For some time now, the Town of Marion has actively sought the State’s attention regarding ongoing Route 6 traffic and pedestrian safety concerns, which this month resulted in State Representative Bill Straus calling on the Massachusetts Department of Transportation administrator to personally meet him on Marion’s roadways.
“As a result of safety and maintenance issues which have been directly addressed to me by Town residents over the last several months, I asked Jonathan Gulliver, the MassDOT Administrator, to come to Marion and meet with me,” Straus wrote in a recent letter to the Board of Selectmen. “I wanted him to get a first-hand look at some of the Route 6 problems which currently exist.”
As a result of that visit, Gulliver’s staff will be reviewing specific Route 6 areas of most concern in the year 2018.
First, the intersections of Spring Street and Converse Road will be studies to ascertain whether the existing traffic patterns provide optimum safety for vehicle crossings and entrance to traffic flow.
Also slated for review are the paved sidewalks on the south side of Route 6 and whether the unpaved adjacent sidewalks to the south side of Route 6 near Tabor Academy are within the state layout and could be paved.
General sidewalk maintenance and upkeep of existing sidewalk areas along Route 6 will also be reviewed, with the state looking at early steps to remove vegetation overgrowth and other possible maintenance projects for 2018 to improve pedestrian accessibility.
Furthermore, MassDOT will assess East Marion traffic speed where the effectiveness of the temporary electronic speed signage has been helpful.
“This has been a persistent concern,” said Straus, “…I therefore asked that MassDOT consider that this type of electronic signage be permanently installed.”
“I will continue to update the Board and the community as I hear of the progress of these steps,” Straus assured the Town.
Selectmen responded with enthusiasm, with Selectman Steve Gonsalves furthering the conversation, commenting on possible signage displaying penalty fees for not stopping for pedestrians at certain busy Route 6 crosswalks.
“I’m glad to see some progress,” said Gonsalves, “because it’s been a sore spot and a fear in my gut for years of living there for twenty-one years, [so] thank God there’s some progress.”
By Jean Perry