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Dueling protests over the future of Centre Street in West Roxbury

Man with a sign against the Centre Street road diet and Michelle Wu and a Don't Tread on Me flag

People for and against the city's plans to dramatically change the configuration of Centre Street in West Roxbury both got a chance to make their feelings known during a hot and humid rush hour.

At the Holy Name rotary, people opposed to the idea held their "Save Centre Street" signs where rush-hour motorists could ponder their meaning as they sat in traffic trying to get through the rotary.

Opponents say the "road diet" plan to restrict motor-vehicle travel to just one lane in each direction - with a third, middle lane for turns and for emergency vehicles - would destroy the neighborhood, which some say is just what people outside the neighborhood want. They say the answer is more traffic signals and better police enforcement.

Couple holding signs against changes on Centre Street

At the same time, down near the post office, supporters of the proposal gathered for a walk up Centre Street towards the library and then back down Centre to Manthorne Road - about a block from the rotary - from where they returned to their starting point.

Pro road diet walkers cross by the BPL branch

As BPD officers in cruisers - and one on foot - ran interference for them, the walkers made a point of crossing at key intersections. They argue that too many people have died or been injured on what has become a sort of mini-highway with motorists hellbent on speed no matter how many pedestrians might be trying to cross in a crosswalk.

In fact, when lead walkers got a Walk signal at Manthorne Road and people began to cross the street, a motorist on Centre heading towards Lagrange ran the light - despite the presence of a cop standing right there and more in cruisers stopped in the middle of the street - narrowly missing taking out the lead walkers.

Pro road diet walkers cross by the Theodore Parker Church
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Comments

"They're trying to kill me," Yossarian told him calmly.

In fact, when lead walkers got a Walk signal at Manthorne Road and people began to cross the street, a motorist on Centre heading towards Lagrange ran the light - despite the presence of a cop standing right there and more in cruisers stopped in the middle of the street - ran the red light, narrowly missing taking out the lead walkers.

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No, never mind. I already know the answer.

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Aren't the officers detailed there for safety? Traffic control is usually the biggest safety issue at protests. There aren't always fistfights.

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Would very much like to know this as well, seems like an important point for the article to cover. Whether the cops pulled the dude over or didn't.

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After making sure the pedestrians had stopped, the cop let him through.

No clue why, but I'm going to guess he decided that since his job was to ensure the walkers could keep, well, walking, better to just let the guy go then jam everything up by forcing him to stop (since that would have effectively blocked Centre towards Lagrange completely and there were all these people in the march waiting to cross).

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What does that say about the use of police for traffic details? They're supposed to be there in case there's a crime or issue in the general area, but I guess that doesn't apply in WRox?

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If you think it's a safe road, just go stand at an intersection for three light cycles and it's guaranteed someone will blow the light. I have seen cop cars running the light regularly. If cops did their job we would not need a road diet. But whatever, some morons broke some store windows in Minneapolis three years ago so cops violate the oath they took...so sad....

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If you look at Street View for Centre St and Manthorne Rd there are in fact two different cars running the red light: https://goo.gl/maps/UQrzuQ32E2F5hfPy6

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Awesome catch!

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But my guess is that they actually stopped, but too far past the line. If you move around on the street view, you'll see that the Toyota is further back in the earlier frame, when the light is yellow, but that the Honda is in the same spot that it is for the red. My guess is that the Honda was waiting to turn left, but the light changed, then the Toyota pulled up next to the Honda after it turned red.

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Still a traffic violation, still makes it more dangerous for pedestrians to cross by blocking sight lines. Ever seen a “don’t block the box sign” this is blocking the box.

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Dear Henry 2.0

There's a simple test many schools of thought use for discerning objective observation from subjective interpretation:

Could a camera capture this situation?

Here we have visual evidence of two vehicles beyond the stop line when the light is red. Period. There's no ambiguity here.

Centre Street is a deathtrap.

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This is the honda when the light is yellow (like 20 feet away from the line), and you can see the toyota about to change lanes to get past the honda.

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.2872285,-71.1501381,3a,54.4y,84.91h,68.97t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sevmpSlgaNOAWA87vomWf1w!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu

Here is once it turned red. The toyota never stopped.
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.2871779,-71.1495794,3a,75y,299.77h,61t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sfyqC3D2t3dl5eb2Gr9pOHg!2e0!7i16384!8i8192?entry=ttu

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Drivers attempting to get thru the rotary, just like any typical day, were howling with laughter at the small showing of the “Save Centre St.” crew and their angry faces.

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The pictures tell you all you need to know. One set of people is happy, with family. A community. The other set of people…well…

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Not all of us are against safe streets.

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You might not be but when you're sporting "Don't Tread on Me" crap that's all you need to know about these white folks (yes, I'm white too but I can still spot a racist!).

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Gadsden flag, check. Harley shirt, check. Facial expression that says he could use a skosh more dietary fiber: check.

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The rattlesnake is native to the Americas. It is a good symbol for the revolutionary war, but apparently the KKK adopted it after the Civil War, which is too bad. Pepe was harmless until racists took him over.

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swastikas.

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It is unacceptable that drivers routinely do 53 mph on Centre St.

And I've yet to see anyone stopped for running a red light, anywhere in Boston.

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And I've yet to see anyone stopped for running a red light, anywhere in Boston.

wth? are you sauron?

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...we counted how many cars ran the red light.

1 point for a single car running the light
3 points for two or more cars
5 points for any number of cars, when there's a cop also at the intersection who does nothing.

You'd be amazed how many 5 pointers we've seen.

IMO speeding isn't the biggest issue in Boston driving - it's the people who simply do not feel that red lights apply to them, or that if it's orange they should gun it so they don't have to wait.

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Are there orange lights in Westie?

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The best way to stop someone driving 53 miles an hour is with a house.

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Anybody with a Gadsden flag immediately gets put on the "pay no mind" list. They're not sending their best, folks!

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They’re sending people who are stuck in the past and they’re bringing those problems with us. They are people who can no longer hack it in the big city.

And some, I assume, are good people.

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They’re sending people who are stuck in the past and they’re bringing those problems with us. They are people who can no longer hack it in the big city.

...those ARE their best.

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"don't [tire] tread on me" is what pedestrians and cyclists are saying here.

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I'd guess they are, which is further reason to ignore them.

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This should have been done years ago. And it would have been if Marty Walsh and Matt O’Malley didn’t cower in the face of complete yahoos screaming at them. O’Malley in particular made a big show about supporting the road diet, met with planners, etc but then backed off after one very hostile meeting. Michelle Wu is right as a moral matter here and these showings of support and unserious opposition indicate she has the politics right too. Just get it done and over with.

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Marty never had protesters outside his house, so when they showed up to a meeting about a safer road, he paid them some mind.

But since they've spent the past two years yelling outside Michelle's house every morning, she knows to ignore them (I mean, even if they hadn't, she probably would, but still).

They showed their true colors (and as we can see in these photo, that color is pasty white). Shouldn't these dinguses be off protesting outside an abortion clinic or something?

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How is

“They showed their true colors (and as we can see in these photo, that color is pasty white)”
Tolerated as reasonable basis for criticism?

Would this be tolerated if it said true colors were “darkest black”? Of course not. West Roxbury, like most of the state. Is largely white. Get over it.
And people on both sides of the protest apparently were too. I am so sick of race being used as a +/- factor in arguments where actual logical disagreements exist.

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Plenty of people claimed to hate Marty, but they wouldn't dare show up at his house.

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I didn't know about this but it really doesn't compare.

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Not to nitpick, but Walsh definitely had protestors at his house from time to time, including some instances at 4am with bullhorns. He in no way received the same type of hateful ridiculousness that Wu has received, but he and his neighbors did get a taste of it.

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I didn't know Harley-Davidson made a onesie.

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I can just imagine the protests if Boston put in more traffic signals and stepped up enforcement.

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This is good coverage that really shows the sides of this issue. The local “don’t tread on me” crazies on one side and on the other are people whose claims are proven out by reality every day. Time to move on from this manufactured debate and get to work. According to the only polls on this available 75% of Bostonians support Adding protected bike lanes even if it takes away parking, and this proposal doesn’t take away parking. It also leaves the road capacity comparable by reducing lane weaving and preserving a middle turn lane. Just like with climate change we cannot let a few reactionaries who are crazy or lying prevent us from taking action that all evidence shows us will save lives.

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Not my circus, not my monkeys.

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The photo of the cop texting while the protesters risk getting hit by motor vehicles plays out all over the city on traffic details.

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There were cops specifically assigned to protecting both sets of protesters. And there were a couple cops, including that guy, just standing in front of the E5 station (that blue-gray building behind him). I wouldn't read too much into him looking at his phone.

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For those precious little snowflakes who think they are too good to have been the last car that DIDN’T get through before the light turns red and go anyways.

Since they are never ticketed I figure dishing out $500 comprehensive claims is the next best form of punishment. Please think twice before running a red light, thank you.

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Homeless people all over Mass and Cass, youth violence is rampant, schools are nonperforming, the City Council has crashed and burning and the Mayor doesn’t do nothing on these issues. But she has time to push her bike lane agenda citywide.

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Believe it or not, municipal government in Boston has separate, full-time departments, each dedicated to specific tasks, such as schools, policing, housing and, yes, transportation. So it's possible for the city to do work on more than one thing at a time.

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A city can and should address multiple issues as a time. This is what is happening.

This comment is pure whataboutism and a tool to redirect the conversation.

I am calling it out as so.

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I'd love to know what you think she should be doing to manage the behavior of the city council, using the powers enumerated to her by the city.

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...the anti diet crowd is largely older, whiter, and has lived there a long time? Where as the pro crowd is much more diverse, often families, and people that have seen the world beyond West Roxbury?

I would be interested to know what they mean by "destroy the neighborhood"?

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.

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Not being a West Roxbury resident and all, so I don't know if they're pulling out the same arguments as in 2019, but back then, they were arguing that outside special interests, in particular, the evil bicycle lobby, just wanted to stomp on God's own country.

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for the anti crowd

Why don't you get Donald Trump to come to West Roxbury so you can take turns blowing him at the rotary

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That was a visual I didn't need today.

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