BOSTON - Before he even made them, Mayor Marty Walsh knew his comments to WGBH Radio would be controversial.
“This is where I'm going to get myself in trouble right now on the show,” Walsh said.
The mayor has made pedestrian safety a top priority in the city. Already the default speed limit has been lowered to 25 miles per hour, the city is installing protective bike lanes and evaluating raised crosswalks.
But according to Vision Zero Boston, since December of last year, 66 pedestrians have been hurt on Boston streets. Two of them have died.
Walsh wants to reduce the number of such incidents to zero and he says for that to happen, pedestrians also need to walk responsibly.
"Pedestrians need to be safe. Pedestrians need to put their head up when they're walking down the street. Take your headphones off. Cross in the crosswalk. Follow the lights,” he told WGBH.
Over the last several months, Boston 25 News has spotted many of these types of situations. Including pedestrians, crossing in the middle of the street, walking in between lines of traffic and ignoring the cross-walking lights.
With cameras rolling, Boston 25 News captured video of a pedestrian almost hit when a black SUV hit the brakes to avoid a collision.
"Our goal is to reduce fatalities down to zero but, again, we need help from people,” he said.
The mayor's comments sparked a backlash from some people who say it’s the city that should be doing more to protect pedestrians.
‘We want to reduce fatalities. We want to reduce accidents on the streets, and I care as much about the bicyclists, as I do about the pedestrians as I do about people driving. We want to make sure people get to where they get to, but they do it in a safe way,” Walsh said.
A protest vigil is scheduled fro Friday at 8:15 a.m. at City Hall Plaza and pedestrian advocacy groups plan to circulate a petition to deliver to the Mayor's office.
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