Active investigation continues
Investigators are continuing to call on the public for assistance in identifying the operator of the vehicle involved in Friday’s fatal hit and run in Somerville. Somerville Police working with the Middlesex DA’s Office are trying to locate a newer model, full-size, black pickup truck with front-end driver’s-side damage. The vehicle is believed to have a black cover over the bed of the truck and is possibly a Ford F-150. Anyone with related information is encouraged to contact the Somerville Police Department at 617-625-1600 ext. 7250 or 7254. Both phone lines are staffed 24/7 by sworn officers. Tips may be left anonymously through text. Begin your text message with 617spd and send it to TIP411 (847411).

Community Meeting to be announced
After the investigation has appropriately progressed, a community meeting will be held to discuss the incident, the intersection, traffic calming, and next steps. To ensure that public concerns are addressed, anyone with questions they would like addressed at the meeting or proposed topics for discussion is encouraged to contact transportation@somervillema.gov with their requests for the meeting. For context for the meeting, below is some background.

Powder House Blvd. has been the focus of an ongoing infrastructure improvement project including traffic calming features for roughly the past two years. The next phase of construction is scheduled for this spring for the section between Curtis Ave. and North St. Initial safety measures and traffic calming already complete along the length of the Boulevard include physical and painted sidewalk bumpouts (which improve pedestrian safety by shortening the distance required to cross the road and by slowing traffic), improved crosswalk markings, flashing stop and crosswalk signs, and vertical reflective crosswalk markers, as well as a flashing pedestrian activated crosswalk sign at the intersection near Hardan St., where the hit and run occurred.

Next phase traffic calming improvements announced in fall 2018 and scheduled for spring 2019 include sidewalk bumpouts at North St. to slow traffic approaching from Route 16 as well as the introduction of dedicated bike lanes along the length of the Boulevard designed to help protect cyclists as well as narrow the road, which is a proven tool for slowing traffic. Speed bumps and traffic tables were also scheduled for consideration for the next phase after completion of the bumpouts and bike lanes. The administration, like the community, is now seeking options to accelerate this phase of the improvement process.

In the interim, Somerville Police will be onsite during school pickup and drop-off hours, and additional enforcement of speed limits should be expected in the area by all motorists. Variable message boards are being deployed to reinforce speed limits and flex posts have been installed to reinforce the painted bumpouts and median at Hardan Street, thus helping to slow traffic.

To be sure you receive an announcement for the community meeting, please sign up for the City newsletter at http://www.somervillema.gov/newsletter.

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