man was hit crossing; neither BPD nor BTD responded and this is the result.

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I have complained about how dangerous Centre street is a LOT and I fully support the road diet changes but the city has HUGELY dropped the ball this week. Paint is going up in patches, with no signage, missing stripes, big lane shifts with no warning or clear directions... for people who WANT to respect they're driving a thousand ton death machine, it's been really difficult to drive in a predicable and safe manner, let alone people who are already assholes.

And of course the ONE cop that's been assigned to the job has been SO helpful with the following:

  • Parking his cruiser running with the lights on at a corner where he's half inside the remaining turn lane
  • Staring at his phone
  • Sitting inside his cruiser while the juniormost paint guy holds up his hands and directs people around his crew that are dragging equipment through an intersection

I'm honestly surprised there haven't been a bunch of accidents this week. Shame on the city for not having actual traffic people at the intersections directing people.

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It has been a similar situation with the Tremont St road diet in the South End. While it has been implemented over the last few years, the conditions during construction have been awful. Super confusing, little to no signage, no traffic detail. I don't know why it is so hard for the City to properly manage these projects. The contractors need to be properly instructed and supervised to ensure that the transition from old to new configuration is clear as it is happening. They do not seem to be able to manage that themselves.

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It's because it's a split responsibility, due to the inane, insane, idiotic requirement that BPD is the only one who can do traffic detail. The City can't well hold the contractors responsible for anything more than "we paid X amount and requested that a cop be here for X amount of hours". Once the cop is on-site, the contractor has no authority to tell him what to do - nobody can tell cops what to do. So the Contractor ultimately can't be responsible, and can't even go "we're hiring our OWN guys to supplement" because it's literally illegal.

Meanwhile, the city struggles to hold cops accountable when they rape children, let alone fuck up traffic details. When the city is CALLED OUT on the fact that this is unsafe and nobody is directing traffic, the city throws up their hands and goes "but but but the CONTRACTOR is the supervisor!!!"

Nobody owns the responsibility. Nobody is actually the one accountable at the end of the day. And cops continue to take home 6 figures for sitting in their running cars playing candy crush.

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Further proof that cops actually make this country more dangerous. Selfish pigs.

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would solve the issue. Where are our police? Yes, the station is literally right there but I've lived here 25 years and I've never seen a car pulled over for speeding on Centre.

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Don't want to pull over the Westie townies. #Towniestrong.

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A lot of people mad about changes in West Roxbury are people who moved out to suburbs and come back to visit their parents and / or work in the city as cops, etc...

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are very confusing and can be very dangerous. I ride my bike on the sidewalk on Summer Street because I don’t think bikes, buses and 18 wheel container trucks should be in the same lane. Somebody is going to get killed here, especially at the intersections, and the City will be liable.

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I figured someone got badly hurt because they wouldn't block traffic during rush hour for anything less.

I crossed Centre at that exact spot to go get groceries and the cops had the whole street blocked off for their investigation, enabling me to cross safely for a change. Upon my return, about 5:30, cops had left and there wasn't any traffic backed up. But I tried to cross and the only car there didn't want to stop for me when I was halfway across in the crosswalk. At least it's less challenging to deal with 3 lanes of these idiots instead of 4.

I can also confirm that the bicycle lanes remain mostly blocked unless they are in the areas where nobody normally parks. They probably will remain that way unless physical barriers are installed since West Rox is pretty free of any traffic enforcement activity.

Chalk one up in the W column for the anti-pedestrian NIMBYs. People are still getting hurt.

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Watching traffic at intersections such as Washington and Williams or any lighted intersection on Centre and South Streets proves that many, many drivers ignore yellow lights. Worse running red light seems to be increasing.

It will not require that a majority of drivers stop following the rules of the road before no rules become the norm. At what point will there be enough maiming and deaths to stop the devolution of driving to a free for all?

One solution is to put police at intersections where drivers frequently choose to ignore road rules. Ticket every one of them. Each and every one. The money generated by tickets in just one hour will pay for the (extortions) of overtime and detail 4 hour minimums.

At least that can make worthwhile the wage corruption of 4 hour minimums for police overtime when they are required in court to testify that drivers ticketed were witnessed as ticketing.

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There is no formula where we can afford enough officers to do this analog. It is a residential business district, not a highway. Drivers have no right to go faster than 25 miles per hour. I believe that the complainers are not following the speed limit. Bringing traffic speed into compliance is not congestion.

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Can confirm that the Williams/Washiungton intersection is a mess. I got hit by a car making a left while crossing the street on Williams going towards English High. I was in the crosswalk and had the walk signal. The driver got out and threatened me. That was fun.

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I can't understand how anyone could blame this on the new bike lanes.

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and you work backward from there

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The rate of pedestrian injury and death seems unchanged.

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as the redesign work isn't half way done yet and for all the reasons explained in the thread.

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… since bike lanes have been completed in general.

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yes

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That's because in the vicinity of intersections, dedicated bicycle lanes are underutilized and therefore a waste of precious space. Bicycle lanes should end 20' from the corner, the same way parking is not allowed within 20' of an intersection.

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… intersections where drivers are focused on how they can run a red light or make a turn is very dangerous.
The green bike stopping area in front of the lane at the front of intersections has been a bonus for pedestrians too because it requires drivers to stop even further back from the crosswalk.

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Next thing you know there'll be out of control basketball hoops in West Roxbury forcing pedestrians into the streets.

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… for the update.

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The drivers are just terrible and pay attention nothing. I was in the roche bros parking lot and they are too selfish to care about pedestrians.

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