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Winchester Selectmen Attempt to Fix Traffic Problem

The board elected to put a "Do Not Enter" sign at the corner of Forest Street and Brookside Avenue.

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.

Melanie February 14, 2012 at 01:45 PM
I am pleased with the genuine efforts on this... our neighborhood has a number of challenges to face it seems (FLOODING, bright lights from the new/larger hospital at night, the new frieght train issue which has started with its late night deliveries and noise, the beautiful Davidson Park which is hardly walkable (and health hazard issue) due to year round goose droppings issue, the terrible intersection/traffic and speed issues on the street...etc etc). It's nice to see *one* of these challenges on the verge of improvement. I appreciate the hard work that the town and certain key people in the neighborhood have put in to this thus far. Let's continue the improvements...next on my list: the goose issue!!!
Ann Sera February 15, 2012 at 03:57 AM
Melanie, there is a current effort to work to get the Hospital's lighting plan in conformance with zoning standards and to drastically improve the stormwater retention at the site. We've been working really hard at this, and there appears to be movement ....keep your fingers crossed!
Andrea February 15, 2012 at 04:35 AM
Isn't the hospital supposed to pay for the traffic studies? Cut-throughs have always been a problem, but they really increased when the hospital forced their staff to park off-site. Why isn't the hospital doing the traffic improvements they promised? Why does the town have to "find the money for a traffic study" when this was already a condition of development for 620?

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