Beware: The Most Dangerous Pedestrian Street Crossings in Massachusetts

Pedestrian traffic signals can help contribute to driver awareness of pedestrians and reduce the risk of pedestrian crashes.
In Massachusetts, the risk of pedestrian accidents can be reduced with safety infrastructure, such as pedestrian traffic signals.

Pedestrians walk safer in Massachusetts communities which utilize pedestrian traffic signals to reduce the risk of crashes.

Pedestrian safety is always an important topic. But in Massachusetts, the topic is most critical during the winter months, when a large number of pedestrian accidents happen.

First, everyone on the road – drivers, pedestrians and cyclists – must use reasonable care and follow traffic laws. Then, take another careful look at intersections and school zones you travel through. Read traffic signs and find the crosswalk markings. They may not be as visible during snow conditions, at night or when a large truck is in the next lane. Make sure to stop well before the crosswalk.

Under Massachusetts law, pedestrians have the right of way when they are in a crosswalk and the “Walk” signal is operational. When there is no signal, drivers shall yield the right of way to pedestrians.

Finally, learn where pedestrian accidents and crosswalk accidents have happened in Massachusetts. Read the list below and take away any insights you can to protect yourself, older parents and young children.

From 2007 to 2016, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) reported the highest numbers of pedestrian crashes were in Lynn. The downtown area – the roads along Washington Street, Central Avenue and Union Street – saw a total of 321 pedestrian crashes, including 223 incidents which resulted in injury or death. There were another 98 crashes without injuries.

The area approaching the Tobin Bridge saw 260 pedestrian crashes over the same decade. The crash cluster included Chestnut Street, Cherry Street, Ash Street and Everett Avenue. These reports included 192 pedestrian crashes resulting in injury or death and 68 other incidents with no injury reports.

Fall River
MassDOT reported North Main Street and surrounding streets had the third highest number of pedestrian accidents. There were 143 pedestrian injuries and deaths. This cluster included North Main Street then stretched over Interstate 195 to Columbia Street, Hope Street, down to Peckham and Palmer streets.

Central Square is one of the busiest pedestrian walking areas in all of Massachusetts. Central Square and nearby streets ranked fourth for pedestrian accidents in Massachusetts. With 143 total crashes, this cluster includes Lansdowne Street and Hancock Street. This area is near the Central Square T stop, bus services and Cambridge city services.

With 134 pedestrian crashes, a stretch of downtown Boston ranked fifth for the most pedestrian accidents. This area included Boylston Street to the Mass Turnpike, Route 93 and Frontage Road. There were 84 crashes resulting in injury or death.

New Bedford
This Bristol County community saw 82 pedestrian crashes between Route 6 and Hawthorne Street, which is near the waterfront and Buzzards Bay. Of these, 65 crashes resulted in death or injury.

There were 77 total crashes which injured pedestrians in downtown Quincy between 2007 and 2016. These pedestrian crashes happened along Hancock Street, between Elm Street and the corner of Washington Street corner. This area sits near Quincy City Hall, the Thomas Crane Public Library and National Park Service.

85 Worcester pedestrian accidents were reported in a cluster of streets along Francis J. McGrath Boulevard. These streets included Southbridge Street, Charleton Street and Sycamore Street. Injury was involved in 55 of these Worcester pedestrian crashes.

New Bedford
Along Acushnet Avenue and Sawyer Street, approaching Interstate 195, there were 72 pedestrian accident reports. Of these, 55 pedestrian accidents involved injury or death.

Somerville and Cambridge
There were 69 pedestrian crashes reported in the traffic cluster around Davis Square in Somerville, just along the Cambridge border. Davis Square is where Highland Avenue converges with Holland Street, College Avenue, Dover Street and Day Street. Just a mile from Tufts University in Medford, Davis Square is an ideal commuter location, with an MBTA Red Line subway service into Boston and Cambridge.

About the Data
This data was published in the MassDOT 2016 Top Crash Locations Report, December 2018.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our attorneys provide experienced representation to those injured by negligent driving, including in pedestrian accidents and bicycle crashes. If you have been injured, learn your rights. For a free legal consultation, contact our attorneys at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

Read More

After Fatal Pedestrian Crash, City of Somerville Looks at Traffic Calming Measures

People walking in a crosswalk
People walking in a crosswalk

Somerville residents are asking for new traffic calming measures after a fatal pedestrian crash last weekend on Powder House Boulevard and Hardan Road. Police are searching for the driver, who fled the scene.

The Somerville community is wrestling with the horrific crash that killed a teacher in a crosswalk last Friday night.

Somerville Police are still searching for the driver in the Somerville pedestrian crash. The driver struck Allison Donovan, an educator in the Watertown public school system, shortly after 7 p.m. Friday, then fled the scene. Another woman in the crosswalk suffered non-life-threatening injuries.

As police investigate, city officials say a community meeting will be held to discuss accelerating traffic calming measures for the area. The pedestrian accident happened on Powder House Boulevard, at the intersection of Hardan Road, near the West Somerville Neighborhood School. In response to the crash, the city began setting up flex posts with neon reflectors Monday.

For the short term, Somerville Police will be there to assist students who are dropped off and picked up at the West Somerville Neighborhood School. Message boards are also being deployed in the area along with the flexposts.

But residents are now calling for more, including speed bumps to force drivers to slow down.

Traffic Measures to Change Driver Behavior

Communities can implement traffic calming measures to change driver behavior and improve safety conditions for non-motorized street users. Speed bumps and raised intersections are two examples of traffic calming measures. Other examples may include protected bike lanes and cycletracks which allow cyclists to travel inside curbing and away from cars, trucks and rideshare vehicles.

Different areas may require different traffic calming measures. Some communities may address a single intersection or street. But often, communities are working on larger areas.

Slower speed limits are another traffic calming measure. Boston, Cambridge and Somerville were among the first communities to reduce speeds to 25 mph a few years ago, when the state gave communities this authority.

In Somerville, city officials have already implemented many traffic calming measures, including on Powder House Boulevard, which has received physical and painted sidewalk bumpouts, improved crosswalk markings and flashing stop and crosswalk signs and vertical reflective crosswalk markers. In the City of Somerville’s online update, it also noted there is a flashing pedestrian activated crosswalk sign at the intersection near Hardan St. This is where the pedestrian crash happened.

But this spring, Somerville city officials had planned additional traffic calming measures on Powder House Boulevard, between Curtis Avenue and North Street (the fatal pedestrian accident happened in this area). Speed bumps and traffic tables were already on the schedule to be considered after the completion of bike lanes and sidewalk bumpouts. Now, city officials say they are seeking options to bring in speed bumps and traffic tables sooner.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Free Legal Consultation
The Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck specialize in representing those injured by pedestrian accidents and other car accidents. Over the past three decades, our attorneys have helped pedestrians and their loved ones understand their legal rights and obtain the full compensation they need for their injuries. When a loved one is lost, a surviving spouse or the decedent’s children may be able to pursue a wrongful death claim against those who were negligent. Our attorneys are experienced in representing families in wrongful death claims in Massachusetts.

For a free legal consultation, call Breakstone, White & Gluck: 800-379-1244, 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.