Hey, there! Log in / Register

City will study other possible ways to keep pedestrians from getting mowed down on West Roxbury's Centre Street besides reducing lanes

Morris with part of his group's proposal

Morris explains his group's ideas to make Centre Street safer.

The Boston Transportation Department has halted design work on a proposal to reduce Centre Street from the Holy Name Rotary to Spring Street in West Roxbury from four lanes to two and add pedestrian islands, bike lanes and new turn lanes so that it can study an alternative plan from a newly formed neighborhood group to keep four lanes but add pedestrian crossing lights at some intersections, re-stripe cross walks and step up police enforcement of traffic laws.

Interim BTD Commissioner Gregory Rooney told a packed meeting of the West Roxbury Safety Association at the Irish Social Club tonight the department should never have simply rolled out the proposed "road diet" plan at a June meeting without additional meetings with local residents and business owners. He said he now expects BTD to release a new proposal, or proposals, in January.

Residents who have been calling for increased enforcement are about to get a feel for that, good and hard. New E-5 Capt. Darrin Greeley, himself a West Roxbury resident, told the group he plans a traffic-safety crackdown along Centre Street - starting with all the double-parking residents and Uber Eats drivers who now infest the westbound side of Centre as they pick up food at the take-out places clustered along Manthorne Road. He said he knows only too well what happens between the Continental and Christo's from personal experience, because that was his route home from his previous job as a detective in the BPD homicide unit.

Greeley said he also plans to step up "Operation Crosswalk," in which officers will pull over drivers who blow through intersections without stopping for pedestrians there - and that he will bring in additional resources if necessary to get miscreants under control. He added, however, that, at least initially, most people will likely get warnings, rather than tickets. "We want to educate people," he said. "We don't want to fine people."

Steve Morris, who helped form the safety association, said the group agrees with proponents of the road-diet plan that the end goal is to make Centre Street safer, but that members felt the road-diet plan would only force drivers onto side streets. And citing what they said were stats from other cities, members said the plan would actually lead to increased pedestrian and bicyclist deaths, that the plan would put residents of the neighborhood's seven nursing homes at risk because it would slow first responders and that it would drive businesses out of the neighborhood. And besides, hardly anybody rides bicycles on Centre Street, they said.

Morris and other members conducted "audits" of all the intersections along Centre from the rotary to Spring Street and while he acknowledged they were not traffic engineers, he said they had something valuable - common sense. And that common sense led them to believe that the answer to greater pedestrian safety was to install pedestrian-crossing traffic signals that would only activate when a pedestrian pressed a button at certain intersections. such as at Hastings Street, where Marilyn Wentworth died in February and another pedestrian suffered a traumatic brain injury when it by a car a few years ago.

The group also called for replacement of the brick crosswalks Tom Menino was enamored of with more traditional and easier to spot striped crosswalks - something BTD crews recently have begun doing. And despite their disdain for the members of an alleged "bicycle lobby," they said they support signs along the road alerting drivers that they have to share the lane closest to the curb with bicyclists.

Although the group's founders spoke calmly and said they wanted to engage in dialog with both BTD and road-diet supporters, once they turned the room's microphones over to the audience, the anger spilled out towards bicyclists, people not from West Roxbury and the federal government, all of whom they accused of foisting the road-diet idea on West Roxbury for reasons that some said were quite sinister indeed.

The very first resident to get a mic said the city doesn't give a damn about safety and that the road diet is part of a plot to reduce Boston's carbon footprint. He accused the city of installing Blue Bikes stations along Centre Street - and even down by the Star Market on Spring Street - as part of this plot.

To applause, he said it's time to license and fine bicyclists who "cut cars off, they drive down the sidewalk and they hit people."

He was followed by the owner of a Centre Street business who said the road diet would drive her out of business. Besides, she yelled, "This isn't Amsterdam!"

Another resident said bike lanes on Washington Street in Roslindale and Beacon Street downtown have turned those roads into gridlocked hellscapes.

City Councilor Matt O'Malley (West Roxbury, Jamaica Plain), was booed when he said there are parts of the road-diet proposal he thinks are good, but that he wants to hear other proposals, too. "You're tap dancing, Matt!" one resident jumped up to yell at him. The resident then accused O'Malley of acting like a socialist whenever he's in the Jamaica Plain end of the district.

Nobody mentioned that the road-diet idea sprang from a study by a civil-engineering team at Northeastern University about Centre Street two years ago - which started when a graduate student from West Roxbury complained to her professor about Centre Street safety - and which basically gathered dust on a shelf somewhere until a February meeting at the Elks Club at which Wentworth's husband and son pleaded for the city to do something so that nobody would ever again have to go through what they did.

A Roslindale resident, who first joked he wasn't sure if he would make it out of the room alive, was, in fact, booed into sitting down when he explained how he thought the road diet would improve safety by forcing motorists to slow down and how the ultimate answer was to get more people onto public transit.

A West Roxbury resident essentially told bicyclists they can just shut up until they start paying taxes for roads. After asking car owners to raise their hands, he said, "These are our roads!"

One West Roxbury resident did rise to support the road-diet proposal, saying he owns both a car and a bicycle and that he and his wife both "drive all over the place." He said his top concern are crashes in which one driver stops for a pedestrian and a second one then plows into the person.

He tried to rebuke the notion of some "Bicycle Lobby" sinisterly pulling strings to destroy West Roxbury.

"We're people just advocating for safety," he said. "I"m a dad, a brother, a husband and a son, I'm not just a [bicyclist]."

Morris, who had earlier called the road diet "a stupid idea," said his group's plans would reduce such crashes through better sight lines - in part by having police deal with the issue of double parkers. And he said he and other founders felt "bushwacked" at the July meeting, when he said it seemed like outside bicyclists and other non-local agitators had had a series of secret meetings to prepare.

One mother of two young children, who live up at Lagrange and Keith streets, said she wasn't even sure what the fuss was about - she walks up and down Centre with her kids in a double-wide stroller and finds it "extremely safe." But if people don't agree, "why can't we put it on a ballot?" she asked.

Neighborhoods: 
Topics: 
Ad:

Comments

I’m glad that the city is finally looking into creating some sort of agency to enforce traffic laws! Seems like a grand idea!

up
30

Sounds likes it's actually an agency to just warn people about the law.

up
19

Perhaps it's like the hierarchy of angels. At the bottom are the Warning Angels. Just above them are the Stern Reprimand Angels, and above them the Dire Threat Angels. At last. at the top, are the Smiting Angels. However there's only one Smiting Angel at present, and he's on strike due to poor working conditions.

I heard it was stacked with anti-road diet and nimbys who shouted down the few brave souls who came to fight for change. The monty hall approach of the goofy kid bringing the mike to ONLY people who were against the road diet seemed a bit unfair is what I also heard. He purposely refused to let pro-road diet people talk and sneered at a woman who asked why she couldn't speak? This new crowd just formed in the last two weeks.Where were they 5 years ago? 1 year ago? this spring? Nowhere to be found until a good common sense appraoch to save lives was floated out to a community that supported the road diet with 80% of the residents of west roxbury

up
17

What West Roxbury needs now, more than ever, is more people to move here from elsewhere to tell the people who’ve lived here for over fifty years what we need.

What was the population of West Roxbury 50 years ago? we know it was declining and kept going down until 2000.

In 1950 Boston had 800,000 people. At this peak. population, Centre St had 2 car lanes and 2 street car lanes. The economy was booming along on Centre street despite the fact that most adults didn’t have a car.

The population in the city is climbing again. All the people that grew up in West Roxbury don’t understand what that looks like. It is false to believe that the current configuration of Center Street is natural. This is more about people forgetting history rather than New people trying to change the neighborhood.

We also didn’t have a dangerous natural gas line running through the neighborhood either. We had a fire chief too.

Is that a response?

I'm someone who moved into the area recently and part of the problem is that these meetings are often held at times that are difficult for working people and in spaces that don't exactly feel like neutral territory, and communicated really poorly by the city via ways like email, Facebook, etc. that newer to the neighborhood folks are more likely to be connected to.

I really have nothing against BPD, but I’m going to assume that the fact that most current traffic laws aren’t monitored and enforced by constant officer vigilance is because parking even one policeman at an intersection all day is not a feasible use of resources. I have little faith, based on current evidence, that this would be anything more than a token effort for a little while.

And, as someone who uses the pedestrian signal on Washington near Nick’s, I have little faith that that would drastically increase safety, given that it often feels like a game of chicken to use it.

up
75

Don’t worry. If a driver speeds through the crosswalk and runs you over they will get a stern warning from the Boston Police. What heroes!

up
79

"We don't want to fine people."

Such a joke, they're even announcing that they won't be writing tickets. What incentive does anyone have to drive safely if the city/police came out and stated that there won't be any repercussions.

up
33

about stopping for people who enter crosswalks is ridiculous.

In order to get a driver's license, theoretically, someone needs to pass both a written test and a road test. Seems like I learned about this decades ago. Why do people need to be "educated" about this?

The only way people will stop careless driving habits is if you hit them directly in the pocketbook or wallet. Only then, unfortunately, will you see their habits change. A few weeks of police issuing warnings, and then disappearing, is disingenuous at best.

up
28

What an absolute embarrassment. All of this.

up
149

These drivers are insane and dangerous. They should have their licenses terminated because they clearly are nuts and have no interest in following laws or acting in a safe and rational way.

up
41

Could start with making our driving tests more than just four right turns. If our driving tests were just reasonably difficult half the drivers would be gone.

up
39

I took an interstate bus a while back. I was actually shocked at how many drivers out there are playing with their phones while zipping along at 70. I've noticed when you see someone admiring their crotch, well, that's distracted.
I have no idea how many of the Center St. accidents were caused by being distracted, but the distracted driving law should help.

One thing I've noticed in this discussion is the 'all or none' attitude by some people. Maybe extra pedestrian lights at certain crosswalks will help quite a bit. People will stop for a pedestrian cross light. It's definitely worth a shot.

up
10

Distracted drivers are definitely an issue, but I think the biggest problem on Centre Street is the "Multiple threat pedestrian crash." Basically when the car in the outer lane (Car A) stops to let a pedestrian cross, but the car in the inner lane (Car B) can't see the pedestrian around Car A, so Car B zooms through the crosswalk. I run into this scenario multiple times every week while crossing Centre Street. It literally almost happened to my wife and me this morning (Car B ended up jamming on the brakes at the last second this time).

up
35

This is about common sense. You see in one lane there is a car stopped in front of a cross walk, you don’t get to play dumb and act like there is no way of knowing there might be a pedestrian there.

Boston has a reputation of horrible drivers and you can see from these attitudes that these entitlement issues and disinterest in the safety of others are deep rooted. Drivers won’t even do the bare minimum of using their signals or stopping at cross walks.

Distracted drivers, whether they're intoxicated, or texting/talking on their cellphone, are a real menace, and need to be taken off the road.

I'll also add that reducing the rotary traffic pattern in question from four lanes to two lanes is going to make an already-bad situation worse, in so far as traffic jams, especially at rush-hour(s) go.

I live in West Roxbury, and this right wing if you don't drive everywhere your a commie BS is why I am leaving. The culture of White Roxbury is like being back in Ohio. The dishonest group that calls themselves the safety committee is jus the anti bike/pedestrian committee, why not be honest and call themselves the committee for drivers? So they go around with anecdotal evidence and "common sense" which they say is more important than facts (sounds like Trump) and conclude......that the thing they were against (bike lanes and slowing down the road, are bad. Surprise!

up
137

Who moves into a place that is filled with a certain type of people who live their lives a certain way, then complain about how the place is filled with those people who are acting the way they've always acted?
Did you not know anything about West Roxbury before you loved there?

up
10

Someone who can't afford a room in Somerville or Medford any more now that barnie scumbags like me have filled it all up.

“We love this neighborhood, that’s why we want to change it!”

This road changed from 2 lanes with a street car to 4 lanes of dangerous car traffic. We need to change it back to keep pedestrians safe.

I did like the comment from the car lobby of "these roads are ours". No, the roads are owned by everyone. Time to learn to share.

up
61

These people show profound ignorance and stupidity claiming they alone own the roads. It’s not just about public vs private.

How can they truly think the pittance they pay in registration and excise tax covers the building, maintenance, so-called policing, and cleaning of roads? Hell, even the handful of toll roads outlaw use for anyone not behind the wheel (e.g bicycles and horses). So even if somehow that covered the cost of those roads, drivers are the sole beneficiaries. We all pay for roads, just like we all pay for public schooling. But you don’t hear the childless raging about that and imagining conspiracies.

The hate lobbied by drivers against cyclists is just not just irrational, it’s insane whether it be on the road or apparently even in “civil” society. Is Car Supremacist a concept? If not, it oughta be.

wow - so if you oppose the "road diet" you are a right winger? cool cool

And one SHOULD be surprised that a poster is allowed to use racial terms like "White Roxbury" but you know...UHUB...so its cool I guess.

Sad

up
14

I understand if you don't want to hang around a horribly racist website like UHub anymore.

wow - so if you oppose the "road diet" you are a right winger? cool cool

Obviously not everybody opposed is a right winger but someone at this meeting literally called O'Malley a socialist for supporting the road diet. That was not a one-off crazy doing that. The rest of the meeting was pretty unhinged about some evil outside bike lobby and whatever else even if the presenters tried to act like they wanted civility. Same thing happened at the prior meeting at Holy Name. Meanwhile in the Chronicles of WR facebook group it's an absolute feeding frenzy of paranoia about the federal government forcing its climate change will on West Roxbury (have people seen who is currently running the federal government as an aside) and all others kinds of insanity. You can't deny this thing is off the rails and being fed by a lot of right wing paranoia from within the community.

up
19

Hahaha... car owners calling others "socialists."

DON"T TAKE AWAY MAH FREE PAHKIN!!!" "THESE ARE MAH STREETS." " NO GAS TAX HIKES - WE DON"T WANT TO PAY!"

Good riddance. You probably were planning on leaving anyway--most transplants do because West Roxbury, for them, is merely a place of convenience and nothing more. Lifelong residents have watched, over the years, the arriviste crowd come to town, shout lots of opinions about how things should be, then move to Portland, Chicago, or wherever else their namby-pamby New Economy career takes them.

Time to see which residents of West Roxbury know how to parallel park, when to signal a lane shift, and whether they’re allowed to park on a sidewalk (even if they own a pickup truck).

up
36

Not limited to W Rox residents, and not applied indiscriminately, but sentencing drivers who run lights or don't stop for pedestrians to a repeat driving test might make people reconsider their behavior more than just fines do.

Didn’t E-5 get a new Captain several months ago? What happened to her?

I talked to Greeley after the meeting and he said Kozminski has been transferred to homicide, and he vice versa

have been getting rotated around. The Commish must have something in mind.

Luckily, bicyclists and pedestrians and transit users and everyone else pays taxes for roads so no worries, we can all keep yelling.

up
51

Another great job by Mike Loconto. 0-2 in picking platform issues that he can run on in his future failed bid for public office.

I'm not sure that Michael Loconto has weighed in on this issue.

Pretty creepy call out of a person not even mentioned in the story....

up
14

Crossing Centre Street is like playing a real life game of Frogger. It's not acceptable for pedestrians to die every few years. This isn't some clandestine plan by Huffy and Schwinn to install bike lanes, you fucking psychos. Anybody opposing this plan has blood on their hands.

up
106

Since the anti-safety crowd thinks a death every so often is acceptable, I wish they'd volunteer themselves or their friends to be the sacrificial death.

up
37

It's not just the "anti-safety crowd" who thinks low number of deaths is acceptable. The new captain of E-5 (WRox) Darren Greeley apparently said this himself at the meeting.

Taken from the West Roxbury Chronicles II FB page:

"everyone can agree, improvements need to be made to Centre street but like the captain of E-5 said, there were 3 serious pedestrian accidents and one fatal pedestrian accident. So only 4 critical pedestrian accidents in Roslindale and West Roxbury? Compared to the rest of the city that is quite low"

Pretty callous attitude from the BPD, if you ask me.

up
32

I was pretty appalled at the comment about WR having fewer pedestrian deaths. Nothing to see here, folks. Only two human beings who led real, full lives and who will be missed by family and friends have met their deaths. We could've had more!

Callous is the exact right way to describe everyone in the "safety association" and those who spoke last night.

"How many serious pedestrian accidents will it take before BPD gets serious about this?"

"Cars driving around stopped cars at crosswalks" is a huge problem everywhere. Have had deaths on Tremont street that way. (Same road diet conversation we're having now). Everyone is driving too fast and too distracted.

up
32

I’m embarrassed to call West Roxbury home. People tell you BPS is going to make you run for the suburbs. Please, it’s imperfect but we love our kid’s school. But I’m ashamed to share a zip code with these degenerates, and disgusted the city would cower to people riled up by lies. I’m done with every business that participated in this clown show.

up
18

Never change

up
12

So Centre street will have enhanced enforcement for a month a few weeks and then everything goes back to normal. Yep re stripe those crosswalks people zip through now and ignore. Oh flashing lights that will stop them since they stop for traffic lights now. How will any of this stop speeding and reckless driving? Also it is not about the bike lane people. Stop it. I sincerely hope no one else is killed while BPD drags its feet.

up
42

Like Forest Hills.

Traffic enforcement at Forrest Hills would improve quality of life for all manner of commuters - bus, bike, pedestrian, car. Yet because some WR dipshits are throwing a tantrum, we'll get enforcement outside of Tres Amigos for a month and that's it. I'll never understand why the BPD and City don't think it's worth trying to enforce basic laws while still dropping everything to protect Nazis like they are the fucking pope or something.

up
23

Or hyde park ave or washington street.

A month ago when the story was about teardowns we were yuppie's who building "McMansions". Now we're crusty old white people who will never change. Can you people make up your mind?

Drivers in West Roxbury want increased safety too, but nothing was being done before to enforce laws for cars, bikes, or pedestrians. By all means, ticket speeders, distracted drivers, double parkers, and Especially anyone who runs through a crosswalk. But can we also cut down on jaywalking, bikers who want to be cars when there's a green light and pedestrians when there's a walk signal, and businesses that have delivery trucks blocking a full lane on Centre Street? Putting up flashing lights at crosswalks would be extremely helpful. It would also be nice to get some of those bike signals like they have in Cambridge, so drivers can be aware when taking a right turn that bikes may be coming. Speed humps could also help. Has anyone studied what reducing to a single lane would do to traffic?

But can we also cut down on ... bikers who want to be cars when there's a green light and pedestrians when there's a walk signal ...

Don't you think bikes have the same rights as cars when there;s a green light, that pedestrians have the right of way at a walk light, or are you saying something else? I don't understand why you'd want to "cut down" on those things.

There was a whole study done a few years ago by actual people that know about this stuff...which is why the road diet was proposed.

up
11

All the comments from people outside of Westie.

Yup we’re all racist, criminals for not wanting this crap.

Enjoy your day you miserable MF.

up
10

I've owned a house here for a decade. I send my kid to school here. I shop local businesses. And I think everyone involved in the anti-road diet jihad is an absolute loon.

up
22

Two double-parkers on the first few blocks of Centre: one car double-parked, just behind an empty space, with his driver's door open into traffic; a delivery truck with the lights flashing.

And another delivery truck, parked with his right wheels up on the sidewalk at the "top" of a t-intersection.

That's in the blocks between Corey and Mt. Vernon during the commute immediately following the announcement of the delay on the road diet.

BTD can't get E-5 to do enforcement for at least twenty-four hours, nevermind for the additional months or years it will take to come up with a fallback plan.

It's good to see this group lay it bare that they are a bunch of Trump-esque culture warriors that hate anything they perceive to be liberalism. Hence the obsessive focus on bicycles when bikes are a secondary part of this at most. I don't expect anything less from people like this in truth. I do expect more from our supposedly progressive elected officials like Marty Walsh who should not in any way listen to these people who will never vote for him anyway.

up
17

to realize that my neighborhood is full of people who hear "safer traffic pattern" and somehow translate it into "vast socialist conspiracy coming to destroy my way of life."

up
82

Whose main take away from the Kavanaugh hearings is that if you're a white middle aged guy, you can angrily demand that no-one do anything you don't like.

Fuck West Roxbury. I'm going to have to try to figure out which businesses were against this so I can avoid going to them.

up
49

It's basically all of them.

up
10

I am 100% certain all of them were angrily demanding that no one do anything they don't like WELL before the Kavanaugh hearings. He certainly didn't invent the Aggrieved White Man strategy.

up
10

So in your mind, being anti-road diet is equal to being Pro Kavanaugh....and inherently evil if white. You seem like an open-minded, fair person.

uh, oh, I'm sure the businesses on Centre Street are super concerned that Parkwhine will be putting them on blast with his cancel culture outlook and super-woke boycott.

You should seek help for your anger, racism, and bigoted worldview.

Good luck fella!

This comment, "The very first resident to get a mic said the city doesn't give a damn about safety and that the road diet is part of a plot to reduce Boston's carbon footprint." really got to me. I'm realizing more & more how twisted some of my neighbors' logic is. They are against reducing Boston's carbon footprint too? Yikes.

I still don't know if I would be 100% in favor of the "road diet," but this type of nonsense makes me want to go support it.

add pedestrian crossing lights at some intersections, re-stripe cross walks and step up police enforcement of traffic laws.

In other words, the plan is to do what should have been done from the start, in every neighborhood in every city of the Commonwealth.

Good luck with that. If Massholes actually wanted crossing lights, striped crosswalks and police enforcement of traffic laws, they would have had them for the last fifty years.

up
18

They'll just try out what we've got on Centre between Weld St and Murray Circle, because that's such a famously safe area to cross the street.

"hardly anybody rides bicycles on Centre Street, they said."

I know I don't because I don't want to die. West Roxbury is a raceway with no enforcement. So my only choice to get to the gym is to drive. It's ridiculous how the car jerks make our lives both more dangerous and less healthy while making sure there is no way to curb carbon emissions and pollution.

And the city is knuckling under because of the screamers.

up
14

I would love to ride my bike to the Y or Roche Brothers or to grab some dinner, but I don't feel safe doing it. So it sits in my garage. The people arguing that we don't need bike lanes, because nobody rides their bikes in Westie need to unpack that a little bit and figure out why people don't ride their bikes. My guess is we aren't the only two people who feel this way. "If you build it, [they] will come."

Even someone dying is not enough for Meek Marty to reject toxic car culture. Safety should not be subject to the whims of the angry few who attend public meetings.

up
35

This may be the funniest comment/terms in the entire thread.

You think cars stopped being toxic when they stopped adding lead to the fuel? They didn't. And beyond a strictly chemical definition of toxic, the entire reason for this discussion is that the car culture beloved by the "Safety Committee" is literally killing people.

After asking car owners to raise their hands, he said, "These are our roads!"

And did you ask for pedestrians to raise their hands? What roads do they get?

up
42

Those flashing yellow lights look real pretty as cars fly through them on Cambridge St in Allston. If it's a straightaway, most drivers will only stop at a stop sign, red light, or actual physical impediment, regardless of right of way.

The stores need customers and most of them arrive by car, thus parking is key. I get that. The anti-diet folks got all worked up about how the road diet would drive businesses out of the neighborhood. Every one of those double-parkers were running in to do business in one of the stores. Now (well for a couple weeks anyway) the cops will be making it tough to double park and it will discourage people from coming to those Centre Street businesses. Nice job!

up
22

I'll go to a mall with a big parking lot so I can walk fifteen times as far as I would have if I found a space!

You can't take mah freeeedumb!

"Most of them arrive by car" is a common, unverified refrain.

up
19

specifically in WR, the shopping 'district' is fairly stretched out with a few zones. So from say Porter Cafe by Holy Name down to the Irish Social Club I'd guess is a 10-15 minute walk. That's much different than JP or Roslindale where the stores and restaurants are more densely clustered. On top of that, as there are fewer apts overall and near Centre St, the number of people living in walking distance to those stores is also a bit lower than Rosi or JP (IMO, feel free to show me contrary data).

Anecdotally when I want something from Himalaya or Recaro for example, I'm driving up there. If it was either taking the bus (probably 40 minutes round trip accounting for waiting, stops, etc...) or riding my bike or not going, honestly, I'm not going. I'll just opt to go to a place in the square. I don't think that mindset is an outlier. Now if you want to make the case that I shouldn't be driving up there and should only be walking into the square, I get it! Honestly, I probably should. However, most of us are probably guilty of sometimes doing the thing which is convenient and appealing vs. toeing a hardline of virtuous living.

Team road diet, but I think it's simply not true that WR businesses could survive on foot traffic.

Here's another one to consider - Roslindale is very walkable and that's awesome but you're fooling yourself if you think the thriving restaurants aren't also dependent on folks driving here from places like Brookline, Dedham, WR, JP, etc...

Edit: to sum up, I think a place like WR needs to be viewed as more multi-modal in terms of transit for now (say 10-20 years) until there's more density and an Orange Line on the Needham tracks. Until then, cars are part of the mix, along with bikes, buses, walking, etc... and to ignore that is idealistic but unhelpful.

Here's the thing: No one is saying that anyone needs to change how they currently get to the businesses on Centre St. The people who drive can still continue to drive. A few parking spaces are being eliminated, but overall there is still PLENTY of parking available. However, a road diet will allow people to safely walk and bike to the businesses should they choose to do so. But even if not a single person switches from driving, the road diet will still work as planned. The street will be safer for everyone, and everyone can still get where they need to go.

up
33

I was responding the comment questioning whether or not most of the WR business district customers drive or walk. I think it's more car than walk for a variety of reasons.

Couldn't have been clearer that I'm in favor of the road diet but hey, you got your talking points out so good on you.

I was mainly replying to your comment "Team road diet, but I think it's simply not true that WR businesses could survive on foot traffic." No one is claiming that the businesses need to or should survive on foot traffic.

""Most of them arrive by car" is a common, unverified refrain."

I read that as someone questioning if cars were really the dominant way for shoppers to get to WR stores and restaurants and I'd say they pretty much are.

...You might be surprised. Collect some data before repeating an off-said, rarely verified claim.

Evidence was everyone against the diet bitching that they don’t be able to park to do an errand. And business owners saying the same.

I think they should change The length of Centre to be paid meters. Those damn bikers want everything for free!! Not us car owners tho!!

... were made more pedestrian friendly, sales actually went up.
Just like when they banned smoking in restaurants in MA. Some owners objected saying they would lose income. Yet after the ban restaurants showed a 15% increase in customers.

up
18

Change is the real threat.

West Roxbury where the deep ignorance never changes. The fact that the city caved (yet again) to the loud, uniformed mouths of West Roxbury is pathetic.

The fact that these asshats yelling "these are our roads" is pretty sad when they think car owners are the only ones to pay taxes. Obviously they have conveniently forgotten their measly excise tax pays for nothing. Time to raise the gas tax!

To the women yelling "this isn't' Amsterdam" she should do some research of why Amsterdam/Netherlands works and why it happened. She should also see the booming businesses on every corner in every neighborhood. The stupidity, short-shortsightedness, and "me, me, me" attitude of WR has always made me sick. And seeing the BS put out by the people against any change for safety makes me more so.

Considering they don't do anything now we all know BTD and the cops aren't going to to anything about this after a few weeks. To add insult to injury they won't ticket people? So basically they are saying "drivers, continue to be dicks - we actually encourage it."

Does anyone have a list of the businesses that supposedly didn't support the road-diet? It seems like it was a "many people have said" moment without anyone having the nuts to post anything in their stores.

Business owners on record against the road diet in the local newspaper or other media:

- Atlas True Value
- City Lock
- Gormley Funeral Home
- Hennigan Insurance
- LAER Realty

I’m sure there are others opposed as the main opposition group claims but they haven’t published the names as far as I know. They should do so.

up
17

So you're basically trying to dox them? What a coward.

It's not doxxing if someone reports on a public statement someone else makes. Unless you think the Globe is "doxxing" Mayor Walsh every time they mention something he said in a press release.

up
13

RalphM isn't the Globe and these business owners aren't the Mayor. No one thinks for a second that the intent of naming them here isn't to cause harm.

Not much of a doxxing considering some of these business people have gone on Dan Rea's WBZ Radio show about this and been very public on Facebook. They've also have been quoted in the Bulletin and Herald. If they want to oppose it more power to them but they shouldn't expect zero consequences.

These local businesses apparently don't feel that they need any of their local customers who are on foot or bike in their immediate neighborhood. We should help them prove their point by taking our business elsewhere.

In a lot of cases, the only advantage of a local business over more distant competitors is the convenience of not having to drive and park. Driving straight to Home Depot makes more sense than parking in front of True Value only to find out they don't have what you need.

Didn't somebody literally just crash into Hennigan Insurance last week? I wonder if that made them reconsider their position.

on a bike, or walking? If they were, I doubt it had much of an impact on the insurance man's thinking.

Big four wheeled motorized bike with a roof and doors.
https://www.universalhub.com/2019/van-driver-smashes-light-pole-west-roxbury

Unhinged lunacy in this thread is shocking. People are racist because they oppose outside pressure to change the neighborhood they live in.

Trump - Check
Brett Kavanaugh - Check
Racism - Check
Murderers - Check

Im ecstatic my neighbors stood up for THEIR NEIGHBORHOOD, and tickled to read these bizarre comments.

The three cyclist from Westie must be devastated.

up
10

It’s not just YOUR neighborhood bc you’re the loudest and spread falsities like wildfire. It’s everyone’s neighborhood. We live there and spend money there too.

Says "anon," originally from upstate New York, moved here after grad school (but didn't finish!), bought an overpriced condo in a triple-decker in Roslindale, brags constantly how "diverse" her neighborhood is, hangs out mostly with people who think just like him/her, has been planning on moving to Vermont, just trying to work out the details.

Well, "Jim Curley," I came to Boston 25 years ago for college, have lived in the city since, have owned a home in West Roxbury for a decade, work in Dedham, and don't really plan on ever leaving, so I guess your miserable ass is just going to have to get used to at least some members of the neighborhood actually wanting to change things occasionally!

"Change things occasionally"??? WTF are you talking about? You really are a newcomer.

This neighborhood has been completely transformed in the 40 years I've lived here (and the 70 years my grandparents lived here). New shops, restaurants; probably 80% of the housing stock has been renovated or improved. There are new buildings everywhere. We have a commuter rail (oh right, you wouldn't possibly remember the "dead tracks" because you were in grade school in Ann Arbor back in the 80's).

People who are complaining about obstructionist "locals" have ZERO history with West Roxbury, or Boston as a whole. If you don't like the culture here, go back to Michigan!!!

Yes, West Roxbury has changed over the years. Boiled dinner and pizza are no longer the only foods you can buy on Centre Street (well, and Middle Eastern at Samia's, which is now a Thai place). And Roche Bros. moved across the street. And my God, there's even a Starbucks now (two if you include the one inside the Star Market).

There are many great people and fine institutions in West Roxbury (our daughter went to pre-school at the Ohrenberger and K-6 at the Kilmer, my wife is a member of the Garden Club), but come on, all you're doing is perpetuating the stereotype of Westie as an insular, stand-offish and kind of paranoid place (no, there is no cabal of commie bike-riding ogres hell-bent on destroying West Roxbury out of spite; because that would imply that there is a significant number of people outside of West Roxbury who really give the place any thought at all).

Crap, I had a good comeback until you mentioned Samia's. I really miss her and Maurice.

Thanks for mentioning the commuter rail, which, if we were to believe the West Roxbury Business and Professional Association, was going to ruin Centre Street. There's a great article in the Globe archives from April 1986 quoting business owners proclaiming that commuters would take all the parking spaces, driving away customers. I wonder how many businesses today benefit from having people come to Centre St to take the train instead of just driving between home and office? Some people just never learn.

Make it four. My daughter rides a bike.

It's OUR neighborhood, not just YOUR neighborhood. And a lot of us disagree with your reactionary hysteria.

"We want to educate people," "We don't want to fine people."

These scofflaws already know the the law, they don’t need handholding, they need big fines and license suspensions.

This sounds like pretend policing. Make it look like they are doing something when in fact, they are not.

up
35

Yes, please let crack down on the elderly in West Roxbury. Suffolk County, its ok to sell drugs, but if you make a minor traffic violation we'll hang you.

Hers to hoping cops start ticketing cyclist.....

Failing to stop at a marked crosswalk for a pedestrian is not a minor traffic violation.

And why doesn't your keen interest in protecting the elderly extend to the older adults who are trying to walk across the street?

This is really the point. Enforcement isn’t truly possible. Engineering the roads to force people to obey the speed limits is the only method that even comes close to working. Even then, without a threat of a fine that is high enough to notice, it’s not effective to alter behavior. Also, if a police officer takes a risk to their life to pull someone over for speeding, why waste time with a warning? A better use of time for that officer would be to help a senior cross the road in the very short time allocated to the walk signal, for example, at willow and Centre.

Let's see if BDP "enforces" the Holy Name parking on Sunday's... the Sunday diagonal parking makes crossing an already dangerous rotary even worse. But hey, who cares, amiright?

The state rep from Roxbury specifically voted against it because while she supports the concept, her fear was that cops will be on the hunt for violators in her neighborhood while ignoring the same behavior in richer, whiter 'hoods. Not an unfounded fear.

Tires spikes (lighted) activated when the walk signal is on? Drivers will learn.

Yeah, and nobody kayaks down Centre Street as there isn't a safe way to do so. Make it safe and enjoyable to bike down the street and watch what happens.

I'd like to add that there were the usual people predicting the drop in their home value if this happens. This crowd's acrimonious, bullying, frothing-at-the-mouth behavior will do far more to turn people away from the WR market than any road changes.

This was truly the ugliest moment I've seen from my neighbors. If I can find a little hope it is that this display is the last, gasping breath of a dying contingent.

I'm only slightly less disappointed in my neighbors who support this change but couldn't be bothered to show up. Don't abstain from the fight and then complain when your side doesn't win.

I will take my business to Jamaica Plain, Roslindale, or other towns.

Listen, if I had thought the city would fold like a card table, I would have been at that meeting yelling my head off. I didn't realize one meeting full of cranks was all it took to get the city of Boston to table its plans.

up
15

This is so unbelievably backwards. Whatever happened to Vision Zero? I really believe the road diet is the way to go but I would still love to see more police enforcement, especially on the double parking front. I live in Charlestown which I often consider the double-parking capital of Massachusetts. Despite the fact that Main Street is only one lane in each direction, I consistently see people double-parked, often even when there is a spot within the same block. I'm assuming this is simply because they're too lazy to parallel park. People are generally at their most selfish when they're behind the wheel of a car.

Bottom line: No serious transit or infrastructure improvements that may even slightly impede speeding motor vehicle traffic through West Roxbury will be considered while Marty "I'm a car guy" Walsh remains in office.

up
11

Baker too...he own't even think about congestion pricing or raising the gas tax. But he is fine w/ the T raising fares every year.

just wow. how many people have to die? How can the police increase enforcement without traffic cams?

up
10

Thanks.

up
11

trust anybody who extols their own common sense.

Friends & Neighbors,

I have attended many of these meetings related to street safety, from both "sides". I’ve done so as a resident, dad to 2 young daughters, regular spender of money at our local businesses, and as that guy who was run over 4 years ago and suffered a traumatic brain injury in the same spot Mrs. Wentworth was tragically killed. In fact, I was walking from one small business to buy lawn bags, to another to buy a coffee, but I didn’t quite make it to the coffee.

It took me a year to recover, but overall I was lucky. I'm alive, I can walk. I never held any animus towards the couple that hit me. It was an accident. Days later when I met them after getting their info from the police report, they were horrified and thought they'd killed me. They were driving with the flow of traffic on the inside lane (the flow that can reach upwards of 40mph). They didn't see me behind the first car that had come to a stop on the inside lane. There was a strong glare from the sun. I didn't see them until the split second before I was hit. To preempt the inevitable comments making light of everything, yes, I did look both ways. A few times, actually. But since life is life, accidents happen. And there’s the reality that it could be any one of us on the receiving end of such an accident, or be the motorist who tragically hits someone else. I think about this all the time.

So, I attend these meetings, and I hear the anger, the yelling. Neighbors with differences of opinion who hold more anger towards one another than I ever held for the driver who almost killed me. I read the comments on these pages, where I see my neighbors spitting out vitriol, and I feel embarrassed. Bike lobby? City Hall conspiracy? Really? (Full disclosure, I do own a bike. However, I don’t really ride it, so I don’t think I can be considered part of the big bike conspiracy to get cars off the road).

I also have a young daughter who was born with serious cardiac complications, and for the better part of two years I was no stranger to 911 and having first responders in my home to transport her to Children's Hospital. The type of scare tactics employed last night that include saying our residents will be less safe, that ambulances will no longer get to our emergencies, is at best misleading, and at worst dangerous language to causally lean on without proper data and a much more serious conversation.

I fully support everyone offering their inputs, and proposed solutions so that we can all live in a community where we care about one another's safety. I appreciated the activism and counter-proposals presented last night. Had some of them been in place 4 years ago, it’s possible my injuries would have been less severe. However, when people say things like “Don’t believe the city cares about our safety”, my first reaction is “Do we even really care about one another’s safety?” Or do we care more about losing “even one parking space”, as the Safety Association handout notes right at the top. Seriously?

So instead of playing the tired role of "guy who got run over", I think it's more important for us all to focus on having a comprehensive plan that is built more off actual data, numbers, and consensus, and maybe a little less on feelings, emotions, and hypotheticals. I’m very familiar with feelings and emotions related to these topics. I’ve felt the feeling of having a head injury so bad that I couldn’t remember where I was or how to finish a sentence, and the emotion of watching my baby carted off by an ambulance on more than one occasion. I could take that route, and come to these meetings angry, yelling at my neighbors, passing off fears as facts, saying I KNOW more about things than YOU DO. But to what end? I appreciate our community, our representatives, and our partners at City Hall who are working on this. I can assure you they certainly aren’t in it for the glory of being vilified and yelled at by their own constituents and neighbors.

I’m sure myself and many others will stay actively engaged in this important issue, and I truly hope that everyone, in these meetings and on these comment boards, can be civil to one another.

up
41

This is the best take on this whole matter so far.

The only other thing that I’d like to add about bicycling is this: there are people who would love to ride a bike, but are handicapped. I am one of those people. I’m using my hybrid car or the T. I prefer my car.

I also wonder how many people remember all of those rules they had to learn in order to pass their test for a learner’s permit and license years after the fact? Re-education is absolutely in order. I have seen so many people blow through crosswalks or blast their horns at me for stopping at a crosswalk. I’ve seen cyclists blow through crosswalks. There’s blame to go around.

More education before enacting any change when things are this polarized to make people understand the necessity and benefits of change is not only a good idea, it’s essential.

I initially used the world "table," which made it sound like the city had given up on the road-diet idea. In fact, as the story said, the news is that they are now looking at other possible solutions in addition to the road diet and hope to have a new proposal - or proposals - ready for a public look in January.

up
10

We’re worried about putting bike lanes through the neighborhood but we have a high pressure gas line running through our neighborhood with no increase to our public safety staffing. This seems a little ridiculous to me. When we have another Lawrence situation erupt, and our fire trucks are tied up at another incident, we can all get on our bikes and head into City Hall to pay our increased property taxes. Menino took our fire chief away because the neighborhood had a strong showing for a political opponent. It’s time to start getting the services we’re paying for.