Local Government and Politics, News

Speed limit up for debate on more Saugus roads

A car travels down Lincoln Avenue in Saugus. (Owen O'Rourke)

Saugus selectmen will consider lowering the speed limit on three of the town’s main roads.

The panel voted unanimously in December to lower the speed limit from 30 to 25 miles per hour on Bisbee Road, Hanson Road, Iron Works Way, Cider Mill Road, Vinegar Hill Drive, and Hitching Hill Road.

On Wednesday, they’ll address Essex Street, Main Street, and Lincoln Avenue after more than 160 residents signed a petition asking them to lower the speed limit on the busy roads.  

“They always say you can put up all the signs you want but it won’t do anything unless you enforce it,” said Bob Davis, one of the residents behind Citizens for a Safer Saugus. “My thing is, you have to start somewhere.”

There are no speed limit signs posted from the Melrose town line to Cliftondale Square, said Davis, which he believes is part of the problem.

“The thing that really got me going — my daughter-in-law nearly got killed on Essex Street,” said Davis.

His daughter-in-law, Laurie Davis, was struck by a drunk driver in 2018, he said.

In May 2018, a woman was killed when she had a medical emergency while driving near Essex and Felton streets and struck an MBTA bus head on.

A month later, there was another head-on collision between a car and a truck pulling a trailer in the same area. Then, in July, a Saugus man was charged with driving under the influence when he crashed into two other vehicles at the same location as the May accident.

Last summer, Robert Hoffman stood before the board using a cane to demand measures be taken to create safer streets. Hoffman and his wife Judy were struck along the Northern Strand Community Trail last January. Both suffered serious injuries and were taken to area hospitals for treatment.

“Bob was hurt really bad but he recovered,” said Davis. “His wife never did.”

This led to dozens of others, pedestrians who had been struck and neighbors advocating for safer streets, to speak out about the problem.

In 2016, while a 9-year-old and his 15-year-old brother waited for their mother to make a quick stop at Kohl’s, they walked to Walgreens. A car stopped to let the boys cross Walnut Street, but a 29-year-old Saugus man driving a Nissan Rogue passed the car, striking the 9-year-old in the crosswalk.

The driver turned right into the Walgreens parking lot, dragging him beneath his car. The boy was seriously injured but survived.

The board will discuss Central Street at a later meeting.


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