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Tufts Student in Critical Condition After Getting Hit by Car

Police are searching for witnesses.

Update, 12:30 p.m.: No charges have been filed at this time against the driver in a pedestrian accident that sent a Tufts student to the hospital in critical condition, according to an announcemnt from Somerville Police.

Police are still looking for witnesses.

They believe there was a pedestrian at the intersection who may have seen the accident. They also believe there was a car traveling in the opposite direction at the time of the accident. (The original article, below, suggested the other car was traveling in the same direction.)

Original story:

A 21-year-old Tufts student who lives in Somerville was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital Thursday night and is in critical condition after getting hit by a car at the intersection of Powder House Boulevard and Packard Avenue.

The accident happened shortly before 8:20 p.m., and Somerville Police are looking for witnesses to the accident, according to police.

The driver of the car who hit the student, also a Somerville resident, cooperated with investigators, police said, but they believe at least one more person was standing at the intersection when the accident took place and that another vehicle was driving behind the car involved in the accident.

Anyone with information should call (617) 625-1212, police said.

Warren Dew November 18, 2012 at 11:57 PM
The reason professionals live in west Somerville is exactly because it's fairly car friendly. Adding more traffic lights is the wrong way to go - what you want is to make traffic move more smoothly in east Somerville. Nor are speed bumps realistic on through streets like Powderhouse - and they would likely exacerbate the problem at Powderhouse and Packard, because the problem tends to be people who are unfamiliar with the intersection, where a traffic bump would just cause them to lose control of their car and take out more pedestrians.
Warren Dew November 19, 2012 at 12:00 AM
Requiring bicycle licensing might be a good idea.
Mark Kaepplein November 19, 2012 at 12:29 AM
Getting more professionals in requires pricing low income people out. This is the plan for Broadway east of McGrath Hwy. Broadway will become a narrow way of two lanes and bike lanes with sidewalks up to 30 feet wide. The old theater saved by pottery artists is going condo as much of the neighborhood will. The Green Line Extension is a gentrification project as higher income people greatly prefer rail over bus transit. Again, developers will profit from taxpayer funds, condo developments will go in, other rents and housing costs will increased, and low income people will have to move out. Speed bumps and too many traffic lights often result in drivers driving faster in order to make up for the time they lost. Speed bumps slow fire truck, ambulance, and police response, and wear out those vehicles more quickly. Snow plow drivers don't like them much either. Standards allow speed bumps only below certain traffic levels and are generally discouraged. Speed tables are preferred. Another option is a speed table the whole intersection - it is raised to sidewalk level.
Ron Newman November 19, 2012 at 12:38 AM
Re: "The old theater saved by pottery artists is going condo" Huh? What makes you think Mudflat is going away? They just opened in that old theatre a year ago.
SomervilleGirl November 19, 2012 at 12:49 AM
Warren, I never suggested cutting down your trees. You should be asking the city to trim them down so the lights will shine on Powderhouse Blvd. The road is too dark. If there are two bulbs burned out, why haven't you contacted the city? It's the responsibility of residents to inform the DPW/Aldermen when lamp posts are out. The east section of city traffic has absolutely nothing to do with the west side. And your comment about the car losing control when it hits the speed bump is absurd. The only reason I see that the residents would banned together to keep the road from being properly developed for safety, is to increase their ever-so-precious home values. I'm disappointed in that type of behavior because it does not consider the lives of other, only those who subscribe to a false sense of entitlement & self-interests. Some things are much more important--like saving a life, preventing serious accidents which require the jaws-of-life, among other things like lawsuits effecting taxes. I know that road very well. It has not changed much in over 5 decades, still a beautiful road, one of the few left in our city which is why I prefer to walk my dog there & through roads by Tufts. It remains as an old country road--explains its appeal to potential buyers. But I have seen how fast cars drive by there at night & I know how dark that road is with all those trees which hover over street lamps. A permanent light would change all that. It would become METRO.
SomervilleGirl November 19, 2012 at 01:12 AM
Gentrification does not last forever--boredom sets in quickly after all the demands and toys have been implemented. I'll be around long enough to see it all changed back to it's original state. Enjoy it while it lasts. I just hope that all those empty condo's and businesses won't tank the city budget when they pack up and leave town to start families in Stepford. I also hope we continue to prevent fatal accidents over what is best for the roadway and self-interests of homeowners. Those not experts in traffic, only bicycle lanes is the issue and it's time concerned residents try to find out on their own, just what is needed to keep people safe on the roads. I have a close friend who is a MSP--he has stated that is MOST CASES, when accidents occur with bicyclists it is their fault, not of the motorist. He would know because those officers under his command must deal with gruesome discoveries, hellish ordeals, then to share with loved ones. I am a person who cares about human life and unless we stand up to the absurdities of others who think differently, because none of this ever effects them, we are no better. NOT- Ignoring situations as these takes courage and the will to think outside of one's own comfort zone.
Mark Kaepplein November 19, 2012 at 02:14 AM
Please come to one/both of the last few public hearings on "Our Transportation Future". Cyclists are at these things all the time (announced on their web sites) calling for more bike lanes and fewer evil drivers. The silent majority needs to show up and speak up! I will be there along with other Arlington residents fighting against narrowing Mass Ave. November 27, 2012 6-8 PM McGlynn Middle School Auditorium 3002 Mystic Valley Pkwy Medford, MA 02155 November 29, 2012 6-8 PM Massachusetts Transportation Building Conference Rooms 1,2,3 10 Park Plaza Boston, MA 02116
Warren Dew November 19, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Thanks for the info, Mark. Not a great time given my working hours, but I'll try to make it.
Warren Dew November 19, 2012 at 02:51 AM
What makes you think I haven't contacted anyone about the lights? And looking out my window I see they seem to have been fixed - given the timing, perhaps as a result of this accident. Safety is not the same thing as making things as bad for cars as possible. As has been pointed out by Mark, Ron, and myself, safety does not require a full traffic light here - just something to slow traffic so they know there's an intersection, such as a four way blinking red. If it's one of the few beautiful roads left in Somerville, that would seem to be reason not to change it any more than necessary.
SomervilleGirl November 19, 2012 at 04:44 AM
I have a better idea for you-- Why not appeal to the Alderman & Mayor, ask them to turn your road into a private way, block off entrances from Rt. 16 & Rotary. That way, you can have the entire area to yourself, Mark,& the merry-bicyclists who desperately need a permanent Sunday's at Memorial Drive speedway. What you fail to understand is this--when you buy a house in the metro area or back country road--you only have rights to that foot print. You are not the property owner of said road, your neighbors house, their mulch, their trees or their pine cones. You are only a homeowner, please start behaving as one. These decisions are not solely yours to make, nor are they mine or any one person or small body of neighbors. They are made by a larger group of people hired to do this as their profession and we are only able to provide LOGICAL suggestions which would help make the road safe, not make your life better or keep your home value at its highest. This is the behavior I have talking about which we don't need in our city--it is small minded and inconsiderate of others. Until people learn to mind their own business and realize the world does not revolve around them and their bike lanes or small foot print of a home, then maybe we as a community can bridge these gaps of ignorance and finally begin to work together on common goals. Until then, please refrain from your addressing your annoying comments at me. They serve no constructive dialogue or purpose of further discussion.
Warren Dew November 19, 2012 at 05:04 AM
Why would I want to block the road off from route 16 and the rotary? You're the one who is arguing to make the road less useful to the motorists who are the vast majority of those that use it, not me.
Jamie O'Keefe November 19, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Shifting the light from a blinking yellow/red to a four way blinking red (with more signs) would be a worthwhile test, and should cost the least amount (besides no change of course). We could certainly try it for a year or two and see if the probability of accidents declines. If it doesn't, then we could consider other options. My guess would be that there would be resistance from the city to such a change as it would slow down the flow of traffic on that street. In terms of people speeding down Powder House Blvd., perhaps putting up one of the "You are going this fast" detectors half way down to the rotary. Speaking of rotaries, on a trip to Northern Ireland, I had the pleasure of driving in a number of rotaries there. While they don't have stop lights, we might look at what they do in thinking about redesigning the Powder House Rotary. They tend to have two lanes, with the inner lane being used for going over 2/3 of the way around and the outer lane being used to access the exits on the first 2/3. It worked really well. Of course that could also be polite Northern Ireland drivers.
Jamie O'Keefe November 19, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Hi Warren, I believe that SomervilleGirl was suggesting that the trees be trimmed not cut down.
AHM November 19, 2012 at 03:26 PM
That's really how it is supposed to work here. Not the crisscrossing demolition derby they do there now. People either don't know or don't care who has the right of way there. Then to make it worse they have to go faster. No rules or courtesy there. It's unlikely you will go around that rotary without at least seeing one stupid thing happen each and every time. I am in a hurry also, but I want to get there in one piece and not hurt anyone. Don't want to live with that last one.
Mark Kaepplein November 19, 2012 at 04:47 PM
Are you calling me a bicycle advocate? That would be too funny as I am infamous among them for being anti-bike! I'm for safety and efficiency. Most of the things making roads less efficient are worthless at making them safer, including having bike lanes instead of wider travel lanes. I also want to get the state laws changed so they do have to actually pay for tickets and they cost as much as those for motorists, including having insurance surcharges. Only then will bicyclist behavior improve. Anybody want to help me? Need to work with our state reps.
Sand Man November 19, 2012 at 06:38 PM
SomervilleGirl, Note that City Hall was finally pushing a bike safety campaign back in April due to constituent complaints, and there was some enforcement...but both the campaign and the enforcement evaporated over the summer--just as the Hubway bike rental made its debut in the city. Ah, timing is everything, isn't it? And now, well into the fall, with the Hubway in full swing, still no sign of the vaunted bike safety campaign, or enforcement--City Hall is pushing NEITHER! If anyone tells you there is enforcement, check out the volume of sidewalk cyclists, especially in Union Square--endangering especially the safety of seniors and people with disabilities. So that is the Administration's agenda--cozy up to the cyclists, ignore public safety, and run the motorists off the road....
Mark Kaepplein November 19, 2012 at 09:04 PM
Ron, Mudflat had announced that they were moving to another location on the street. Both the theater conversion and studio move were announced some time ago. I've not checked to see if they happened. So, just to be clear, the road will be one lane in each direction with bike lanes for the most part. Replacing old water lines under the road is part of the project and is paid with city funds, so may have gotten delayed - these things take time. There were no Brazilians at the public meeting I attended, BTW.
Ron Newman November 19, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Mudflat moved to the former Broadway Theatre last year and held their grand opening in September 2011. To my knowledge, they are thriving. I don't know why you would claim that the theatre "is going condo". The former Mudflat building is becoming home to Connexion Church, formerly College Ave United Methodist Church.
Mark Kaepplein November 19, 2012 at 09:54 PM
http://www.thesomervillenews.com/archives/12045
Ron Newman November 19, 2012 at 10:14 PM
That Somerville News article is inaccurate in describing the Mudflat project as including housing. Mudflat takes up all of the building except for two commercial storefronts (one of which currently holds the Somerville Police East substation).
AHM November 19, 2012 at 10:31 PM
I saw some construction at Mudflat and was wondering what was going on, could not figure out what they were doing. The construction going on makes it one lane right now. That's not going to work for sure. I can see that being a huge problem down the line. Going by I see the detail there busy looking down with hands on phone very busy until he happened to look up and had to get busy to clear things up that were going on.
SomervilleGirl November 20, 2012 at 12:52 AM
Sand Man, I hear you--the only logical explanation for this is--some special interest group is throwing a ton of money at the bicycle project. Maybe the city is getting some tax incentives. I'd like to know, wouldn't you? Every time there is an accident on the roadway, it is costing the taxpayers--whether it be a pedestrian, bicyclist, motorcyclist and motorist--each time, there are considerations of law suits. Some will lie, just to make a buck, get on disability or just freeload. And they come in all shades. Another poster shared a bicyclist had collided with his vehicle and was found at fault, but still managed to sue his insurance company for $25k and he wasn't even injured? How does this happen? I'm betting he bought himself a brand new bike with the proceeds and gear to go. While insurance premiums go up for the rest of us who drive with caution.
Jamie O'Keefe November 20, 2012 at 04:53 PM
Talked with Matthew of Traffic and Parking who noted that they have added fluorescents used on the sign poles that proceed the intersections, new thermoplastic line painting (xwalks and double yellows) and extra largestop signs and PED signs. He was very quick to respond, and I certainly appreciate that. He also noted that they are exploring improvements to all the intersections in the Tufts area, the any proposals they come up with are shared at the Resistat meetings in the neighborhood. There was a Ward 7 meeting on 10/27 and a Ward 6 meeting on 11/15. Future meetings should be posted at: http://somervilleresistat.blogspot.com/ Though the programs look pretty full for only a few hours.
Courtney O'Keefe November 20, 2012 at 06:23 PM
You all could also request a community meeting on the issue, include both the Ward 6 and 7 Aldermen, Matt Dias, and the Aldermen at Large.
Chris Orchard (Editor) November 20, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Boston.com has an article about Tufts University commissioning a traffic study at that intersection: http://www.boston.com/yourtown/news/somerville/2012/11/tufts_promises_improvements_at.html?camp=localsearch:on:twit:HLsomerville&dlvrit=155349
Jeff Murray December 05, 2012 at 10:15 PM
I hate to say it but anyone who gets hit at this intersection has only themselves to blame!!!!. i cant tell you how many times i drive around tufts just to see STUPID kids darting out into traffic,runners just running across streets without looking or dumb as students jumping into cross walks without looking... and they do it WORSE AT NIGHT!!!!! at least 3 times a day i slamonmy breaks for some idiot not paying attention to ANYTHING!!!!!!!!.. i saw three 5 minutes ago.. blasting headphones... walking across a major road like its not even a road... they simply are oblivious!!!!!... its not the drivers its the dumb people who just blast intoroads!!!!!!!!!!!!!...one of the first things i ever learned was to "look both ways before crossing"... NOBODY AROUND TUFTS DOES THIS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ITS SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO ANNOYING im surprised 10 people arent hit daily!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!.. get your heads out of your ass people!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Mark Kaepplein December 05, 2012 at 10:41 PM
Jeff, clearly you did not get the memo. Adults are now considered to be like children and thus never responsible for their own safety, only others. Bicycling and walking advocates have determined that motorists are always at fault no matter what stupid and illegal things they do.
Warren Dew December 06, 2012 at 07:12 AM
I'd be skeptical of any conclusions from a university funded study, as they're hardly an objective party here.
RWB December 30, 2012 at 05:09 PM
What's the condition of the Tufts student who was hit on Packard Ave? Does anyone know? I haven't seen any update about his condition. I've seen cars race through Davis Sq. and on Elm St. Speed traps should be set up more often to ticket and stop these reckless drivers. A big jump in their car insurance rate will make them think twice about speeding. RWB
Warren Dew April 01, 2013 at 06:51 AM
Just wanted to update people on this. The city changed the intersection to a 4 way blinking red a few days ago, as suggested by Ron above and seconded by several of the rest of us, and put 1-2 cruisers at the intersection for a couple days straight to, uh, "remind" people who didn't notice the change. I have to give this to Curtatone: when he does realize there is a problem and there is a reasonable fix, he does fix things rather than ignoring them.

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