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Selectmen's Meeting: Downtown Lights, Mudville

by Mary Greendale
October 1, 2018

During Public Comment time, Lesley Kennally of 32 Spring Street raised concerns about flashing lights downtown on the weekend, and Susan Woodrow and Tina Hein (photo) talked about traffic issues in Mudville.

Flashing Lights
Ms. Lesley Kennally told the Board of Selectmen that when the traffic lights are flashing yellow, the pedestrian lights don't work and that creates a very dangerous situation for walkers. 

But on Facebook yesterday, one person liked the flashing lights..."Loving the blinking lights downtown this morning. Made it through downtown in a 10th of the normal time. Keep those things blinking." Most folks writing on FB thought the situation was "dangerous and frustrating." The debate goes on - cars vs. pedestrians. 

In reality, the lights are not supposed to be flashing, according to Town Administrator Jeff Ritter. It seems there is a low voltage problem with Eversource. When there is a flux in the power, the lights automatically go to caution.

Ritter talked to engineers at McMahon (they designed the lights) yesterday morning and learned that the President of Central Massachusetts Signal responded to a call about the situation and reset the lights himself.  As of this morning, however, when Ritter talked with Joanne O’Leary at Eversource, she said that she was working with the engineering department to come up with a solution. 

Kennally told the BOS that she thought the pedestrian lights should be working whether the overhead lights are functioning or not. Ritter said he would look into that.

Mudville Traffic
Tina Hein admitted that she is frustrated by the fact that the traffic issues are still not resolved, after nearly two years of conversations with officials, and winter weather is coming soon. Parents are worried about children walking in the streets to get to school. The neighbors have two concerns - the volume of cars that are cutting through the neighborhood to avoid the lights and also the speed at which they drive.

An 18 wheeler did damage at 145 Union Street as the driver tried to negotiate the narrow corner onto Pleasant. (HollistonReporter.com learned later that the truck driver was looking for the Highway Department to deliver recycling bins - but he's a brand new driver and his GPS sent him through the warren of streets in Mudville. Poor guy.) Nonetheless, he's not the only truck that is using the neighborhood as a bypass.

Hein asked that the traffic study be designed with a cable to measure volume/number of cars and a second cable to measure speed. Currently the limit is 30 mph and the police will not ticket for anything lower than 9 miles over the speed limit. That is because judges throw the cases out of court. This results in people driving nearly 40 mph on streets where driveways are side by side and streets are not built as wide as today's developments.

A new law passed last year gives the BOS the authority to reduce the speed on town streets without state involvement if they follow certain procedures. Susan Woodrow of Union Street brought all the documentation that the Selectmen need to do that, and the two women asked that the Selectmen look at the speed issue immediately and not wait for the traffic count.

The Board did not commit.

 

 

 

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Comments (1)

We were going to buy on Pleasant street but missed out on a house by about a week. How much money are we going to spend on traffic studies........This is the future and its happening all over the country. Waze will avoid the backups at the lights and send traffic around. Your not going to beat technology.

Only solution is make the streets one way or no turns during rush hour. For example no right turn onto Pleasant street during the hours of 7 am to 9 am. Make an exception for school buses.

- Bill Littlefield | 10/3/18 7:37 AM

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