Mass. Ave. traffic claims another life

William Dotson, a 91-year-old WWII veteran well known in his neighborhood, died on March 22 after being struck by a car while in the Varnum St. crosswalk on Mass. Ave. in East Arlington.

The Varnum St. Crosswalk yesterday from the sidewalk in front of the Trinity Baptist Church in East Arlington. Varnum St. is on the right.

The Varnum St. Crosswalk yesterday from the sidewalk in front of the Trinity Baptist Church in East Arlington. Varnum St. is on the right.

The Boston Globe reports that Dotson was crossing Mass. Ave from the Varnum St. side at around 11 am. He was struck by a Cambridge-bound car.

Other reports have said that the driver, a 60-year-old Woburn woman, stopped immediately. Police had not concluded their investigation into the crash as of March 25.

According to various report, the collision was recorded by a surveillance camera.

Varnum2

Everybody knew Mr. Dotson, who lived just a few houses from me. He was frequently about on the street or in his yard. The Globe story includes some moving tributes.

Dotson was the same age as my mother. I can see the side of his house from my front porch. I think there might be more to say about this, but I am not up for that right now.

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2 comments so far

  1. David Markun on

    Are there plans to rework this crosswalk during the coming construction?

    • Adam Auster on

      David, the Varnum crosswalk may be one of the least-improved of any in the project (after Lafayette St.). However there are two safety-positive changes in the design.

      First, one of the westbound (outbound) lanes will be eliminated, narrowing the gantlet of motorized traffic and eliminating so-called multithreat risk for that side of the road.

      Second, the Varnum St. end of the crosswalk will get a small curb extension, a bump-out, that will make pedestrians there slightly more visible.

      There is also some evidence that bump-outs slow the fastest traffic by changing the feel of the road. I’m not sure what the effect is on multilane roads like Mass. Ave.

      Varnum is only getting one bump-out, and is not getting a pedestrian island like the crossing at Orvis-Grafton.

      It’s reasonable to think these changes will be beneficial, but it is worth asking if there are more things that can be done to save lives there and elsewhere on the street.


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