City Taking Steps to Improve Safety Conditions at Codman Island

-By Dan Murphy

Codman Island at the intersection of Charles and Beacon streets.

Codman Island — the small triangular garden at Charles and Beacon streets — has a long history of accidents involving motorists, pedestrians and bicyclists, but the city is now taking steps to remedy this problem.

On. Dec. 17, 2010, Boston Transportation Department (BTD) Commissioner Tom Tinlin and other city officials toured the site at the request of City Councilor Mike Ross, Beacon Hill Civic Association (BHCA) Traffic and Parking Committee Chair Steve Young and a concerned neighborhood resident.

In response to public safety concerns raised at the walk-about, BTD spokesman Jim Mansfield said the city’s Public Works Department is installing additional cement-filled bollards around the perimeter of the island.

“As drivers are approaching the intersection, a larger sign with reflectors will be posted on a 10-foot pole and reflective tape will be added to the traffic signals themselves,” Mansfield said, adding that this work should be completed in the next couple of weeks.

Mansfield said longer term solutions include making “skip lines” on the roadway more visible, installing a “rumble strip” on Charles Street and removing two parking spaces to give drivers more turning width and better visibility as they approach the intersection.

“Lastly, we’re going to lower the approach speed to 25 miles per hour from 30 miles per hour as [drivers] approach the Public Garden,” Mansfield said.

Young commended the city on its response to the issue, adding that he hopes the new measures will promote safer driving after midnight.

“The meeting took place through the efforts of Councilor Ross’ office, Commissioner Tinlin and representatives from the Public Works Department who took the time to attend,” Young said. “It was highly productive and will hopefully reduce danger to pedestrians, the island itself and ‘early morning’ drivers.”

Ross was also optimistic that these steps could promote safer driving in the area, but added that the intersection itself might be the route of the problem.

“I hope the changes will bring a shift in behavior from what we’ve seen,” Ross said. “Obviously, if people continue to hit the island, there’s a problem with the configuration itself that needs to be changed.”

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