Don’t block that intersection – it could cost you!

Over the past year, MASCO has worked with the City of Boston on a number of traffic improvements in the LMA. With the “Don’t Block the Box,” campaign started in the summer of 2012, MASCO installed signage at 15 intersections throughout the LMA informing drivers: “Do Not Block Intersection” and “State Law $150 fine.”  The goal is to remind drivers that they should not proceed through an intersection until there is room to clear the intersection. The city’s transportation department painted the intersections with pavement markings to delineate the enforcement zone.

City of Boston Transportation Commissioner Thomas J. Tinlin said, “I am pleased to have had this opportunity to partner with MASCO and the Boston Police Department to bring the ‘Don’t Block the Box’ Campaign to the Longwood Medical Area.  The campaign is an important strategy designed to both reduce congestion, and increase traffic and pedestrian safety.  BTD looks forward to continuing to work with MASCO to further improve transportation in the LMA in the years to come.”

To support the campaign, the Boston Police Department provided enforcement, and this summer more than 90 citations were issued. With continued BPD enforcement 3-4 days a week, MASCO has documented a reduction in amount of intersection blocking by nearly 50%. Click here for a map of the intersections.

Promoting Safe Commuting in the LMA
Safety in the LMA is always forefront in our minds, and certainly safe commuting options are crucial to our population. With more and more commuters cycling to the LMA, MASCO worked closely with the Boston Transportation Department and, last Spring, MASCO installed bike lanes on Brookline Avenue. “We have a lot of employees who commute on bikes, so we are particularly thankful for the work MASCO did to get bike lanes installed on Brookline Avenue. Safety is of paramount concern to all who live and work in the LMA, and the bike lanes are a welcomed added safety measure,” said Jim Smith, department manager, Parking and Commuter Services for Boston Children’s Hospital.

To ensure safety with the installation of the lanes, MASCO partnered with MassArt alumnae-owned Opus Design to create the Karma Commuting Campaign. This award-winning campaign aims to inspire LMA commuters to create good karma by acting responsibly in traffic and watching out for their fellow community members. As Phase I of the campaign ended, we had more than 2,000 LMA commuters sign our “safety pledge” to be safe and courteous commuters. Watch for Karma’s Phase II. Click here to see the Karma Commuting Campaign.

Flashing Beacons for Crosswalk Safety
The crosswalks on Longwood Avenue at Oscar Tugo Circle are two of the busiest crossings in the LMA. Because of numerous complaints about pedestrian safety and failure of cyclists and motorists to stop or yield there, working with the City of Boston and Harvard Medical School, MASCO has piloted a study to test the effectiveness of flashing beacons at the crosswalks.

“Essentially, a pedestrian can push the button on the beacon, just like pushing the button on a traffic light, and the crosswalk sign lights up to alert approaching cyclists and vehicles to yield for pedestrians waiting to cross the street,” said Tom Yardley, a MASCO Senior Planner.

“Our students and staff spend a lot of time walking around the LMA, whether to meetings, classes, hospital rotations, etc., and their safety while on campus is a priority for us,” said Bob Cristiano, HMS associate director for campus operations. “We asked MASCO to study the intersection and offer some recommendations for added safety. MASCO managed the design, engineering, approvals and installation for the flashing beacons, and we provided funding. We’re very pleased with the added safety feature,” he added.