Andover Townsman, Andover, MA


September 19, 2013

Barreling down in Ballardvale; Traffic, speed spark safety concerns for neighbors

Traffic, speed spark safety concerns for neighbors


Julie Brussard said she’d love to let her older daughters — Casey, 14, and Chloe, 11 — walk to the stores in Ballardvale center, but doesn’t dare.

”When we are waiting at the end of the driveway, we see trucks going by really fast,” Jacklyn Brussard said. “I’ve seen vehicles come to a complete standstill going in opposite directions if there’s a pedestrian or biker. ... Even the bus driver has to stop when cars are going by.”

The Brussards’ neighbor, Shital Shah, of 91 Tewksbury St., said she is worried about the late fall and winter months, before the clock changes and it is pitch-dark in the morning. Two streetlights near her home have been turned off as part of the town’s cost-saving measures.

”At night, there is no light,” she said, recalling how a car recently hit a fire hydrant opposite her house one evening.

Making matters worse will be the arrival of snowbanks, which make the road even narrower, she said.

Shah asked the town to turn on the streetlight in front of her house and was told she’d have to call National Grid and pay the electric bill herself.

Room for improvements

At their meeting with neighbors, Stapczynski and acting Public Works Director Chris Cronin told neighbors they can bring a warrant article to Town Meeting next year seeking a new sidewalk, something the residents were open to.

”Everybody who lives here says, ‘Take 5 feet off my front yard,’” Shah said. “It would be a great improvement.”

Police safety officer Charles Edgerley said police and public works employees have conducted studies and found that the average speed is around 40 mph, too high for such a road.

But state law prohibits the town from erecting a speed limit sign, so for now, neighbors will have to rely on a “Thickly Settled” sign, which is meant to imply speed limits of 30 mph or less.

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