Editorial: Fix Monument Sq. traffic now

June 22, 2012
By

With a City redesign plan delayed, it will be 2014 at best before Monument Square is rebuilt to be something other than an asphalt monster looking for pedestrians to kill.

Someone may well die there long before then. The City and the MBTA should take immediate action to improve safety in ways that do not require bulldozers and backhoes.

Start with the outrageous lawlessness. Drivers regularly blow through red lights at full speed, sometimes within inches of pedestrians in crosswalks.

In part, this is because the intersection is unsafely wide, making the red lights harder to react to; in part, it is simply because drivers know they’ll get away with it. Police should crack down, and word is they will after the Gazette spoke with one of the capable officers from the local E-13 Police Station.

The MBTA has a bus stop in front of the Loring-Greenough House that is straight-up illegal. It is positioned so that buses must break the law by stopping in crosswalks and stranding pedestrians in traffic. The huge vehicles parked mid-intersection also can prevent pedestrians from seeing oncoming red-light-running drivers.

The MBTA already intends—in another long-delayed process—to move that stop to Curtis Hall, where it can legally and safely operate. That move could be, and should be, made in the next few weeks by moving a couple of sign poles.

Similar things could be said about Hyde Square, whose crosswalks are regularly ignored by people busy going somewhere apparently more important than pedestrians’ lives.

We can wait years for the prettiest, most elegant design solutions. We shouldn’t wait a minute to fix simple bad behavior.

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