Boston City Council discusses expansion of traffic-calming measures, calls for pedestrian safety

Photo courtesy of Creative Commons

By Adam Nuñez

The Boston City Council is considering expanding Mayor Wu’s traffic-calming Safety Surge initiatives after multiple pedestrian car crash deaths this year, including that of a 4-year-old child. The measures could decrease speed limits from 25 on residential streets, alongside further increasing the production of traffic-calming infrastructure throughout the city.

Photo courtesy of magerleagues under CC BY-SA 2.0.

The expansion discussion comes after two pedestrians were hit by separate trucks in the past week, one accident causing the death of 57-year-old Fernando Pizzaro. Gracie Gancheva was a 4-year-old girl fatally struck by a pickup truck near the controversial intersection of Congress and Sleeper streets at the Boston Children’s Museum in March. Another pedestrian was killed at Hampden St. and Melnea Cass Boulevard two months ago.

City Councilor Ed Flynn brought the topic to Wednesday’s City Council meeting in a hearing order. The Councilor’s order calls for a “hearing to discuss pedestrian safety, traffic calming, and expanding the Safety Surge program in the City of Boston.”

The Safety Surge initiative began in 2023 as a means to add major traffic-calming measures to Boston roads through the mass development of speed humps. 

“Currently, the speed hump program is only being installed on smaller side streets, but not on wider streets and busier streets, where cars and commuters are consistently speeding, and serious crashes also occur,” Flynn said. “Many residents have advocated for speed humps, raised crosswalks in these areas, and we should consider whether Safe Surge programs should be updated with infrastructure to be installed on high traffic roads to ensure road safety for all.”

“The worst part about it is they are so preventable,” City Councillor John Fitzgerald, a cosponsor of the hearing, said Wednesday. “Everywhere I go in the district – the most diverse district in the entire city – everywhere I go, no matter where it is, people are asking for these speed humps.”

A report early last year found Boston to have the fourth worst traffic congestion in the world.