Further Safety Improvements Considered for Codman Island

In the aftermath of another vehicular accident at Codman Island, the Beacon Hill Civic Association (BHCA) has again partnered with the city to explore further safety improvements to the small, triangular garden at Charles and Beacon streets.

According to Boston Police, on Nov. 10 at around 3:30 a.m., a grey Mercedes struck the center traffic island before the driver and a passenger allegedly fled the scene in another vehicle. The Mercedes struck two poles and a tree on the traffic island before becoming lodged several feet off the ground between cement blocks and the downed poles and tree. No injuries were reported. Damages to the island are estimated at between $26,000 and $27,000, according to Keeta Gilmore, president of the BHCA board of directors.

On Dec. 5, Gilmore, BHCA Chair Steve Young and additional Civic Association representatives met with Boston Transportation Department Commissioner Tom Tinlin, Captain James Hasson of Area A-1 and other city officials to discuss proposed modifications to improve safety conditions at the site.

“One idea was to get electricity for landscape lighting, possible on the trees,” Young said. “Reflectors on the bollards are the only source of light on the island itself. What can be done quickly and with low cost and without construction is to put lights on the 10-foot sign down Charles Street.”

Other proposed changes include installing bollards at the smaller traffic island with a direction signal to more clearly mark onto Beacon Street in both directions, adding LED lights to existing signage to improve visibility and changing the cycles of traffic lights located in the middle of the Boston Common. Another modification suggests raising the platform in the island’s central area, although Young indicated that would likely come as part of a future phase of the project.

Earlier modifications to the traffic island were made following a tour of the site in December of 2010 by Tinlin and other city officials toured at the request of the Civic Association, City Councilor Mike Ross and a concerned neighborhood resident.

The city subsequently installed cement-filled bollards around the perimeter of the island, changed the traffic light cycle, removed three metered parking spaces to eliminate a pinch-point, improved signage and made additional visibility improvements.

“We had an area that was deemed unsafe, but we’ve made great strides working with community to improve it, and now, we want to take it to next level,” Tinlin said. “It is important to know where we were, where we are and where we want to go.”

Moreover, Tinlin acknowledged his gratitude to BHCA for participating in this process.

“We are happy to have neighborhood partners like the Civic Association to help us guide us in these things,” he said. “This is how government is supposed to work, and we’re just happy to be involved in it.”

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