Tuesday, November 4, 2014

South East Street Speedway

Drunk driver into house @ 706 South East Street September 1
706 South East Street today:  "Barricaded in our homes"

One of the obvious problems with South East Street -- a main north/south corridor connection winding scenically through the heartland of Amherst -- is a lack of stop signs.  As in only one.

Yes, you can drive the entire six mile length from College Street to Bay Road pretty much unhindered by town installed signage.  

20 neighbors met Sunday night, appropriately enough at the Munson Memorial Library on the South East Street common, to discuss the safety concerns of the street they call home and come up with a plan to get town officials' attention on this public safety issue so something actually gets done.

 South East Street neighbors, Assistant Town Manager Ziomek (right)

Since the meeting was attended by Assistant Town Manager David Ziomek obviously they have already achieved the first goal but, as usual, the problem is getting something done about it.

Each participant was given dots to prioritize solutions

Suggestions ranged from the common sense -- lower speed limit, install more stop signs, increased police visibility, use of cameras for traffic enforcement -- to the slightly tongue in cheek:  level the steep little hill near Mill Lane which causes dangerous blind spots, or make the scenic street a toll road.

 Problem areas identified by residents of South East Street

South East Street is one of those historic old roads unchanged other than paving since the invention of the automobile.  It's time to come into the 21st century and share the road.  Safely. 


Anonymous said...

I like the idea of a one way in front of the library.

Tom McBride said...

I was going to mention that (one way on the common). At one time the Public Works had told me there was talk of making the whole south common into a one way road around in a circle, but just the other day heard the idea had been tabled from the same source. People take every liberty they can on the common. Every man and woman races across the common to beat the other guy.

Oh yeah, and make S. East a toll road.

I'd like to know who promoted that idea. Probably somebody with a half million dollar home on the street hoping to increase the value of their investment.

Dr. Ed said...

I like the idea of a four lane highway intended to move traffic quickly, efficiently and safely.

That's why the town has such a wide right-of-way and if it were an expressway, there would be less air pollution. More with each and every stop sign...

Anonymous said...

Thanks for covering the problems with the South East Street Speedway. It was great to meet wit neighbors and Assistant Town Manager Dave Ziomek and talk out the situation.

To give a sense of the magnitude of the problem, a small 2012 traffic showed that, in one week, 9,000 vehicles drove over the hill faster than the legal 35 mph speed limit. 64 cars went over 70 mph.

Too bad DPW did not respond to this data by installing simple speed bumps (aka speed blankets) like the ones on Lincoln Avenue. These are effective in reducing speeds to 27 to 30 mph and cutting accidentsby 40% to 50%. Maybe the car which my house would have been stopped--sparing the driver and his passenger their injuries.

We are hoping that the Town Manager direct someone from Town staff to work with us on simple, proven ways to slow traffic down. And then we can go to the Select Board together asking them to make South East Street finally safe.

We also have a petition asking for traffic calming methods to slow traffic down and so we can all share the road. Please email me if you want a copy of the petition and if you want to sign it. 9janetmcgowan30@comcast.net )

Thanks to everyone who has shown so much concern to me and my family. I worry about everyone using the road and living on it.

Let's work together and make South East Street safer for everyone who uses it-bikers, walkers, drivers, neighbors who want to use their front yards or just cross the street for the mail.

Janet McGowan

Anonymous said...

I owned a home on South East Street for many years. The lack of sidewalks to the north of Valley View Drive was a big factor in my decision to move away to a more pedestrian-friendly place outside of Amherst.