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Vehicle Hits, Kills Pedestrian on Memorial Drive

By Dan McGuire
Editor in Chief

A pedestrian not affiliated withMITwas struck and killed while trying to cross Memorial Drive at around 2:30 p.m. on Monday.

The accident, which occurred near the intersection of Memorial Drive and Massachusetts Avenue, claimed the life of 49-year-old Larry Roach of Somerville. He was declared dead upon arrival at 2:55 p.m. at Massachusetts General Hospital.

No charges have been brought against the driver of the 1996 Ford pickup truck that hit him. "The accident will be investigated by the accident reconstruction unit, and they will determine whether there was enough evidence to warrant a citation," said Lt. Paul Maloney of the State Police's Department of Public Affairs.

Maloney said that the accident reconstruction unit has 120 days to submit a final report, although "they usually have a preliminary report before that".

Sgt. James Richie of the State Police said that the victim had been crossing the street from the river side. He said that the accident might have been caused by carelessness. "He just ran across the road. Someone told me he had been hanging signs. He must have not been paying attention."

The Campus Police were the first force on the scene. Officials from the Cambridge Police and the State Police later responded, said Chief of Police Anne P. Glavin.

Drive needs improvement

Memorial Drive was the scene of a tragic accident last term when Michele S. Micheletti '00 was killed at 6:45 p.m. on Oct. 31, while crossing Memorial Drive near MacGregor House.

In response to that incident and to larger concerns about the safety of Memorial Drive, the Institute has been trying to make crossing the street less risky.

"Clearly something needs to be done,"Glavin said. The lack of crosswalks combined with high speeds makes for dangerous conditions, especially at night.

"We have been gathering a lot of information and essentially doing a full-court press to try to clean up" the intersection at Massachusetts Avenue andMemorial Drive, said Director of Planning O. Robert Simha MCP '57.

MIT wants to "fully signalize" the intersection, Simha said. Under MIT's plan, all cars reaching that intersection would be required to slow down more than at present. "You'd be able to make more turns than you now can, but they'd all be under control," he said.

"It's impossible to control people that choose to cross the street anywhere, but there are certain minimum things that" one can do to make the streets safer, Simha said.

MIT has been meeting with the Metropolitan District Commission to push the plan, but the Commission has been reluctant to move forward. "They say they don't have the money to do it," Simha said. "We're trying to find a way to finance the implementation of that," he said.

Simha called the construction of an overpass, one possible solution to the problem, "very expensive [and] unlikely." "There are all sorts of problems with overpasses, the most of which is they don't get used. There is one on [Memorial] Drive on the other side of the BU overpass and you won't see anyone on it," he said.

Douglas E. Heimburger contributed to the reporting of this story.