WEST ROXBURY (CBS) – Al Wentworth says it has been a nightmare since his wife Marilyn was killed in a busy West Roxbury crosswalk on Centre Street three weeks ago, right before his eyes.
“I kept yelling, ‘Marilyn, I love you. Marilyn, I’m here with you.'” But she never regained consciousness.
She was just crossing Centre Street for coffee when he heard the thump. The driver said solar glare was the issue. “It was like my life was taken right out of me, life was just sucked out of me,” said Wentworth.
The family says the crosswalk has been the scene of too many accidents – on the four-lane roadway in a business district where drivers are often speeding and pedestrians struggle to cross. “The sad thing is it’s so preventable. Something could have been done in advance,” said her son Matthew Wentworth.
Boston City Councilor Matt O’Malley is among those pushing for a traffic study to make design changes to the road. “I think it’s width, it’s speed – people don’t know it’s also 25 miles an hour in the city.”
Already new crosswalk signs have been posted and police enforcement stepped up.
But, the family says, a design change to reduce the street from four lanes to two would make it safer for pedestrians. “They can go halfway, stop at a safe spot, and go the other half of the way,” said Matthew Wentworth.
The push is all in the name of Marilyn, a breast cancer survivor who, her family says, has proved her strength and has strengthened them. “We want to save more lives, we don’t want to see a repeat of this,” said Al Wentworth.
Boston police say in the last month they’ve nearly doubled the number of citations for drivers who fail to stop for pedestrians in crosswalks, but the Wentworths are looking for real change. “Drivers ignore signs; they drive distracted. Enforcement is great, but you can’t just use it after the fact,” said Matthew Wentworth.
Al Wentworth says he returns to the crosswalk nearly every day. “These were my last moments with Marilyn.” He says pushing for safety helps him heal.
The preliminary findings of the Centre Street design study are due in June.