September 22, 2016
The Boston Transportation Department, in collaboration with the Vision Zero Task Force, wants to make the streets of Boston safer - starting with Dorchester’s Talbot-Norfolk Triangle (TNT) neighborhood.
The pilot program “Neighborhood Slow Streets” is the BTD’s effort to tackle traffic calming requests from Boston residents. The TNT neighborhood, specifically, was chosen as one of two sections of the city for the pilot program due to the community’s high level of complaints, according to the program’s Project Manager Stefanie Seskin.
An upcoming meeting on September 27 - at the Prayer Tower Apostolic Church, 151 Norfolk St., 6:30 p.m. - will give residents an opportunity to learn about the team’s proposed plans and to offer any feedback.
“We did meet with the TNT community early last winter or late fall to just talk about the program,” said Seskin. “At that meeting people were really excited about this as well; they felt like they were finally getting what [they’ve] been asking for.”
Concept plans will include: speed humps to reinforce driver speeds throughout residential neighborhoods, daylighting and curb extensions that improve visibility of crosswalks, and raised crosswalks that would help make pedestrians the priority when crossing the street.
“As we open this program to additional neighborhoods, we might want to consider some other tools depending on what their needs are and what the context is around them,” said Seskin.
The team has already met to discuss plans with the other pilot section of Boston – the Stonybrook neighborhood of Jamaica Plain.
“People are looking forward to being part of this pilot,” said Seskin. “They want to be able to feel
comfortable going outside and walking with their kids or their pets, no matter what age they are.”
According to the City of Boston’s Vision Zero crash map, Boston had a total of 512 bicyclist injuries and three bicyclist fatalities in 2015. Two of these three fatalities occurred in Dorchester.
The TNT neighborhood has already made efforts to reduce this number. Activists have previously worked with local non-profits such as WalkBoston and have even developed their own report based on “a walking audit of the neighborhood,” says Seskin.
“Very shortly after we officially announced that [TNT] would be selected, [neighbors] sent a picture of someone who had actually flipped their car while making a turn too fast in the neighborhood,” Seskin added.
Seskin emphasized that the team will honor the input of any community members throughout the pilot process.
“What we’re trying to do is create a program that is really driven by the community in terms of wanting to calm traffic,” Seskin said. “With their support and their help, we’re finding the right tools to apply to make sure they’re getting that perception of safety that they want in their neighborhoods.”