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“Shared Space” Aims to Unite Motorists and Pedestrians on Boston Roadways

A 47-year-old East Boston man recently entered a not guilty plea to leaving the scene of an accident and motor-vehicle homicide at the Chelsea District Court after being accused of being involved in a hit-and-run car-pedestrian accident in Revere, according to the Chron. Prosecutors say that the man made an attempt to fix the damage on his SUV that was caused by the accident. He is being accused of striking and killing a 22-year-old pedestrian just before 6:00 a.m. The young woman was taken to the hospital where she was later pronounced dead.

Prosecutors believe that the man attempted to make repairs on his vehicle to cover up the damage and then attempted to wash it down with bleach to hide and further evidence. The man is currently being held on a $25,000 bail.
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Our Boston personal injury attorneys understand that pedestrians are extremely vulnerable to car-pedestrian accidents near our busy roadways. To help reduce the risks of such serious accidents, the Institute for Human Centered Design, recently discussed plans of Shared Space, which is a street design concept to help protect pedestrians traveling along our roadways. Shared Space is already a popular part of European roads, according to the Boston Globe.

This theory aims to reduce the number of curbs in our area. Researchers of the program believe that curbs are the enemy on our roadways as they serve as a barrier that determines which part of the roadway belongs to the vehicles and which parts belong to the pedestrians. Shared Space also frowns upon the use of traffic lights, road markings and street signs. Under the Shared program, streets are stripped down and all physical and psychological barriers are eliminated. Without these traffic regulating devices, motorists and pedestrians are forced to share the area efficiently and safely. Supporters believe that the roads can actually be safer by making them more dangerous and requiring everyone to think a little bit more.

“So what have we done here?” asks director of urban and transit projects at the Institute for Human Centered Design, Christopher Hart. “We’ve extended that curb 10 feet out. We’re forcing drivers to pay attention, and we’re forcing them to slow down even just a little bit because their field of vision has changed.”

For years now, the design of the street system in our area has kept their focus on efficient and speedy movement of vehicle traffic. Luckily, Boston and other large metro areas in the county are leaning towards the creation of safer streets for everyone. A number of organizations, transportation departments and advocates are campaigning the “human-centered design,” oftentimes referred to as “complete streets” or “context-sensitive design.”

“We live in an environment where everybody is in a rush,” says Thomas Tinlin, the city’s transportation commissioner. “Our job is to look at it as, if everybody plays by the rules, how best to move everybody through the system.”

There’s an area inside City Hall that is called the Traffic Management Center in which live video is surveyed of various busy intersections. A technician is hired to monitor these areas and make appropriate stop-light adjustments to ensure that the traffic flow’s steady. Whereas the focus of this technician has always been to get our Boston motorists traveling quickly and efficiently, a number of pedestrian advocates recognize the increase in on-foot traffic and are pushing to shift the focus from vehicles to pedestrians.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a pedestrian-car accident in Revere or elsewhere in the Boston area, contact Massachusetts Personal Injury Lawyer Attorney Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-877-617-5333.

Additional Resources:

‘Shared Space’ Can Remake Car-Clogged Streets, by SAM GOATER, The Hartford Courant
More Blog Entries:

New Study Urges Metro to Areas Seek Transportation Options to Reduce Risks of Elderly Pedestrian Accidents in Boston and Elsewhere
August 13, 2011

Young Skateboarder Killed by Hit-and-Run Driver in Massachusetts Car Accident
August 12, 2011