SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

February 12, 2014

Board approves St. John's Prep's expansion plans

(Continued)

The negotiations resulted in the school offering $47,000 to a fund set up to construct a light at Summer and Maple streets. The town has plans to construct a traffic light there in 2017. A developer of an assisted-living facility in the area had already contributed $25,000 for a light there in 1999 during the prior permitting process, Nelson said after the meeting. The cost of the light is estimated at $450,000.

The school also agreed to contribute $13,000 to stripe the eastbound lane of Route 62 and make other improvements in the area to make it easier for cars to turn onto Nichols Street, which leads to Spring Street and the Prep’s campus. Some said cars already form a left lane there now.

The school also offered to pay for road paint and signage improvements to the intersection of North and Summer streets on its own.

These improvements would include a left-turn lane, but there are no plans for a traffic island on North Street, said Project Manager Vinod Kalikiri, a traffic engineer for Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc. of Watertown, the firm doing the traffic studies for the school.

McCann said the school was “very pleased that the town was able to work with us, and we came up with a very good mitigation plan.”

The school also plans to make traffic improvements on campus, consolidating crosswalks, changing the flow of parking lots and parent drop-off areas, and creating a curb cut on the northbound side of Summer Street for middle school buses. The middle school students will be in Brother Benjamin Hall, so they will not be crossing Summer Street as much. The school has purchased speed radar signs for Spring Street and will be providing crossing guards during peak hours.

Neighbors offered some critique of the traffic plan.

Resident John Clay asked why a light was not planned for Nichols and Summer streets, given that about 400 cars take a left across Route 62 traffic, and about 95 do so from Route 62 onto Summer Street.

Kalikiri said lights meant to help traffic turn left from a side street are given priority, and the light at Summer and Maple will do just that. A signal at Summer and Maple will also create a gap in traffic for those taking a left onto Nichols Street, he added.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.

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