The wheels are finally turning to give the hazardous Morton Street and Gallivan Boulevard intersection a much-needed overhaul. At a meeting held last Tuesday, April 3 at the Charles Taylor School, community members and public officials voted on an alternative to the current layout.
The intersection has been called one of the most dangerous to cross in Boston. MassDOT spokesperson Michael Verseckes said car crashes have been a major issue between the two streets. In the last three years, there have been at least 44 accidents that occurred in the intersection.
“If you’ve ever been through this intersection… you know that can be difficult to navigate. There are also concerns with regard to pedestrian crossings, and safety concerns for the nearby school,” said Verseckes.
Around 40 people attended the meeting, including State Senator Jack Hart, State Representative Russell Holmes and State Representative Linda Dorcena Forry, whose office helped to allocate funding for the project. Out of the three alternative street maps presented, the majority of the attendees chose the first option. It would maintain the geometry of the intersection and keep construction costs low—within the budget of $750,000.
The new blueprint will be designed to increase safety and improve the flow of westbound traffic on Morton Street. Woodmere Street will keep traffic in both ways and existing intersections and pedestrian crossings will have traffic signals in all directions. Morton Street will also have traffic medians in place.
Amanda Curley, a legislative assistant for Rep. Forry, said that two alternative designs had very little support. A second alternative was to turn Woodmere Street into a one-way, which was predicted to create more traffic. Also coming in as the most costly plan, it called for increased frontage before the fire station, resulting in even less space for traffic.
A suggestion for a roundabout to replace the existing street plan was the least popular. Although it would slow traffic, there were concerns about turning Woodmere Street into a one-way. The plan also came without any signalized pedestrian crosswalks—something that attendees agreed is necessary for better safety.
The proposed redesign is now in the hands of city architects and planners. MassDOT will also work with the Boston fire department, as some of the affected areas fall include the fire station at the corner. Another issue is around school crosswalks. Verseckes said there was a sentiment in the meeting to slow traffic in front of the Taylor School. Installing flashing lights at mid-block crosswalks may be considered.