Acting on the recommendation of Police Chief Thomas Lee, the Town Council Monday voted unanimously to ask the state to make it easier and safer for pedestrians to cross East Main and West Main roads at either end of Hedly Street.
The council will send a letter to the State Traffic Commission (STC) requesting the following safety improvements:
First, the state should install a marked crosswalk, including a pedestrian push-to-cross button and a pedestrian crossing sign, at the intersection of West Main Road and Hedly Street.
“Pedestrians cross here to wait for buses in the morning and afternoon,” Chief Lee stated in a letter to council member Linda Ujifusa, who put the matter on Monday’s agenda. “The intersection has had 29 total accidents over the last three years and is difficult to cross because of the vehicles turning on and off Hedly Street.”
The chief also wants to see a pedestrian crossing light, a pressure plate-activated sensor and better signage and street markings at the corner of East Main Road and Hedly Street. Many people cross the street either to get to Town Hall, or to a bus stop on the other side.
The location already has a crosswalk, but it’s still difficult to cross the street and his department has received many complaints, Chief Lee said.
“There have been 16 total accidents over the last three years at this intersection,” he stated in his letter.
Based on comments she’s heard from local residents, Ms. Ujifusa suggested another request — for a bus shelter on the west side of West Main Road at Hedly, as well as sidewalks from Cory’s Lane to the Hedly Street intersection. The sidewalks would further improve pedestrian safety near the bus shelter, she said.
The council voted to include Ms. Ujifusa’s request in its letter to the STC.
Council member Paul Kesson said he hopes the town will receive special crosswalk signs that alert drivers of crossing pedestrians.
“Not one of our crosswalk signs gives any indication that anyone’s in the street,” he said.
Council member David Gleason agreed, adding that the STC needs to review all of Portsmouth’s crosswalk lighting schemes.
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