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Traffic panel talks safety

Sidewalks, parking concerns and ideas aired

December 02, 2009
SOUTHBRIDGE — Fielding ideas ranging from altering the street layout to putting up jersey barriers, the Traffic Commission explored the issue of pedestrian safety near the Central/Foster streets intersection.

"There are ways to do it so you're not waiting three or four years," Police Chief Daniel Charette told Judy Whitman. Whitman, a Hamilton Street resident, is mother of Chris Ayoob, who was hit by a car in that area last week.

The chief was referring to the fact town plans for both downtown redevelopment and the Titanic Rail Trail call for significant changes in that area that will help make it safer, but aren't likely to happen quickly. Until that happens, he and the other commissioners urged Ayoob and any other walkers to go the extra distance to Main Street, where there are audible pedestrian signals, crosswalks and even bumpy, tactile warning areas so blind people know they're about to step into the roadway.

Such devices don't exist crossing Central or Foster near Center of Hope, and many parts of those streets lack sidewalks a new crosswalk could be hooked into. Everyone present agreed building the trail would be the best solution, in part because the railway crossing has decent sight distance from either direction on both streets.

See Friday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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