PEABODY — The problem became critical for Diane Gallucio as she drove down Lowell Street toward Peabody High.
Some drivers aren’t aware that the left lane ends at Bourbon Street, she said. When they find out, they sometimes make dangerous attempts to get back into the right lane.
When Gallucio refused to let a car cut in front of her, “he got in back of me, on my tail, tooting his horn.” The driver and passengers made obscene gestures as they followed her down Lowell Street.
These situations happen repeatedly, she said. Recently, on the same stretch, her daughter was run off the road by an SUV.
“There’s got to be a way to configure (the road) so it works,” Gallucio pleaded at a recent meeting of the City Council’s public safety subcommittee.
Traffic problems in Peabody have reached critical mass, according to Councilor Mike Garabedian. The difficulties can be seen at intersections in virtually every ward, from West Peabody to the downtown. The most recent assessment of downtown traffic clocked 27,000 daily vehicle trips on Main Street, including “pass-through” drivers headed for Salem or Marblehead. Some believe the proliferation of no-right-on-red signs is making their passage worse.
Garabedian said that in the decades since he moved to West Peabody, traffic there has soared. Hannaford’s Plaza has sparked a lot of it. While Peabody’s population hasn’t grown excessively, Councilor Tom Walsh noted that families and homes now come with multiple cars.
To deal with this, councilors at a meeting in February will consider solutions such as better signage, better coordination of traffic lights and better road markings. Walsh has volunteered to confer with the Community Development Department and Peabody Police. Councilors will forward lists of what they or their constituents determine to be the most dangerous intersections.