SPECIAL COVERAGE ON THE CORONAVIRUS
Young Boy Hit In Crosswalk At Plymouth River School
By: Kristen Arute, Hingham Current Staff, August 8, 2020
Hingham Current News File Photos / Kristen Arute
The community was heartbroken to learn that a young boy had been hit in the crosswalk in front of Plymouth River Elementary School (PRS) on Wednesday. According to a press release from the Hingham Police Department, the rising 4th-grader was leaving the school after having gone there to play with a friend. The boys had gone to PRS with an adult to rollerblade. They waited for cars in both directions to stop before they stepped into High Street.
A 61-year-old Scituate woman who was driving an SUV thought that the car in front of her was making a right-hand turn into the school and drove around the stopped vehicle striking the boy in the process. The 9-year-old suffered serious injuries and was taken by Boston MedFlight to Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston, and the driver was cited for Negligent Operation, Failure to Yield to a Pedestrian in a Crosswalk and Marked Lanes Violation. She will appear for a hearing at Hingham District Court. Hingham Police officers were assisted at the scene by the State Police Collision Analysis Reconstruction Section and Crime Scene Services.
The accident has prompted discussions among neighbors and on social media about pedestrian safety around town and in front of school buildings in particular now that the start of school is right around the corner. Residents in the PRS district have long been concerned about the intersection at High Street, French Street and Ward Street which is just a few blocks away from PRS. The school campus is used on a regular basis outside of school hours too. Tennis courts, basketball courts and a baseball field attract people from all over who seek recreational activity.
Sidewalks stretch along the length High Street on the opposite side of the road from PRS, so the crosswalk is a critical spot for schoolchildren as well as walkers, runners and bikers. Some are calling for increased safety measures in the form of solar-powered flashing lights that would alert drivers to the approaching crossing zone much like existing signage is designed to do. Others would like stoplights to be installed similar to the ones the town has in front of fire stations where pedestrians are able to press a button and wait for signals to control traffic. In the meantime, the Hingham Police department was recording rates of speed of passers-by on Friday, and flashing signs were erected in the area on both sides of the road on Saturday.
The Traffic Committee is a town committee that exists to assist Hingham residents and business owners with ways to alleviate traffic concerns. "The Traffic Committee does not have the power to implement changes," says the Committee's information on the Town's website, "but rather recommends proposals to the Board of Selectmen." The Traffic Committee has met twice this year, once in February and a second time in June.
The Traffic Committee recently applied for a grant to improve conditions on roadways around town. If the grant were awarded, the Committee, in its advisory capacity, would need to make a recommendation to the Selectmen. The Selectmen would then determine whether or not some of the funds could be directed toward making improvements in front of PRS.
The last time a stoplight was installed in Hingham was in 2007 when, after years of debate, lights were put in at the Free Street/Main Street/High Street intersection. During the April 2006 Town Meeting, $172,300 was appropriated from the budget, and the project was awarded to the lowest bidder. The plan also accounted for any future changes associated with Phase II of the Route 228 improvement project.
Traffic Committee members are appointed by the Board of Selectmen. According to the Town website, they include:
Chief Glenn Olsson, Chief of Police, Chairman
Sergeant Jeffrey Kilroy, Police Department, Representative for Chief G. Olsson
Deputy Chief William Powers, Fire Department, Representative for Chief Murphy
Randy Sylvester, Representative for the Department of Public Works
JR Frey, Representative for the Project Engineering Department
Daniel Miller-Dempsey, Term expires 6/30/2021
Matthew Person, Term expires 6/30/2022