Broadway Crossing Safety Discussion Continues

The Highway Safety Committee continued to look for ways to improve safety at the intersection of McAllister Court and East Broadway, while recognizing that education and enforcement are the best answer.

At its May 19 meeting, the committee continued a discussion on the intersection and downtown safety in general. The most recent catalyst was a letter from resident Brad Russell, dated April 2, in which Russell discussed the situation with crossing Broadway (Route 102) in front of the Professional Martial Arts Academy. Russell cited several recent incidents where motorists narrowly missed pedestrians, including his girlfriend and her son.

The committee tabled the issue until Superintendent of Operations Alan Cote got the results of a study of downtown lighting.

Cote said downtown lighting has always been at a lower level than the Federal Highway Administration (FHA) recommends. “The question is, how do we fix it?” he asked.

The LED lighting installed last year focuses down, which is better than the former incandescent bulbs did. “It is the same basic ‘halo’ but less glare,” Cote said.

Some residents have told him the LED lights are “too bright,” Cote said. But, he added, they are the same lumen output as the previous ones.

The decorative street lamps were installed in 2000, and the lighting has always been under the FHA standard, Cote said.

Cote said that vertical lighting, from the top down, is better for spotting people at night. Lighting from behind causes a silhouette effect and they are not as visible, he said.

But it might not be a lighting issue, Fire Chief Michael Gagnon said, pointing out that the latest incident Russell referred to happened at 6:15 p.m. In April, when it was still light.

Police Chief Ed Garone said pedestrians trying to cross may be hidden behind the diagonal parking space in front of Santander Bank.

Cote said enforcement and education are the best way to reduce pedestrian risk. “We need to educate people,” he said. “Stop, look, wave, then cross.”

“The problem has been here a long time,” Cote said. “It will not be solved overnight.”

The committee tabled the issue once more.