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Quincy councilors search for ways to protect pedestrians

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  November 21, 2012 01:50 PM

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Quincy pedestrians are being hit in higher numbers than ever this year, causing some city councilors to request more action from city agencies.

So far this year, the city has already matched the number of pedestrian accidents in 2011, with 71 occurring from January through mid-November. With more than a month left in the year, the city appears likely to exceed those numbers.

As a result of all the accidents, in a City Council meeting Monday, councilors requested that the Department of Public Works, recently merged with the Traffic Department, pay more attention on what they can do to reduce the pedestrian problems.

“Is there a more comprehensive strategy to look at some of these issues?” said Councilor Doug Gutro. “I feel like in some cases mentioned during the budget, there are some cases where folks just aren’t using the crosswalks. But I suspect that there are others where improvements could be made.”

Gutro said the city should be looking at a variety of issues within its control, including engineering discussions, the striping of the roadways, reducing solar glare, and new traffic signals.

According to DPW Commissioner Dan Raymondi, the city has already started that process, painting over all of the faded crosswalks that drivers may have not seen before or that pedestrians never noticed.

“It’s not a minor situation that we have painted all of these walks now, or the predominant ones in particular areas,” he said.

The city has also worked to paint traffic control signals to encourage pedestrians to use them and to alert drivers that pedestrians may be near.

“These are the minor things we can do as municipalities to make Quincy a safer place,” Raymondi said.

Regardless, Raymondi said he planned to sit down with both the city’s traffic engineer and the police department to figure out what has happened recently with accidents occurring around the city, and whether the DPW specifically can do anything to mitigate future problems.

The problem continues to be in the forefront of the mind of city officials, as in the weekend before the meeting, there had been three accidents involving pedestrians, two of which were fatalities.

In the days following the discussion, another pedestrian was hit.

The overarching concern was that the city work to stem these accidents in some way, Gutro said.

“This year, [there have been] at least four fatalities. Some can’t be helped, some require education, but I look forward to having you [look into it] … maybe what, in the months ahead, you’ve specifically targeted with the new authority you have to get some of the problematic areas that have pedestrian issues under control,” Gutro said.

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