SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

July 18, 2013

City seeks speed limit change following fatal accident

SALEM — City leaders are calling for Loring Avenue to have one uniform speed limit of 30 mph, after an elderly woman was struck and killed there two weeks ago.

Currently, portions of Loring Avenue are 30 mph, while others are 40 mph.

Salem police continue to investigate the June 29 hit-and-run accident that killed 83-year-old Feliksa Mieszczanska, but no suspects have been charged. Mieszczanska died at Salem Hospital after she was struck crossing the street in front of her home at 466 Loring Ave., not far from Vinnin Square.

Mayor Kim Driscoll and longtime City Councilor Joseph O’Keefe have co-authored a letter asking the state to set Loring Avenue’s speed limit at 30 miles per hour from Lincoln Road to the Swampscott town line — a busy stretch that includes what is known to locals as “dead man’s curve.”

Loring Avenue is a state highway, Route 1A, at that location, so the Massachusetts Department of Transportation controls the speed limit.

“There have been several hits and near-misses on Loring Avenue,” Driscoll said. “We’re trying to find out what’s a safe speed of travel for Loring Avenue. Given this incident and prior incidents, we feel a slower speed of travel is in everyone’s best interest.”

O’Keefe, the Ward 7 councilor, said he began to pursue the issue after several of Mieszczanska’s neighbors contacted him about lowering the speed limit in the wake of the accident.

A lower speed might have made a difference that day, O’Keefe said.

Lt. Robert Precszewski, commander of the Salem Police Department’s traffic division, said he fully supports lowering the speed limit along that stretch of road. It’s a densely settled neighborhood, with houses less than 150 feet apart, he said.

“It’s more of a city street than a highway, in my opinion,” Precszewski said. “... My recommendation is that I think it should be lowered because it’s a thickly settled district.”

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