Message from the Director
September 16, 2013
The men and women of the Department of Public and Environmental Safety (DPES) extend a warm welcome to the Class of 2017 and a welcome back to our returning undergraduate and graduate students, as well as Tufts faculty and staff. We hope the summer months provided you with some rest and time with family and friends.
As the academic year gets underway on the Medford/Somerville campus, DPES would like to tell you about some improvements that we have made and will continue to make for the safety of pedestrians who travel in and around campus.
Response and Partnerships
Tufts University’s senior leadership and the Tufts University Police Department continue to work together with the cities of Somerville and Medford to improve the safety of pedestrians in and around campus.
We determined the actions needed and the areas that would be targeted for improvement by analyzing crash data, identifying trouble spots through two surveys of the university, conducted in the spring of 2012, and by consulting with professionals in the field of transportation safety.
In order to reduce the number of incidents involving motor vehicles and pedestrians in and around campus, we continue to engage in a concerted effort to improve pedestrian safety using engineering, education and enforcement. We continue to work together with key stakeholders to take actions that:
1. Reduce crashes involving motor vehicles and pedestrians
2. Create a safer pedestrian climate in and around campus
3. Raise community awareness of the importance of pedestrian safety
As we did in 2012, and as we continue to do in 2013, Tufts joined in partnership with the cities of Medford and Somerville to improve pedestrian and crosswalk safety throughout and around the Medford/Somerville campus by:
1. Painting all crosswalks
2. Assuring that new approaching pedestrian crossing signage and pedestrian crossing signage remains in place
3. Changing out old pedestrian and other safety signage and replacing it with highly reflective, highly visible signage
4. Paring back foliage that inhibits illumination of intersecting ways and crosswalks
5. Repairing out of order street lights
Powderhouse Boulevard and Packard Avenue
The City of Somerville, working in partnership with Tufts and its traffic engineer, improved pedestrian safety at this intersection by installing 4-way stop signs and increasing police and parking enforcement at peak use periods.
In addition, in 2013 Tufts is sponsoring the installation of 4-way curb extensions, which decreases the amount of time pedestrians need to cross the street and forces approaching motor vehicles to slow down as drivers approach the crosswalk. We expect that the re-construction of the intersection will start at the beginning of October and take about a month.
Powderhouse Corridor Study
Tufts has employed a professional traffic engineering firm to study Powderhouse Boulevard, from Powderhouse Circle to Packard Avenue. The firm is charged with making recommendations to Tufts and the City of Somerville that will improve pedestrian, bike and motor vehicle safety along the corridor.
Tufts is in the planning stages of improving pedestrian and bike accessibility to 574 Boston Avenue, the university-owned building that is being renovated for use by the Tufts community. Part of this project will include having a traffic engineering firm evaluate and make recommendations for improving pedestrian and bike safety at the intersections of Boston and College Avenues; College Avenue and Professors Row; College Avenue and Talbot Avenue; and Professor’s Row, from College Avenue to Curtis Street.
Past Significant Improvements
Professors Row and Packard Avenue
In the summer of 2012 Tufts funded major re-construction of this intersection through the Vice President for Operations and Facilities Services. The improvements included the installation of a “speed table” to slow traffic approaching the intersection, new curbing and fencing that improved pedestrian sight lines, and the installation of new crosswalks and stop signs.
In an effort to raise awareness of pedestrian safety in and around campus, TUPD has made available a short video that encourages pedestrians to practice good safety habits. The video focuses on the risks of distracted walking, where pedestrians are paying more attention to other activities – such as talking or texting on smartphones and listening to music with headphones — than they are to crossing streets with caution. The video points out what most pedestrians don’t realize: that drivers, too, are often distracted by the same activities.
We encourage you to view this video, which was produced and directed by Tufts staff and features Tufts students, TEMS, Armstrong Ambulance, Tufts Police and the Dean of Students All of these folks have one thing in common: They are concerned for the safety of you and other community members.
Again this year, beginning soon after matriculation and continuing through the early part of the semester, Tufts University Police have requested that both Medford and Somerville Police increase their presence on the streets adjacent to campus in order to provide a visible deterrent to speeding motor vehicles and to provide targeted enforcement of traffic laws and ordinances in order to reduce the number of motor vehicle crashes involving pedestrians.
Tufts University Police, when not answering emergency or service calls, will be staged at key intersecting ways on campus to reduce speeding and stop sign violations through their presence, and to assist pedestrians at peak hours.
The Department of Public and Environmental Safety would like to remind the Tufts community that motorists need to be vigilant of pedestrians and pedestrians need to be vigilant of motorists. Although motorists have more responsibility under the law when operating a motor vehicle on city streets, pedestrians have more at stake if struck by a motor vehicle.
We believe that through these coordinated efforts, in partnership with each other and with the cities of Medford and Somerville, we can reduce crashes involving motor vehicles and pedestrians. We ask that our students, faculty and staff do their part as they walk, bike or drive on and around campus: Please be fully aware, fully engaged, and fully committed to your own safety and that of others.
Have a safe and enjoyable year.
Kevin C. Maguire
Director of Public and Environmental Safety