Globe Watch

Pedestrians fear crossing street in Jamaica Plain

DCR says solution would be costly

A woman walked across Perkins Street to the Cabot Estate recently. Condo residents want the crossing to be made safer. A woman walked across Perkins Street to the Cabot Estate recently. Condo residents want the crossing to be made safer. (Christina Pazzanese for The Boston Globe)
By Christina Pazzanese
Globe Correspondent / September 27, 2010

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Several readers have alerted GlobeWatch to a recent accident in their neighborhood that many find upsetting but not surprising. Residents of the Cabot Estate condominiums in Jamaica Plain say they have long warned city and state officials about the potential danger for pedestrians trying to cross a section of Perkins Street by Jamaica Pond.

On Sept. 10, a woman walking her dog was struck by a car and seriously hurt as she attempted to cross Perkins from the condo complex’s driveway, according to a Boston Police Department report. She was taken by emergency personnel to Brigham and Women’s Hospital in stable condition. A neighbor said the woman suffered several broken bones.

Condo residents say the situation is scary since many of their neighbors make this same crossing on foot or bicycle every day to enjoy the pond.

“The crossing is dangerous, not only for pedestrians, but also for autos entering,’’ writes Elaine Levine. “For years, we have petitioned, written, called to have the situation eased, to no avail. Unfortunately, we feared this would happen.’’

“There is, unfortunately, no safe crossing location available without taking a very, very long walk — I am talking about at least a couple of miles — to get there,’’ says Roberta Gross-Torres. “We are a virtual pedestrian island.’’

Jacquelynn Abraham-Saslaw says she sent a letter to Mayor Thomas M. Menino after the accident, chastising the city for ignoring “pleas, petitions and proposals’’ for a crosswalk at 241 Perkins St.

“A crosswalk probably wouldn’t work because the area coming west on Perkins is curved and probably a crosswalk wouldn’t be noticed in time,’’ says Levine. “The ultimate would be a sign at the approach and a blinking light with pedestrian buttons.’’

Torres adds: “I have heard many, many reasons why we cannot have a legal crossing but I have not heard any recommended alternatives for safe crossing offered to the population whose property this abuts. Certainly someone can figure out a better way for our population to safely access Jamaica Pond than to get in our cars, drive out and around, and then park on the other side of the street!’’

The Department of Conservation and Recreation, which oversees Perkins Street, says it is well aware of neighborhood calls for a crosswalk or pedestrian signal. The concept has been considered for years, says spokeswoman Wendy Fox. Talks were reignited after the accident, she says, but cannot be acted upon at the moment because of the potential cost and the department’s tight budget. “It’s a complicated engineering project and probably expensive,’’ says Fox. Because sidewalks are narrow, a pedestrian bridge will not fit, while a crosswalk would be costly. The DCR is considering erecting signs on Perkins Street warning pedestrians not to cross there, Fox says.

Readers with problems they would like addressed can send e-mails to

Rick Sullivan, commissioner
Department of Conservation and Recreation
251 Causeway St., Suite 600, Boston, MA 02114-2104

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