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Somerville pedestrian accident site had been safety concern

Posted by Jarret Bencks  November 14, 2012 01:11 PM

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The intersection where a serious pedestrian accident occurred in Somerville last week was a subject of concern for officials and underwent a series of improvements aimed at pedestrian safety in recent months, a city spokesperson said Wednesday.

A 21-year-old Tufts University student was critically injured when he was struck by an SUV while crossing Packard Avenue at Powderhouse Boulevard about 8:30 p.m. Nov. 8. The victim remained in critical condition at Massachusetts General Hospital Wednesday, Deputy police Chief Paul Upton said.

Safety at the intersection was the focus of a meeting between Somerville Police and officials from Tufts in February 2012, city spokesman Thomas Champion said Wednesday. It underwent a series of improvements this spring and summer, including new stop signs, signage warning drivers of pedestrians, a repainting of the crosswalk, and branch trimming, Champion said.

In light of last week's accident, the city will again meet with Tufts officials later this week to discuss pedestrian safety around the edge of campus, Champion said. There have been no fatal accidents at the intersection since at least 2000, he said.

"There have been accidents there, but it is not one of the more frequent scenes of accidents in Somerville," Champion said.

Tufts spokesperson Kim Thurler said the university had been in touch with the victim's family, and it planned to work with Somerville officials moving forward.

"Tufts has reached out to City of Somerville officials to review the circumstances of this accident and ensure that we continue to work together to make the improvements needed to make this particular intersection, and the perimeter of campus generally, safer for pedestrians," Thurler said in a statement.

The accident remains under investigation and it hasn't been determined whether the driver will face charges, Upton said.

"Any charging decision will be made when that investigation is concluded," Upton said.

Jarret Bencks can be reached at Bencks.Globe@gmail.com.

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