Accident sends injured student to hospital

By Corinne Segal

Published: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Updated: Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Boston/College Ave. Intersection Josh Berlinger and Kristen Collins / Tufts Daily

A Tufts student was hit by a car at the intersection of Boston and College Avenues.

A Tufts student on Saturday at approximately 3:45 p.m. was struck by a motor vehicle while crossing the street at the intersection of Boston and College Avenues, raising concerns about the safety of the intersection.

The accident occurred when a vehicle took a right turn from Boston Avenue onto College Avenue, according to Tufts University Police Department (TUPD) Sgt. Robert McCarthy,

McCarthy, who could not disclose the identity of the student, said that the student suffered a broken ankle and a fractured jaw from the accident.  He was transported from the scene of the accident to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment. McCarthy indicated that he believes the student is still receiving care in the hospital.

McCarthy said the Medford Police Department was already present when TUPD officers arrived.

According to McCarthy, the driver of the vehicle lived in Medford and was not affiliated with the university. “It wasn’t a Tufts person driving the vehicle,” he said.

TUPD does not know the specific cause of the accident because Medford police conducted the investigation, McCarthy said. Contacts at the Medford Police Department could not be reached for comment.

Dean of Student Affairs Bruce Reitman and Director of Community Relations Barbara Rubel both said that there were problems with the organization of the intersection that made it difficult to navigate.

“What makes it difficult is that there’s quite a few streets coming together at odd angles,” Reitman said.

“I think that there are a number of things that make it particularly complicated, but principally it is the geometry of the intersection because it doesn’t come to a neat right angle,” Rubel said.  “It’s very hard to see where traffic is coming from.”

Rubel noted that this could be behind many of the accidents that have occurred at the intersection.

“There are a couple places where it’s very difficult to see what, if anything, is coming,” she said. “Even for a driver, it’s sometimes difficult to know who has the right of way.”

Reitman explained, however, that safety at the intersection has improved after traffic lights were installed there eight years ago.

“Before the lights were put in, there were many more accidents because it was kind of a free-for-all,” he said. “I believe it was just a flashing red light before. It’s better than it was. It was scary before, but it’s a lot more manageable now.”

Rubel said that the Medford Police Department, which performs safety evaluations for different intersections in Medford, has not found the intersection of Boston and College Avenues to be one of the most dangerous.

“I do know [that], as challenging as it is for us, it doesn’t rise to the level of the most dangerous intersections in Medford because the police actually gather that information,” she said.

None of the intersections deemed Medford’s most dangerous are located near campus, Rubel said.

Despite this, Rubel explained that Tufts has requested a state evaluation of the intersection’s safety before the Green Line extension’s expected 2014 completion.

“We’ve requested that they [evaluate] that because we think that automobile traffic is only going to increase, as well as pedestrians, if there’s a subway station there,” she said.

Reitman believes the intersection’s safety will receive more attention, since one of the new Green Line T stations will be built next to it.

“The next fix for it will likely happen with the Green Line extension — the whole thing will have to be reworked,” Reitman said. “Maybe that will provide an opportunity to entirely revisit how the intersection can work and make it safer.”