Pedestrian Death Prompts Officials to Look at Traffic Calming Measures

By John Lynds

He was known simply as ‘Mr. Kim” to residents and neighbors in Orient Heights Square. The gentle soul who ran Orient Heights Cafe, a small but popular Korean Food Restaurant in Orient Heights Square, was killed Saturday, April 16 while trying to cross Bennington Street at night with his wife.

While police say the incident is still under investigation and no charges have been filed, Mr. Kim’s death is part of a larger problem in Eastie.

“Speeding in East Boston is a problem,” said District 7 Community Office Sergeant Jimmy Martin. “We give out 500 moving violations a month here and Bennington Street is definitely a hot spot.”

The store owners death has prompted the city to take a look at how to better improve traffic calming measures throughout Eastie were speeding or unsafe intersections have been a historic problem.

Martin said last Wednesday, Boston Transportation Commissioner Gina Fiandaca, an Eastie resident, toured the neighborhood with police and other officials to look at unsafe road conditions and how to better improve them for pedestrians.

“They are seeing what they can do,” said Martin. “These could be just minor changes at intersections that make it easier for pedestrians to cross by narrowing the distance from one side of the street to the other. But it is a problem here.”

Mr. Kim was killed at 10:15 p.m. when he tried to cross the large and busy intersection where Bennington and Saratoga Street meet. The red sedan that hit him was traveling southbound on Bennington Street. Speeding traffic along this busy stretch of Bennington Street from the Revere line to Day Square has been a thorn in many residents’ sides for decades.

At numerous community meetings, local activists like Joanne Pomodoro, a Bennington Street resident herself, have stressed that something needs to be done immediately to begin slowing Bennington Street traffic down.

Just last month a 3-year-old child was struck on Bennington Street while ridding his tricycle. While the boy survived Pomodoro said these types of incidents are becoming all too common.

In one measure to slow down traffic in neighborhoods like Eastie, City Councilor Sal LaMattina testified at a hearing last week regarding the Council’s Home Rule Petition: An Act Concerning Speed Limits in the City of Boston.

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