St. Adelaide Church on Lowell Street in West Peabody is a busy place when mass is in session. According to a reverend at the church, as many as 400 people may come and go before and after services. While the church has one adjacent parking lot, the second lot is across the street. However, there is no traffic light or pedestrian light at the crosswalk, making for a dangerous situation if drivers aren’t paying attention.
Sadly, an elderly man died one afternoon late last month after being hit by a car in that very crosswalk. His tragic death prompted city councilors to hold a meeting last week to discuss how to handle the dangerous crosswalk. Several people have requested that a light be put in place to stop traffic for pedestrians, and the reverend said he could get a thousand people to sign a petition for one. Others, however, are not sure that will be enough.
Distracted driving and speeding on Lowell Street were both cited by parishioners and Peabody residents as serious concerns that may not be easily deterred by a traffic light. At the meeting, residents told stories of seeing people try to text and drive while passing through the crosswalk. Others said the road is so straight that many people driver faster than the speed limit.
While previous efforts to get a light installed at the crosswalk have been shut down by the state, the mayor of Peabody said he thinks the city can come up with some solutions that don’t need to be approved by the state. He suggested setting up a solar-powered trailer that would warn drivers when their speed was too high as something they could do before a traffic light is approved.
As Peabody residents and the city council work to find a solution to this very serious problem, hopefully local drivers will begin to understand the gravity of driving negligently in busy areas. If drivers make an effort to slow down and avoid distractions, the Lowell Street crosswalk and other areas of the city could become much safer for both pedestrians and drivers.
Source: The Salem News, “Lowell Street light urged,” Alan Burke, Feb. 13, 2013