Saugus,  September 28 2018

Saugus resident sounds off on traffic safety improvements the town could make

   (Editor’s Note: These are recommendations that Saugus resident Terri Lehane presented to the Board of Selectmen at the Sept. 12 meeting.)

 

RE: A Traffic Study for the Town of Saugus was mentioned at the BOS Meeting on June 25, 2018. The following are four views regarding Saugus traffic – plus information from a Mass DOT Road Safety Audit, July 25, 2017:

  1. Traffic at the Corner of Pearce Memorial Drive and Main Street.

It would help to prevent traffic accidents when traveling over the Route 1 overpass toward the corner of Pearce Memorial Drive and Main Street – to make Pearce Memorial Drive a one-way street going toward the High School/Middle School Complex.

Traffic leaving the HS/MS Complex can then be disbursed to the streets below (map enclosed).

Highland Avenue, Talbot Street, Vine Street, Denver Street, Main Street (further away from the Route 1 overpass), Central Street and Essex Street.

Saugus roads are heavily traveled with vehicles from Route 1 going through Saugus to Lynn, Revere, Malden, Everett, and Boston – and vice versa – and vehicles travel too fast going through Town.

It would be helpful if all speed limits in Saugus have a maximum of 25 miles/hour, except all school zones at 20 miles/hour – with new and many traffic signs posted throughout Town, along with digital mile signs at various locations.

Mass DOT Road Safety Audit

Broadway (Route 1) at Main Street, Essex Street and Route 99 Interchanges, Town of Saugus, July 25, 2017.

Prepared For: Mass DOT Highway Division – By Howard Stein Hudson – Engineers and Planners

“Howard Stein Hudson (HSH) has conducted a Road Safety Audit (RSA) at three interchanges along Route 1 (Broadway) in Saugus at Main Street, Essex Street, and Route 99 (Newbury Turnpike).”

“All three interchanges are considered High Crash locations and have been identified as Highway Safety Improvement Program (HSIP) crash clusters, top 5% within the region, based on data from 2012 to 2014.”

“Crash data was compiled for the three interchanges between 2009 and 2014 and a total of 408 crashes were reported.”

“At the Main Street at Route 1 interchange, 164 crashes were reported.”

“At the Essex Street at Route 1 interchange, 186 crashes were reported.”

“At the Route 99 at Route 1, 58 crashes were reported.”

Note: The above are just “crashes … reported.”

Since 2014, there are more vehicles on the roads, so crashes are likely to have increased.

  1. Curve Cut onto Route 1 from the HS/MS Complex.

There should NOT be a permanent Curve Cut onto Route 1 from the HS/MS Complex after the schools are built – this is too dangerous. The Curve Cut should only be temporary for construction vehicles while the schools are being built.

Reasons:

  • Students have newly acquired their driver’s license.
  • Route 1 is like the Indianapolis Speedway – traffic is fast and constantly changing lanes.
  • Traffic is not going to stop to let someone drive out of a Curve Cut onto Route 1.
  • Trying to drive out of a Curve Cut ahead of cars, trucks, oil or propane tankers, 18 wheelers or buses – is going to be quite a problem with a line of vehicles from the schools trying to exit the Curve Cut at the same time.
  • If a vehicle in the lane next to the “SLOW” lane crosses over quickly into the so-called slow lane and a car has already exited the curve cut, this could cause a terrible life-threatening accident – if not a fatality.
  • One such accident is one too many.
  • No school traffic should be allowed to exit onto a major, busy highway such as Route 1.

There was a traffic study done by Vanasse & Associates for the Town of Saugus and/or the HS/MS Complex regarding having a permanent Curve Cut onto Route 1 after the HS/MS Complex is complete – with a graph that showed traffic at certain times in the mornings and afternoons on Route 1 – having a lower traffic volume at the same time every day. I completely dispute this study – as it seems to have been made for the benefit of making the curve cut look safe – which it is not – when students leave school in the afternoons. There is never a “lower traffic volume” on Route 1 at the same time every day.

3. Stadium Traffic and Parking.

There is not sufficient parking for a 1250 seat Stadium at the HS/MS complex. The HS/MS Complex is designed for 300 Parking Spaces–not even sufficient parking for the HS/MS students and school personnel – and some of these spaces are around the back and next to the school buildings – which is a pollution and safety hazard.

Even if you cut the number of stadium attendees to 600, and 325-350 cars attend an event – there are not enough parking spaces.

Cars would have to park next to the school buildings, which should not be allowed, and all over the surrounding streets. There should not be any parking spaces allocated next to the schools.

You can’t just build a Stadium in a congested area without enough parking spaces.

The Stadium should be built elsewhere and all parking spaces for the HS/MS students and school personnel should be located to the left side of the complex – away from the schools.

There has to be another area in Saugus more suitable for a Stadium with less noise to surrounding residents – away from neighbors – and with enough parking spaces.

I hope there is someone who knows of land area in Saugus large enough to build a 1250 seat Stadium and parking lot.

I ask the Town of Saugus to look for a more appropriate location to build a 1250 seat Stadium in Saugus.

  1. Hamilton Street Traffic.

Hamilton Street is a very busy, heavily traveled street that connects Route 1 to Lynn, Revere, Malden, Everett, and people going into Boston – and from these same areas into Saugus, and vehicles are constantly exceeding the speed limit.

From Saugus Center to the top of Hamilton Street hill, there are two 30 miles per hour signs.

From the top of Hamilton Street toward Boston Street/Lincoln Avenue, there is one 25 miles per hour sign nearer the bottom of Hamilton Street. It makes better sense to make all of Hamilton Street a 25 mile per hour travel zone.

There used to be a yellow blinking traffic light at the top of Hamilton Street, but it has been gone for quite a while.

Over a year ago, I was driving up Hamilton Street from Boston Street – almost to the top of the hill – when a car came speeding down Hamilton Street toward Boston Street – flew off the road, and hit a mail box causing flying debris everywhere. I was driving beside that car when it landed – by some miracle – back on its own side of the road. The whole thing happened in a split second, and I could not have gotten out of the way of that speeding car if it had landed on my side of the street.

Thank you for allowing me to present my views on these traffic matters.

Terri Lehane

Burrill Street, Saugus

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