Crosswalk at Park, WollstonAs of Thursday, Jan. 4, this traffic sign was put in place to reemphasize the crosswalk at Park and Wollaston avenues -- the scene of two serious injuries to pedestrians within 6 weeks.

UPDATED Jan. 5: Arlington Police Chief Julie Flaherty said in a town news release Thursday that the Arlington Police Department is taking action in response to recent traffic accidents: increased enforcement plus an information campaign to remind everyone to be alert and patient for safety's sake.

Simultaneously, the town's Public Works Department is adding signs to draw attention to crosswalks and otherwise make changes intended to combat the spate of recent serious incidents, said the statement from the town.

Two recent motor vehicle crashes involving a pedestrian have occurred at the same spot, Park and Wollaston avenues — one Nov. 19, the other Jan. 1. Two similar accidents each involving a pedestrian also recently occurred in town  one on Mass. Ave. and Water Street in November, one on the 1300 block of Mass. Ave on Dec. 27. In all four of these incidents, the pedestrians were transported to a local hospital for treatment.

Thursday's APD log shows traffic enforcement having been conducted four times that day at Park and Wollaston: approximately 6:30 a.m., 8:15 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4:30 p.m.

town seal“Raising traffic-safety awareness is a priority for the Arlington Police Department,” said Flaherty. “APD is working to improve safety on the streets for pedestrians, cyclists and drivers on an ongoing basis, and we’ve increased enforcement in high-traffic areas.” Flaherty has assigned a patrol officer to monitor the crash areas during morning and afternoon rush hours.

Public Works has installed additional pedestrian signage along Park Avenue by Wollaston Avenue and adjacent Paul Revere Road, in the vicinity of Park Avenue Congregational Church. As well, electronic billboards are to be displayed along local roadways to encourage safe travel.

“We’re looking at ways to improve roadway safety,” said Town Manager Jim Feeney. “The added signage is one way. Another way is to build public awareness about recent roadway safety incidents and encourage everyone who travels through Arlington, regardless of mode, to be alert and share the road so we can all arrive to our destinations safely.”

The news was gratifying to local resident Joseph Solomon, one of a handful of local people who have organized a monthlong online petition drive seeking enhanced traffic safety measures at Park and Wollaston -- and who still intend to formally present the petition to the Select Board soon.

“I'm very happy to see the new signage at this intersection in reaction to the recent crashes. It's also encouraging to hear the commitment by Chief Flaherty to increase enforcement and education, two critical components of a safe transportation system,” he said this morning.  “As we continue the discussion with the Select Board, we look forward to supporting the town in implementing additional low-cost solutions in areas with historical safety issues.”

Educational campaign launched 

APD is launching a social-media campaign to run throughout January to remind all travelers to “Be Alert, Be Patient, Be Safe – Share the Road.” APD also offers the following safety tips:

Motorist Safety Tips

Safety is a shared responsibility—motorists need to be watchful for pedestrians and bicyclists, drive at slower speeds, avoid distraction and know the laws regarding when pedestrians have the right-of-way.

  • Avoid distractions such as food, passengers and using mobile devices. Using handheld devices for talking and texting while driving is both dangerous and illegal.
  • Do not park in bike lanes; this can create extremely harmful circumstances for both bicyclists and drivers.
  • Be prepared to yield to pedestrians in crosswalks.
  • Never pass a vehicle that is stopped for pedestrians.
  • Before making a turn, be sure the path is clear of any pedestrians or bicyclists.
  • Slow down in areas where you are most likely to find pedestrians, such as near bus stops, schools and playgrounds.
  • Look carefully behind your vehicle for approaching pedestrians before backing up.
  • Keep an eye out for pedestrians at night who may be walking near or across the road.
  • Be prepared for bicyclists to use the entire lane; bicyclists are entitled to the entire lane if needed.
  • Give bicyclists a wide berth when passing and pass only when it is safe to do so.

Pedestrian Safety Tips

Look for cars and bicyclists in all directions—including those turning left or right— before crossing the street; make eye contact; never assume a driver will stop.

  • Avoid distraction. More and more people are texting or talking on cellphones when crossing streets,but this diminishes the ability of two key senses—hearing and seeing—that are used to detect and avoid cars. So, particularly when crossing streets, put down the phone.
  • Enhance visibility at night. Walk in well-lit areas, carry a flashlight or wear something reflective, such as stickers or armbands, to be more visible.
  • Be careful crossing multiple lanes of traffic. Make sure each lane of traffic is clear before you cross.
  • Be predictable to drivers and follow the rules of the road—obey signs and signals.
  • Watch for cars backing up in parking lots; brake lights can mean that a car is about to back up.
  • Cross the street where there is the best view of traffic. At bus stops, cross behind the bus or at the nearest crosswalk.
  • Always walk on the sidewalk; if there is no sidewalk, walk facing traffic and as far from the roadway as you can.

Bicyclist Safety Tips

Wear a helmet: It could save your life. However, helmets are fallible. Do not be fooled into a false sense of security. Riding as safely as possible is still important.

  • Avoid distractions such as listening to headphones or answering phones when riding.
  • Obey all signs and signals; this includes stopping at stop signs and red lights.
  • Use a light and reflectors when bicycling at night and be as visible as possible.
  • Ride in the direction of traffic. Drivers may not be looking for you if you are riding the wrong way.
  • Use all of your senses – watch and listen for cars, particularly at intersections and driveways. 

 Nov. 19, 2023: Car strikes pedestrian in Heights crosswalk

This announcement was published Thursday, Jan. 4, 2024, based on a news release from the Town of Arlington and YourArlington's files. It was updated Friday, Jan. 5, to note that APD patrolled four times Thursday at the site of two pedestrian accidents, to include a quote from a traffic-safety activist and to enlarge a photograph.