Petru Sofio

  • Arlington installs bicycle safety improvements at fatal Mass Avenue intersection


    The intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Appleton Street has always been an awkward one, born from 1960s engineering standards. As bicycle and pedestrian traffic has increased over the years, the intersection has become more crash-prone. Attempts to improve the intersection from a 2012 road safety audit failed, and the intersection has stayed mostly the same for over 60 years. As an Arlington High School student, I ride through this intersection every day, and it’s been terrifying. 

    On May 5th, 2020, Charlie Proctor and his partner Allison were out on a bike ride, heading towards their Somerville home. As Charlie approached the intersection, a left-turning car from Massachusetts Avenue sped through the intersection and hit Charlie. Charlie Proctor was killed. 

    Since then, several similar crashes with bicycles and left-turning vehicles have occurred, prompting Arlington to look to redesign the intersection. Throughout the redesign process, advocates have been pushing the city to quickly implement a design that improves safety for bicyclists to prevent another fatality or serious injury. Finally, this month, Arlington implemented some short-term measures to increase safety for people on bicycles. I feel so much safer on this new corridor. However, this almost didn’t happen.

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