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Lynn council, police aim to calm traffic on Pleasant Street

Lynn City Council's Committee on Public Safety and Public Health is discussing ways to make Pleasant Street in Lynn safer after hearing complaints from seniors and parents about drivers speeding on and around the street. (Spenser Hasak)

LYNN – Police will conduct a two-week traffic survey and city departments will look into the cost of equipping Pleasant Street with traffic-calming solutions, following a discussion Tuesday evening at the City Council’s Committee on Public Safety and Public Health meeting. 

The two measures were approved by the subcommittee. The full City Council also voted unanimously to approve the survey and cost analysis at their meeting later in the evening. 

City Council President Darren Cyr brought to the attention of the committee traffic problems that he said plague the area around Pleasant Street. The area has two schools, several senior housing buildings, two churches, and the YMCA. That creates a lot of pedestrian traffic, said Cyr.  

In addition, many people use walkers or wheelchairs, he said.

“We are talking about real public safety (issues) there,” Cyr said, adding that a car flying down the street had recently flipped and smashed into other cars parked on Pleasant Street. No pedestrians were hurt in that accident.

Cyr asked the committee to consider installing raised crosswalks, signs and flashing lights and lowering the speed limit to 20 mph at that location.

“I am down here a lot,” said Ward 5 Councilor Dianna Chakoutis. “The cars are flying there. Someone is going to be really hurt. This is something we really need to do something about.”

Ward 7 Councilor John “Jay” Walsh said that he would be in favor of raised crosswalks; O’Callaghan Way needs them, too, he said. 

Lynn currently doesn’t have raised crosswalks in the city, said Department of Public Works Commissioner Andrew Hall. He said that there are at least eight crosswalks across Pleasant Street.

Chief Financial Officer Michael Bertino said that the city can’t use funding from the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act for this project. However, the city is getting part of the commission from Uber and Lyft rides, and Bertino said it would be appropriate to use that money to improve traffic safety on Pleasant Street.

“We have received the complaints, spoke with Councilor Chakoutis in recent months and heard concerns of the residents,” said Police Chief Christopher P. Reddy. “Traffic enforcement patrols spent a number of days there trying to address the problem.”

Reddy offered a short-term solution until the city decides on more permanent structures: placing a speed trailer that will increase awareness and allow the department to conduct an hour-by-hour speed survey.

Robert Stilan, the city’s parking director who spoke on behalf of the Traffic Commission, said that the School Department needs to look into the problem as well and put more crossing guards there. He also supported lowering the speed limit to 20 mph overall and installing flashing solar-powered lights.

“Every other community does it; we have to get there,” said Stilian.

Councilor-at-Large Brian LaPierre suggested looking into 3D crosswalks that create an optical illusion of a raised crosswalk for drivers.

The committee concluded that the DPW, Traffic Commission, and city planner need to look together into various solutions and their cost. In the meantime, police will conduct a two-week study of the traffic with speed-enforcement trailers and pole devices that use radars to gather real-time data. 

Reddy promised to send the committee a report before the next meeting, which will be held in two weeks.

Alena Kuzub can be reached at alena@itemlive.com.

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