The residents at Brookside Avenue and Forest Street can expect to have a slightly different this spring.
On Monday night as residents from the area filled the Board of Selectmen meeting room, the Selectmen unanimously voted to approve the installation of a “Do Not Enter” sign on the corner of Brookside Avenue and Forest Street. The sign, according to Town Engineer Beth Rudolph, will prevent cars from turning onto Forest Street from Cross Street and continuing to drive straight across to Brookside Avenue.
“This is not intended to stop all the problems in the neighborhood,” Rudolph said. “This is a very complicated area.”
Rudolph recommended to the board that the town do a traffic study in the area in order to better help the residents. The “Do Not Enter” sign is the first measure in trying to make the area safer, Rudolph told the board.
“There’s a potentially hazardous situation in that area,” Rudolph said. “It’s dangerous because cars driving down Forest Street and for cars driving up Forest. There’s no stop sign, and cars can drive straight onto Brookside Avenue. We need to do a traffic study to address the speed and the traffic in the area.”
While most residents in attendance supported the sign, some were concerned that it would push the traffic elsewhere, as many drivers use Brookside Avenue as a cut-thru.
“I oppose the Do Not Enter sign,” said Forest Street resident, Eric Shediac. “It’s not a good idea. This is just going to increase the traffic on [Forest].”
Other residents, like Tom Aldcroft who lives on Garfield Avenue, had firsthand experience of the dangers of the area.
“One day there was a car that flew down Forest and onto Brookside, they hit and killed our dog and they just kept driving,” Aldcroft said. “That was a tragedy for us, but if that was a small child that could have been much worse.”
The board informed the residents that they will look into a traffic study, but they would need to find the money to fund it. According to Rudolph, that could cost about $15,000. In the interim, the board voted to have a pinstripe bump out at the corner of Forest and Cross Street in order to slow traffic. They will also install a stop sign at Forest Street, on the corner of Brookside Avenue, for drivers driving down from Washington Street.
“The majority of people use this as a cut-thru,” said Brookside Avenue resident, Ryan Hess. “At the end of the day, we want to shift cars out of our neighborhood, but also slow them down. This is an issue that’s been talked about for a long time, and it’s great to see something done.”
The board said those improvements could be completed as early as this spring. And according to Rudolph, a study could be done in six months, once the town finds the money to fund it.