GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

August 21, 2013

Letter: Gloucester's most dangerous intersection


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

I was not surprised to read in the Gloucester Police/Fire report (The Times, Tuesday, Aug. 20) that a bicyclist had been injured in a crash with a motor vehicle at the intersection of Prospect Street and Railroad Avenue.

I must regularly maneuver through that intersection because Mason Street (one way) is the only way out of where I live.

I consider that junction of five streets to be the most dangerous intersection in Gloucester. I am amazed that more people have not been injured there and that no one has been killed. I think it is only a matter of time until there are one or more fatalities due to careless drivers’ behaviors.

I would estimate that perhaps one in 10 drivers, if that, traveling along Railroad Avenue comes to a complete stop at the intersection with Prospect Street, where there is a stop sign.

Most drivers barely slow down before turning, especially left, and many drivers do not slow down at all. It is “a game of chicken” at that intersection and drivers traveling from all directions into it lack the courtesy and good sense to yield appropriately to other vehicles and pedestrians in nearby crosswalks.

On many, many occasions I have witnessed a string of four vehicles on Railroad Avenue drive through that stop sign. I think the law requires that every vehicle come to a complete stop at such a sign, even if it has been waiting in line coming up to it.

That is not the case here; drivers seem to feel if they have been waiting in line they are entitled to proceed ahead of drivers traveling along Prospect Street (or merging from Maplewood Avenue). The pedestrians who use crosswalks in that area also do so at considerable risk; they include the elderly, the handicapped, and mothers with young children.

I respectfully suggest that Mayor Kirk could add a considerable sum of money to Gloucester’s coffers if she asked the chief of police to assign a patrolman to that intersection to ticket offending drivers.

At the very least, a police presence might make Railroad Avenue drivers stop fully at the sign before proceeding into traffic.

The Fire Department’s regular use of their vehicles’ sirens when approaching that intersection has probably gone a long way toward preventing a disastrous crash, but it is time for drivers to use their heads instead of their feet (on accelerators).

B.E.B. COLLINS

Dale Avenue, Gloucester