LETTER: Dangerous Situation for School Kids on Local Road

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“A true measure of any society can be found in how well it treats its most vulnerable members,”
Mahatma Gandhi

I’m not a photographer. This will be obvious. When Highland Street repairs were announced, I was very happy. I mentioned to our Councilor that there was a real safety issue at the school crossing at Copeland and Highland streets. This would be a very good time to fix this, I said.

Fast forward to this summer, when that part of Highland had been paved. I e-mailed my Councilor again to ask her to remind these guys that there’s a safety issue here involving children. I saw no indication that that had been addressed. She got back to me, and she said that she was told that they weren’t done there. It would come near the end of the job.

This is not meant to criticize our Councilor. She is really good about followup. Somebody simply is not listening … who could that be? Whose responsibility is this??

The kids have been in school since Tuesday. I emailed my Councilor again on Tuesday afternoon, Sept. 5th, asking her to remind these folks again that school was about to start on Thursday, and this spot was even more dangerous than ever … no school signs, markings on the road, etc. They had a day to do something. I was wrong. School was already in session.
It had started on Tuesday.

Here are a set of pictures that I took at 7:45 this morning going from around Partridge and Highland, all the way up to Copeland and Highland, where the kids are supposed to cross. The last picture, at Copeland and Highland, should indicate to you that besides a road problem, we have a sun problem as well as kids are on their way to get an education …

So, does this show any concern about our littlest citizens?

Picture 1: Highland near Partridge:

Picture 2: Highland near Stuart:

Picture 3: Highland near Wilmot. You can see how the hill creates a blind spot:

Picture 4: Highland and Copeland (the Cunniff School crossing zone):

Not even a “School Zone” sign in either direction. Enough said?

Linda Scott
Watertown Resident

Send letters to the editor to watertownmanews@gmail.com

11 thoughts on “LETTER: Dangerous Situation for School Kids on Local Road

  1. The Hosmer is a full on construction zone on Mt. Auburn street. The crews have all of their heavy equipment and materials parked right in front of the school blocking nearly all the street parking for parents doing drop off.

    It is a complete mess what those crews are being allowed to do. They block traffic as parents are trying to get into the drop off lines and no cops in sight to help the poor crossing guard deal with all traffic mayhem.

  2. Your right Linda, someone definitely dropped the ball, not only at the school crossing, which was just as dangerous before. I used to tell Janet the crossing guard there to really pay attention to the cars coming up that hill. If the pictures show the new walkways in place, there is no reason why signage is not in place nor any excuse as to the roadway is not spray painted in a temporary paint to slow down, School Crossing! That whole area should’ve been addressed first & completed before the start of the school year. Also as I drive down Lexington St, the Corner of Highland still hasn’t been completed, so the kids along with everyone else goes out into the street on the downside of Lexington St. creating another hazardous situation for pedestrians, been like this for weeks. Rumor has it that this same contractor is going to do Mt. Auburn St. This being the same one who did Trapelo Rd. Elected Politicians take note here, LOW BID DOESN”T GIVE US THE BEST CONTRACTOR. Any doubts just look at this street with no rhyme or reason as to how the work is being done! And just who is allowing this to happen within the City/Town, the taxpayers deserve a whole lot better, LET’S HEAR IT!

  3. Eric,
    I’m sorry that your family and others are starting your days off like this. As well as being an accident waiting to happen, it starts your kid’s day off so chaotically that it’s bound to affect his or her readiness for learning for a while after they enter the school building. Some kids take longer than others to refocus. It’s just not a good thing!

  4. I was happy when I saw Highland was getting good sidewalks and curbs. This summer, I’ve ridden my bicycle up the street every week and been dismayed – after a slow start with initial paving, the sidewalks and curbing are a discontinuous mess. Will this even be finished before the end of “construction season”? Even with generous allowances to let things dry/settle/cure, it’s as if this project was the last on the contractors list, only putting crews on site when they had some extra time. With the amount of money the town is paying, it’s shocking that this is still an issue months later. I’m with you, Linda – who is responsible for drawing up and approving a schedule with so much slack time?

  5. As the Councilor pointed out, these sort things generally get done at the end of the project.
    But perhaps if someone contacted the DPW directly, then a temporary signage on cones could be used. I would hope that other measures would be taken to slow the traffic, like raised cross-walks and perhaps the intersection of Copeland and Highland should be made into a 4 way stop and it wouldn’t be a bad idea to make Highland and Chapman a 4 stop.
    While the new sidewalks with new curbing look great, they have a tendency to make cars park further into the street. So when people park, the road essentially is cut down to one lane for either direction. But the bigger problem is that these parked cars near intersections create blind spots. So this makes the problem worse.

  6. Thank you for your letter. This has always been an issue in the 20 plus years we’ve lived there.

    One of my son’s friend was riding his bike to Cunniff a few years ago and got hit by a car when he was in the crosswalk. Construction or no construction, it’s dangerous as hell even with a crossing guard since its at the peak of the hill going east bound on Highland and cars fly down the narrow street as an alternative to Main St. Not sure what can be done or if anyone is trying to do anything, but after the kid got hit by the car we were told that something would be done. Crickets….

    • Oh No!! I’m so sorry to hear that!

      I’ve contacted Chief Rocca and the Traffic Commission today. I included the corner of Highland and Lexington, where kids have to go into the street and the Hosmer School, which was mentioned to me as a problems well.

      I plan to stay on it. No kid should have to go through that.

      Anyone who’d like to join in on this can contact your councilor, the DPW, and the police department. I think that they’re the ones who would be involved in fixing this. Feel free to join in this even if you don’t live in the west end. The more voices, the more attention.

      Any suggestions would be welcomed!

  7. Dennis,
    Thanks for the big picture. It’s valuable information. I drove that same route yesterday at the same time, and nothing had changed. By the evening, there seemed to be a lot of construction materials there, but still no sort of warning to pedestrians and drivers.

    I don’t know how I missed the corner of Highland and Lexington. I’ll include that (and the Hosmer situation) in the letter to the Traffic Commission that I plan to write today.

    Put simply, it just shouldn’t be this hard for residents to get action on matters of safety like this!

  8. Hi John,

    My Councilor had contacted the DPW on this issue numerous times, starting last fall, when it was announced that Highland would be fixed. This is someone that should be listened to, but the DPW’s response seems to be lackluster at best.
    I think your suggestions about four way stops has merit, and your observation of narrowing streets gives more food for thought. Thanks!

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