By Seth Daniel
The City’s Transportation Department (BTD) is preparing for a complete safety re-design of Tremont Street, with short-term solutions coming online this fall and longer-term solutions being implemented next year after community input.
“Through Go Boston 2030, we heard from our residents that they want safer streets and BTD is taking action to make that happen here,” said a spokesperson from BTD. “The City specifically considers improving safety on Tremont Street to be a top priority.”
The call for Tremont Street to be a priority came earlier this year when a resident of the Union Park area was killed when crossing the street in the cross walk. Others have been injured over the last two years as well, and frequent close calls come when drivers pass stopped vehicles in the second lane.
The BTD plans to make some short-term improvements at intersections from Herald Street to Melnea Cass along the corridor, and at the same time set the stage for more comprehensive programs to be implemented next year.
Some of the short-term improvements include daylighting to improve the visibility of pedestrians on the curb, installing tactical crossing islands to shorten the crossing distance on the street, and the installation of flex posts that draw the attention of drivers to people crossing.
The flex posts have already been implemented earlier this year in a small pilot near the South End Library. More of what is seen there is likely to sprout up throughout the corridor.
All of these things are likely going to be discussed in depth at the South End Forum meeting on Nov. 14. Moderator Steve Fox said there will be a good deal of discussion on the topic.
He said there is another parallel strategy going on between the Forum, the BTD and the Union Park Neighborhood Association.
That parallel project includes installing RRFD blinking lights at some key intersections. Those lights are to be paid for by the community and fundraising has already started. They would be similar to the lights that were installed on Albany Street last year by GTI Properties.
BTD is currently reaching out to community leaders in the South End and Roxbury to schedule a small-group meeting to discuss the longer term re-design of Tremont Street, from Herald Street to Melnea Cass Boulevard. Those meetings would review specific steps, and figuring out when to schedule a larger, neighborhood-wide community meeting.
Fox said discussions are going on right now about how to accomplish that, but those discussions are still in their infancy.