A pedestrian hit stirs fear of speeding at Gallivan Housing development

Members of the Gallivan Boulevard Tenants Task Force in are up in arms after a motorist hit a pedestrian at Morton and Woodmere streets on Saturday, Feb. 16. The incident, though unique in nature, reminds residents of a number of other pedestrian strikes and accidents and their long-ignored campaign to get speed bumps on the development's roads.

"Everybody out here will tell you how bad it is," said Toni Cromwell, an association member and tenant of the Gallivan housing development. "We've had more sleepless nights listening to these kids drag racing around the development like it's the Indy 500."

After a community meeting in late October, Boston Transportation Commissioner Tom Tinlin recognized the issue and had crews install new stop signs, slow child and yield signs, new crosswalks and double yellow lines to address the problem.

"I'm willing to entertain anything," said Tinlin. "I said, 'Let's try these things and if we find we need to, we can move forward.' This incident on Saturday is the first time I've heard of a problem since the meeting."

Tinlin said his department would conduct a speed study in the area soon, to determine the extent and degree of the speeding problem, but declined to give time and location of the study in order to ensure its effectiveness.

Boston police responded to a call for a pedestrian struck at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16.

According to the BPD report, witnesses told the officers on the scene that the victim appeared to be drunk before he was hit. Officers seemed to confirm this impression in the report, observing that he was "moving about wildly." The driver, who took a left off of Morton onto Woodmere before hitting the victim, told police direct sunlight in his windshield impaired his vision. Officers also confirmed the position and brightness of the sun in their report, making that story a possibility.

According to Cromwell, the man who was hit is still in the hospital. Police could only confirm that his injuries were non-life threatening.

While the nature of the accident is questionable and occurred on the fringe of the development - a Boston Housing Authority controlled property built in 1953 - it revives the memory of several other incidents over the years.

One particularly traumatizing event for long-term residents was the death of two-year-old Lormina Louisville in 1998. A speeding car hit the toddler when she ran out into Standard Street, which runs through the development. An effort to get speed bumps at the time ran into an all-out ban on bumps from then Public Works commissioner Joseph Casazza.

Bob Connors of police district B-3's auto investigation unit said there were only a few incidents serious enough to require a squad car last year, all in July, but many others might have been merely reported without the need for police presence. He vaguely recalled a drag racing incident that may or may not have happened in the development.

On the map, the development undeniably resembles a trapezoidal racetrack, with wide streets and smooth curves on all but one corner.

"They have a situation out there you don't see too much of in the city," Tinlin said. "There streets are so wide and they have off-street parking. Everybody parks in their driveways so you can see how people could get a good head of steam going up in there."

As to speed bumps, Tinlin did not commit to them, nor did he rule them out.