The residents of South Huntington Avenue in Jamaica Plain are becoming used to a familiar sound outside their apartment buildings on a busy stretch at the end of the Heath Street Green Line branch. Homeowners and tenants describe the screeching and loud, unmistakable bang of metal-on-metal as almost second nature now. The tiny stretch of South Huntington Avenue has seen an extraordinary amount of serious car accidents in the past few years. So much so that a neighbor explained, “I’m really afraid that someone is going to die in front of my building.”
Car accidents are naturally more common in the city, due to the large number of both vehicles and pedestrians crammed into the tight Boston streets. However, the number of accidents that have occurred on this very small stretch (less than one city block) is disproportionately large even by city standards. CBS Boston has done two investigative reports on the situation and the numbers they came up with are startling to say the least.
According to CBS Boston, Boston Police revealed they had responded to 27 accidents on that stretch of road in 2013. The year before, they had responded to a staggering 52 crashes in that very condensed problem area. Neighbors report witnessing three accidents in one day on a recent rainy day this year. Unsurprisingly, these crashes have caused tens of thousands of dollars in damage to the cars parked out front of the buildings, not even including the vehicles that have lost control and hit them. Spencer, a resident of the troublesome block, explained that his car was hit, in addition to his wife’s car, which was totaled, on top of his parents’ car, which sustained serious damage. “It was ten thousand dollars’ worth of work,” he remarked.
Many residents in that area strongly believe the MBTA tracks are largely to blame for the influx of accidents. Spencer explained to CBS Boston that, “I think the tracks are a little bit too high,” and when it rains; car’s wheels don’t stay in contact with the road.” Indeed the vast majority of drivers complain that the tracks caused the accidents. The report sought out the opinion of Wentworth Professor and former Big Dig engineer James Lambrechts, who explained, “They try to stop and they start to slide, turn the wheels and go off the road.” In his professional opinion, he concluded the tracks are partly to blame for the accidents. He believes the best option to produce a permanent solution would be to replace the road surface altogether, and start over with a different asphalt surface and better drainage.
The residents have suggested installing a flashing warning sign to get drivers’ attention about the slippery conditions, but that plan was rejected. The MBTA has taken a firm stance against both the residents and expert opinion of James Lambrechts and does not believe its tracks are to blame. In a quote from an MBTA spokesperson, the organization clearly states their position on the matter, saying, “there is nothing wrong with the tracks. If motorists operate their vehicles in a safe manner, they won’t have any problems.”
Despite that statement, CBS Boston reports that MBTA crews have been out to the tracks in the middle of the night twice since the original study was published in March. Workers appeared to be filling in the area around the tracks to make it more level with the street, but neighbors say they have seen little improvement, if any. Just yesterday, an MBTA employee actually spun out of control on that very stretch of road and slammed into a parked car. She was injured when her car did a 180 and hit the car with enough force to push it up onto the sidewalk.
As residents rushed out to help with a now familiar sight, they overheard what they have been told so many times-
“I lost control on the tracks,” she said.
If you or a loved one was recently injured in a car accident involving unsafe road conditions, and are unsure of what your next step should be, contact one of our esteemed attorneys to schedule a free and confidential initial consultation. At the law offices of Altman & Altman our team of dedicated Car Accident Attorneys has decades of experience with a variety of car accident cases-from minor bumps to major accidents that cause serious injury. We pride ourselves on delivering legal counsel of the highest quality, and will work around the clock to assist our clients in receiving the compensation they deserve as a result of an accident. In addition to the outstanding legal representation our clients receive, we have the resources to help clients access some of the best medical care in the state of Massachusetts.
To read the full investigative report at CBS Boston