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.

  • Peter

    Ever made a New Years resolution?   Maybe it’s that you’ll lose that extra weight, join a gym, whatever.  Lasts for what a couple of weeks or a couple of months tops.  Sound familiar? 
    You are right, the intersection at the monument is dangerous.  Yes, the police should crack down and as you wrote “word is they will after the Gazette spoke with one of the capabable officers from the local E-13 Police Station.”  If you think that is going to happen long term I have a bridge I’d like to sell you.
    Remember the new law that was to heavily fine drivers for going through a crosswalk when pedestrians were already crossing?  Many drivers were fined, heavily, for awhile.  Now a couple of years later I can’t remember the last time I saw a car pulled over and ticketed for going thourh a crosswalk while the pedestrian was crossing.   Without a doubt the same thing will happen with police cracking down on drivers racing through the Monumet intersection. It may happen for awhile, then slowly it will return to cars racing through the lights as usual.  That’s a guarantee.

    You also wrote about  moving the 39 bus stop to the front of Curtis Hall.  What you may have forgotten is that the Monument is the turnaround for the 41 bus.  Curtis Hall is a good distance down South Street nowhere near where the 41 bus enters Centre Street.  That particular stop is where the 41 bus waits for it’s next departure time a good distance up from Curtis Hall.  So, according to your plan you would have two separate bus stops one for the 39 bus and one for the 41 bus.  Don’t think that’s going to happen.  Additionally, is there enough space for the 41 bus driver to turn from the Arborway onto Centre Street to it’s allotted bus stop? 

    Take a walk down to  the Monument intersection, scope it out for your self.  Wait for the 41 bus and the 39 bus to arrive.  Will your plan work?

Best of JP 2014