Committee Recommends Calming Traffic on Church Street

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In an effort to make Church Street safer, the Town Council’s Public Works subcommittee recommended that a traffic table, like those near Watertown Middle School, be installed at Palfrey Street.

Residents of the area complained to the Council that the intersection is dangerous and has frequent close calls and many accidents, too.

Aaron Caine lives near the corner of Church and Palfrey streets and said there are close calls on a daily basis at the intersection, and about once a week there cars screech to a halt trying to avoid a collision.

WorldTech, a firm hired by the town to study traffic in the area, did a traffic study and made recommendations. They did not recommend a stop sign, but did say a speed table could be installed.

Part of the problem with the intersection is the lack of sight lines for drivers on Palfrey. Town Engineer Matt Shuman said trees, buildings and fences get in thew way.

While they will not be moving trees or buildings, the speed table will help. The slightly raised area forces drivers to slow down and it will have advantages for drives crossing Church Street at Palfrey, said Town Engineer Matt Shuman.

“If people pay attention and slow down, it will give people more time to react,” Shuman said. “(The speed table) will bring the stop line closer to the intersection on Palfrey.”

The town recently installed three speed tables on Waverley Avenue – two on either side of the middle school and one where the Community Path hits Waverley. Councilor Vincent Piccirilli said he has heard good things about them.

“The feedback I have gotten is wildly positive,” Piccirilli said. “The two speed tables near the middle school have really changed the character of traffic in the area.”

Caine said the new speed table will help calm traffic near his home.

“I think it will help all along Church Street,” Caine said. “We feel that this is the right and a great step.”

Flashing lights were considered, but there is another set farther down Church Street, closer to Summer Street, Shuman said.

“They would bring attention to the intersection, but not necessarily slow them down,” Shuman said.

The Public Works Committee voted 3-0 to recommend to the full Town Council that the World Tech recommendations, including the speed table, be adopted.

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