West Roxbury residents say Centre Street is dangerous, plead for changes

Residents plead for change at dangerous West Roxbury intersection

BOSTON — There are still flowers at a West Roxbury crosswalk where a woman was killed earlier this year on Centre Street.

Residents say it’s a dangerous road and they’re pleading for changes. People who live and work around it say it's a scary road and despite all the stores and restaurants, it’s not a fun place to be if you’re on foot or on a bike.

"A lot of times, you’ll see people try to cross the street, you’ll have one lane that stops and the next lane doesn’t," Brandon Battite said.

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Battite works in the Real Deal Deli, feet from where Marilyn Wentworth was killed in February. Every time he looks out the window, he’s reminded someone lost their life just trying to cross the street.

"Sometimes it can be pretty dangerous," Battite said.

There are nearly a dozen crosswalks on this stretch of Centre Street through West Roxbury, with a lot of foot and bicycle traffic mixed in with all the cars and trucks. Longtime residents like Denise Clifford say it’s not always a fun place to walk.

"It’s just more cars," she said. "People are in a hurry, they’re trying to get  to work.”

It’s gotten so serious, a group of residents created a Facebook group and wrote a letter to the city pleading for changes. They’re asking for fewer lanes of traffic, improved crosswalks and protected bike lanes.

The one suggestion we heard over and over again was installing a blinking crosswalk light like the one on nearby LaGrange Street. It works like this: if you want to cross the road, you press a button. Then a light goes off and let’s traffic know that you want to cross.

Battite says that’s the first thing he would add to Centre Street: blinking lights at every crosswalk.

"Yeah, I think that would be the best change that they could make," he said.

Thursday evening, hundreds packed the Holy Name Parish School to demand a safer crosswalk, including Wentworth's son Matthew and husband Al.

"She was struck and killed by a wreck-less driver, still hard for me to say and comes to grips with," Matthew said.

Al was shaking as he talked about his wife of 42 years.

"I kept talking to her, I'm with you. I'm with you," he said. "I'll never get over it, never get over it."

We did reach out to Boston’s transportation department but we didn’t hear back by this posting.