Trying to catch drag racers as they zoom along Beacon Street at exactly the right moment is almost impossible unless you have a police car permanently stationed there 24/7 hours. Although there would be some public safety benefit, admittedly it would not be the best and highest use of the already-scarce resources of the Boston Police Department.
However, with that being said, the value of human life cannot be calculated. In Boston alone there are two-three collisions per day between automobiles and pedestrians or bicyclists.
In addition, with the major thoroughfares such as Storrow Drive often moving at a snail’s pace, Beacon Street and other local roadways are used by drivers seeking to get from point A to point B as quickly as possible, making these streets hazardous for our pedestrians and bicyclists.
Just last month, a pedestrian was hit by drag racers on Beacon Street near Exeter Street in the late afternoon. The racers fled the scene and the pedestrian was left trapped under the car.
Two other tragic accidents also occurred on Beacon Street recently. In one of those accidents, a truck was turning from Mass. Ave. onto Beacon Street and a bicyclist was killed. In the other, two pedestrians were waiting at the corner of Fairfield and Beacon Streets and a car jumped the light. In both cases the pedestrians/cyclist were killed.
A recent meeting held by the Neighborhood Association of Back Bay highlighted the possible preventive solutions that seem to make sense not only for Back Bay, but for other areas of the City where drivers go faster than they should simply to “beat the traffic” or a red light in order to save what amounts to no more than a couple of minutes of their precious time.
We must remember our neighborhood is a family neighborhood and there are many children who must cross Beacon Street to get to the open spaces on the Esplanade.
Many possible solutions were offered at this meeting, but all have their drawbacks, such as reducing — and then enforcing — the traffic speed limit to 20 miles per hour.
However, one suggestion that caught our attention was the use of paint and flex posts that could be put into the streets. These might slow down the speeders, as drivers would have an obstacle that they would need to maneuver around.
Preventive measures like street-painting and flex poles could help make our neighborhood streets safer.