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March 5, 2013

Officials take on North Street traffic woes

DANVERS — The town has posted new speed limit and crosswalk signs, pruned tree limbs, and ordered a tower sign to alert motorists to a crosswalk in an effort to calm traffic at the busy intersection of North and Summer streets and Rogers Road.

Police have also stepped up patrols and made use of an electronic sign that can both warn motorists of their speed and collect data.

At last week’s selectmen meeting, Director of Planning and Human Services Karen Nelson and police Chief Neil Ouellette summarized efforts of police, the Department of Public Works and the Danvers Traffic Advisory Committee to tame traffic on the wide, sloping street.

The street has become an increasingly popular commuter cut-through, officials said, raising concerns about speed and safety.

North Street residents Michael and Amy Kasprzak spurred discussion on traffic-calming measures at the end of last year, after an SUV struck the wall of their 10-year-old daughter’s bedroom in October.

The Kasprzaks, who said other vehicles have gone off the road at or near their home, had suggested the construction of a blinking yellow and red beacon. The family was not at last week’s meeting, and a call to their home seeking comment was not returned as of press time last night.

Nelson said the estimated cost of the flashing beacon would be $50,000 to $75,000, with a cost of $10,000 for installation. Selectman Gardner Trask said a beacon may not be warranted, given it appears to police that many of the accidents are an anomaly.

“I can’t see spending $100,000 on this solution,” Trask said, who said the town has done most of what has been recommended and that the family may be sensitive to traffic due to what happened at their home.

“I think we have done as much as we reasonably can do,” selectmen Chairman Bill Clark said.

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