Boston’s New “Safety Surge” Initiative Improving Pedestrian Safety by Upgrading Infrastructure

May 25, 2023
Speed hump zones, intersections, and new guidelines for city traffic signs will be upgraded or installed annually.

The city of Boston recently launched a citywide street safety campaign, “Safety Surge”. According to a press release from Mayor Michelle Wu’s office Monday, May 22, the intent is to make walking, biking, and driving safer.

The initiative follows last week’s news of new guidance from the Federal Highway Administration that helps state and local governments plan bike, pedestrian and micromobility projects.

One way Boston leaders are hoping to reduce speeding and crashes by installing speed humps which will be strategically placed based on demographic information and crash history. The city aims to build ten speed hump zones a year.

The city also intends to redesign intersections and establish new guidelines for city traffic signs that slow traffic on residential and cause potentially dangerous conflicts.

In a statement, City Council President Ed Flynn said, “Speeding cars are a public health emergency in the City of Boston. It will require traffic calming infrastructure to force cars to slow down in our neighborhoods and protect all neighbors.”

Roadway deaths, injuries and fatalities among pedestrians and cyclists have become of increasing concern nationwide. Fatalities increased by 13% from 2020 to 2021, according to a National Highway Traffic Safety administration report from April.

In the press release from Monday, Boston mayor Wu’s administration stressed the concern of fatal pedestrian crashes rising 35% between 2021 and 2022. Last year alone there 450 crashes resulted in five fatalities.

The Safety Surge initiative will create “spaces for all road users” according to the press release. 25 to 30 intersections will be improved each year to lower speeds, clear crossings, and improve sightlines.

The Boston Department of Transportation (BDT) also has outlined new guidelines for traffic signals that will help to upgrade 50 intersections annually. The upgrades will include restricting turns on red lights with heavy pedestrian traffic, provide more “Walk” signals at crossings, and give more time for pedestrians to cross.

More information about the initiative can be found on the city’s website.


Source: Smart Cities Dive

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