Planet Southie's Walk Team needs your help documenting dangerous intersections, obstructed sidewalks and other issues that make walking around in South Boston unnecessarily difficult. To get involved, please come to a monthly meeting and/contact Jessica Buhler here.

Here are some of the issues the walk team has been working on:

WALKING Issues: Safety and Access

The following action steps were agreed upon at the 10/27 meeting:

1. Get the word out about City of Boston contacts where people can report unsafe walking conditions, including Sean Regan and Citizens Connect http://www.cityofboston.gov/doit/apps/citizensconnect.asp

2. Conduct "Walkability Audits" to document walking hazards in areas including Moakely Park; E & W Broadway business districts; Rotary; Dorchester St. to W. 1st St.; Dorchester St to I St; Post Office area; as well as garage doors opening onto sidewalks. Several people volunteered to help with this.

3. Encourage people to report unsafe crosswalks via BPD's "Operation Sidewalk".

The following action steps were put forward for further research and consensus building:

1. Harborwalk completion - this will require a large-scale advocacy strategy and effort.

2. Speed limit on L St (possible public event, petitions, contacting electeds)

Somethings you can do now to improve walking safety:
For Planet Southie Walk Action Team info, please contact Jessica Buhler, Coordinator.

Issues and Possible Solutions Discussed at 9/27/12 Meeting:

1. ISSUE: Disconnected, interrupted and/or unsafe walking routes (ex Harborwalk)
SOLUTION: Work with WalkBoston to conduct Walking Audit

2. ISSUE: Small & Misaligned Sidewalks that are inaccessible to wheelchairs and strollers
SOLUTION: Improvements like bumping out curb

3. ISSUE: Light boxes at East & West 1st block sidewalk
SOLUTION: Work with Public Works

4. ISSUE: Litter, Trash, Glass, Disrepair on Sidewalks

5. ISSUE: Unmarked Crosswalks/Dangerous Intersections
SOLUTION: Traffic lights/warnings/signals

6. ISSUE: Development vs. Safety
SOLUTION: Use available resources: bostoncompletestreets.org; Mayor's Hotline; BRA; Sean Regan at City; Citizens Connect for smartphones

7.     ISSUE: Drivers not stopping at crosswalks
        - Issue tickets/citations
        - Operation crosswalk
        - Slow traffic to 20-25 MPH
        - Redlight cameras – bill filed
        - Increased signage
        - Reinforced crosswalks – ex: W. Broadway

Who volunteered to join together to work on this:
Mary, Bill S, Bill G, Peter, Fred, Mark, Louise, Bridget, Josh, Joe. More help is always needed, so everyone is welcome!
Please use the comments tool below to suggest action steps and other issues/solutions. Please be constructive (abusive comments will be moderated).


  1. Please post your thoughts here and come to the 10/25/12 meeting to help move solutions forward. Thanks!

  2. I am unable to attend the next meeting in regards to walking issues in Southie. As a new mom, who walks everywhere, it is ridiculous how many drivers ignore traffic signs and crosswalks in Southie. One question I have is why there are ticket warning signs in some crosswalks (E. Broadway between L/K, in front of Stop and Shop; E. Broadway and H) if the driver faces no consequences to not stopping? Is it possible to partner with the local police department to monitor how many vehicles ignore those signs? I have heard of drunk driving check points, is it possible to implement a similar protocol in regards to crosswalks? Some days it is so awful that I feel like I am taking a risk by walking out the front door with my 6 month old in his stroller. Please let me know of how I can help with this issue in our community.
    Thank You, Amy

    1. Thank for your comment Amy! I have the same experience when I am walking with my baby. It is a huge concern. Please join our eNewsletter list to stay informed about future meetings and efforts :)

    2. Sign up for newsletter here: http://planetsouthie.us1.list-manage.com/subscribe?u=da31e70d8de640e124b00a9a6&id=b08d9feac8&utm_source=Planet+Southie+Newsletter&utm_campaign=33831710cc-Plug_In_Southie_4_29_2011&utm_medium=email

    3. Sorry I couldn't attend the meeting last night night. Here are some of my thoughts, I hope they help.
      The city of Boston seems to be pushing a program of increased speed for vehicular traffic. I think we need to reverse this trend in what was once known as a walkers' city. Corners are being systematically broadened to allow higher speeds when turning and crosswalks are being pushed away from the mid point of the curve on the corners. This not only allows cars to speed around corners it takes pedestrians out of the line of sight the approaching cars. "No Turn on Red" signs seem to be slowly disappearing. And it seems obvious that our Registry of Motor Vehicles and our Police are not doing their job when the city needs to post signs reminding motorists when turning left they must yield to oncoming traffic. Complicated intersections with complicated signals don't benefit pedestrians see Congress and D streets. The walk signals at may intersections are to short for our elderly neighbors.
      Police need to ticket motorists who don't come to a complete stop before turning right on red. Our elected officials need to address to problem of drivers using electronic devices while driving.
      Our sidewalks need better maintenance. The current city contractors are doing substandard work. Many newer sidewalks are not level in many places and are lacking contraction joints in others. This is not just a cosmetic issue, these sidewalks will not last as long and they present tripping hazards. Some newer (about ten years old) sidewalks are already deteriorating ; see the walks across Summer St from the new Convention Center.
      The placement of signage and traffic signals has become hodge-podge. (In the South End on Tremont St. I know of one traffic signal that is about fifteen feet away from the wheel chair ramp. There are some signs on Congress St. for example, that are low enough to walk into the signs themselves-not just the poles.
      The city is also allowing private business to profit using our public ways. Sandwich boards, businesses lining up patron on sidewalks and using sidewalks for smoking areas (which also become extensions of the business-usually a bar) are all blocking our sidewalks sometimes forcing pedestrians to seek alternate routes. Whether from real or imagines concerns the result is the same.
      The excessive use of police details (State and Massport) at intersections along the Waterfront at rush hour is indicative of a problem-lack of traffic signals. It is also a horrendous waste of resources. I hate to say, many of these officers give the lie to their alleged necessity when they are often seen sitting in cruisers or grouped together talking by the side of the road.
      The entrances to the many new under-building parking garages present a hazard to pedestrians. I have noticed many have flashing signs warning pedestrians of exiting cars but not the reverse. Pedestrians have the right-of-way especially on sidewalks! I have seen at least one of these garages that has speed bumps to slow cars down entering (after crossing the sidewalk, but nothing to slow down cars exiting-which they often do at a high rate of speed. A related issue is vehicles parking on sidewalks.
      There is also another issue that I think may become more important over time, who owns our sidewalks and parks and what rights do we have while on or in them? How does anyone know whether or not they are on private property? For what reasons can they be removed and for what reasons can those areas be closed? &c.

      John B.

    4. Thanks John! Hopefully you can participate in the walking audits we are planning. Stay tuned for more into and be sure to subscribe to our newsletter.


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