Residents Push for Changes to Dangerous West Roxbury Intersection

A grieving family is raising concerns and calling for change at an intersection in Boston's West Roxbury neighborhood, where their loved one was killed last month.

Marilyn Wentworth, 66, was walking in the crosswalk at the intersection of Centre and Hastings streets back on Feb. 5 when she was hit by a driver who blamed solar glare. Her husband of 42 years was in the car waiting for her to run an errand and saw it happen.

“I heard a thump and then I looked and saw the car hitting Marilyn. She went flying into the air,” Al Wentworth said. “I just remember saying, ‘Marilyn, do you hear me? I love you.’”

His wife never regained consciousness. It is a tragedy Wentworth never wants to see another family go through, but says in order for that to happen, Centre Street has to change. He said the four-lane road lined with businesses has long been a problem for pedestrians trying to cross in front of speeding and distracted drivers.

“We need to do something about it,” Wentworth said. “It should have been done long ago.”

Since the crash, new signs have been put up and police are stepping up enforcement. In the last month, police have given out nearly twice the usual number of tickets to drivers failing to stop in the crosswalk.

Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley helped call for a traffic study that is now underway and could result in concrete changes to the street. Preliminary findings are expected by early summer.

“We’re going to look at possibly changing the street, going down to fewer lanes and buffered areas for cyclists, as well,” O’Malley said. “These are all ideas that are going to be incorporated.”

O’Malley and State Rep. Ed Coppinger helped host a community meeting on the topic that the Wentworth family attended. At the meeting, city leaders seeking input heard from other residents who have experienced their own close calls on the street.

“You can hear the skidding,” Rep. Coppinger said. “It’s dangerous. Something drastic has to happen.”

While it may be too late for Marilyn, the Wentworths said it is not too late to make the community safer.

“We won’t quit until it’s done,” Wentworth said. “I know Marilyn and this is what she would want me to do.”

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