Imminent Death at Cambridge/Harvard Intersection

January 29th, 2010

Remember when Kelly Wallace died at the intersection of Cambridge Street and Harvard Ave in May, 2007? Well, that almost happened to me just now, and I’m sure I’m not the only one who has almost gotten creamed at this intersection in the past 3 years. MBTA Bus number 0721 was stopped at the bottom of the hill, letting passengers off, during the green light for Cambridge Street. I was waiting at the light facing the entrance to Harvard Ave. Just after the change, the instant the light turned red for Cambridge and an instant before it turned green for Harvard, I was about to kick off; my left side was facing the bus stop, so I couldn’t even SEE the bus as it jammed on it’s gas and roared through the intersection; THROUGH the red light. The only thing that saved me from being underneath it was probably the extra weight in my panniers and on my body (lunch, breakfast, and three extra layers because it’s 13f out there today!) My slow start brought me only within a nose-brush of the side of Bus 0721. This is not an uncommon sight. Red light running through the Cambridge/Harvard Ave. intersection is the norm, rather than the exception.

Since I do see this every day, and someone has indeed died at this intersection in the last few years, I am anxious to have something done about this. The sooner the better, considering my still hammering heart after my own brush with death.

I will be adding a transcription of my calls to the MBTA and the BPD later on today, as I am in a marketing meeting at the moment.

UPDATE: Ooh, watch as I create an infinite blog loop… don’t get sucked in!

I called the MBTA, left all my information and my complaint. Here is my response:

We appreciate your business and value your feedback.  A customer service
issue was logged on 2010-01-29 at 15:05:13

A tracking number of 02117797 has been assigned to this call.  Please
reference this number on any additional communications you may have
regarding this issue.

The information you provided has been forwarded to the appropriate group.
If additional actions are required, a member from that department will
follow up on your issue.

Should you have additional questions or concerns regarding this issue,
please contact the Customer Support Services at 617-222-3200 or
800-392-6100, Monday through Friday ,6:30 AM to 8:00 PM and Sat/Sun from 7:30 AM to 6:00 PM.

Many thanks to folk at UHub for correcting my Harvard Ave/Street confusion – I work at the end where it’s called “Street” 😛

Many middle fingers to the people who read the repost of my blog and wanted to make this a ‘bikers don’t follow the law’ issue. I was waiting at MY red light. I’m not going to rant about this now because frankly, it’s not worth it. A) you’re wrong, B) you’re a stool sample. End of story.

Just called the City of Boston transportation department, told them about my situation and this ongoing problem. This was their response:

“The city does not have any authority over the MBTA or it’s operations.”


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6 Responses to “Imminent Death at Cambridge/Harvard Intersection”

  1. bladeofthorns Says:

    Red light cameras can serve as a heavy deterrent for running lights by both MBTA drivers and other motorists. I feel that implementing these cameras would radically reduce the number of drivers who jump through intersections at the last moment. One of the most frustrating intersections in Boston is at Harvard Ave and Comm Ave where cars on Harvard try to cross as the light is changing to red but misjudge the width of the intersection (its two carriage lanes, four lanes of regular traffic and two sets of train tracks). I would guess that in three out of four light cycles, there is some motorist who “runs” the light and takes 8-10 seconds to cross the massive intersection holding up cars and the T and endangering cyclists and pedestrians who proceed on the green.
    Let’s get some red light cameras!

  2. grimlocke Says:

    I agree wholeheartedly, and have written letters about this myself, but I don’t feel that the administration thinks it’s a lucrative endeavor. I think that’s hilarious and ridiculous, personally, because if you gave out $100 tickets to the people only caught BY ME running red lights, you’d have at least $4,000 a week! This is why I really want to implement a ‘See Something, Say Something’ auto-emailing form for bikers, because if each of us whipped out a camera and snapped a photo of each of these transgressions, uploaded it to a form and whisked it off to our reps, they’d really get an idea of just how much cashola they’re missing every day. Meanwhile cyclists’ are squeezed off the road, pinched around corners, right hooked, left hooked, doored, blocked out of our lane by double parkers, and almost obliterated by MBTA busses running red lights. We can’t benefit from laws that arent’ being enforced.

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