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Death of Bicyclist Leads to Safety Improvements of Busy Mass Ave. Intersection

The recent death of a bicyclist on a busy intersection in Boston has prompted city officials to make safety improvements to the surrounding area. On August 7th of this year, 38 year old Anita Kurmann was struck and killed by a tractor trailer when she was riding her bike along Massachusetts Avenue and Beacon Street in Boston. That particular intersection has been the site of multiple accidents in recent years, and those who frequently travel along the route believe that significant changes need to be made in order to prevent further tragedies from arising.

The director of planning for Boston’s Transportation Department, Vineet Gupta, has stated that improvements have already begun at the dangerous intersection in an effort to increase safety for bicyclists and motor vehicle operators alike. The road where Massachusetts Avenue and Beacon Street intersect has already been repaved following the accident, and workers are applying new striping as well. Gupta went on to say that flexible posts will be installed this week to protect the bike lane. “Our goal is to make it safe for everyone at that intersection,” Gupta said.

In addition to the measures already being taken, the Transportation Department will also install bike boxes marked with green paint that will permit cyclists to rest within those designated areas while they wait for signal changes on the road. The bike boxes will be placed in front of motor vehicles lining up in the same area and will primarily be located in the southbound lane of Massachusetts Avenue and Beacon Street.

The Transportation Department is also making an effort to reduce the amount of traffic in the area in hopes that it will provide less opportunity for accidents to occur. They are eliminating the option of making a right turn on red for motor vehicles traveling south on Massachusetts Avenue and they will also install lane markings that will indicate where to go if you are turning versus where to go if you will continue traveling straight.

The ongoing improvements to the Massachusetts Avenue and Beacon Street intersection are just a small part of a larger, long-term examination into the safety of the Massachusetts Avenue corridor. Efforts are underway to trim the trees lining Beacon Street in order to provide more visibility to bicyclists and motorists alike. Vineet Gupta has also stated that the Transportation Department is going to optimize the timing for traffic signals to improve safety for pedestrians as well in an all-around attempt to minimize the possibility of an accident to occur. There will also be signs posted informing drivers that they will need to yield to pedestrians as well as their bicyclist counterparts when traveling down that road.

Fellow bicyclists have been flocking to the area following the accident that took the life of Anita Kurmann just a few short weeks ago. Individuals have been leaving flowers as a tribute to the life that was lost at an intersection that has been posing problems for years. The hope shared by all is that these new improvements will prevent any future loss from taking place.

Additionally information and quotes may be found at the following links: http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/2015/08/30/improvements-coming-mass-ave-intersection-where-cyclist-was-killed/Iptd6uURgJfHzj5bZ9wWXN/story.html

http://www.wcvb.com/news/improvements-underway-for-intersection-where-bicyclist-died/35010778