Department News


Safety concerns; Middlesex & Kendall Rd. intersection

I want to share some information with you concerning the intersection of Middlesex & Kendall Road which is at the entrance to the bridge.  I know many people have concerns regarding the safety of the intersection, we share those same concerns, I have had several meetings with the Department of Transportation (DOT) in the past few years regarding safety and traffic flow concerns at the bridge and some changes have been made.  Based on those meetings a change was made to the left turn signal at the Middlesex / Kendall Road intersection, the light previously turned solid green after it had gone through a left green signal, then yellow pattern.  This led to confusion of some drivers who still thought they had the right away, vehicles would continue turning left onto the bridge and this led to motor vehicle accidents involving traffic that was headed Northbound.  The D.O.T. then changed the signal pattern so the left turn signal changed to a blinking yellow.  This change seems to have resulted in a slight decrease in accidents that we have investigated at this intersection, our database indicates that there were 48 in 2015 and 41 in 2016 (these numbers only account for accidents where there is serious damage or injuries). However, this number of accidents is still unacceptable and remains a public safety issue for our community. 

In January I met with the D.O.T., specifically about the ongoing traffic safety issues at the Middlesex Road & Kendall Road intersection.  My viewpoint is that the left turn from Middlesex Road onto the bridge is unusually long, and the left turn light when green and yellow is rather short, allowing only a few cars to take this turn prior to it turning into a yellow blinking light, this allows for little time for vehicles to pass through the intersection, causing many drivers to attempt to rush through the light even when traffic has started to move Northbound.  The fact is that the vast majority of these accidents are caused by operators who disregard the need to yield to oncoming traffic or are driving aggressively because they do not want to wait for the next green light.  Regardless of the reasons these accidents are occurring, this presents a public safety issue for all those who pass through this intersection.

I have recommended that the left turn lights at the bridge no longer turn to a blinking yellow.  The left turn only on both sides of the intersection should have a green, then yellow then turn solid red, legally prohibiting vehicles from turning left at that point.  Our officers are told repeatedly by operators who cause these accidents that they were confused at this intersection and thought they had the right of way.  I realize that there are some things we cannot fix, such as operators who disregard the common rules of safe driving, but I believe the changes I have recommended would be a significant step in the right direction.  I have also requested additional signage in the intersection to reinforce the light change.  To offset the additional buildup of traffic that would result from having a red left turn signal, I requested that additional time is added to the green left turn light signal so more traffic can get through the light.  Our department will also have a significant presence in this area to enforce these changes.

I have received a positive response from the DOT regarding my recommendations and continue to work closely with them on the issue and hope to see these changes made in the near future.

I want to thank the many residents who reached out to me directly on their concerns, I would encourage everyone to reach out directly to me regarding public safety issues or other town officials for issues that concern our community.  I can assure you that there will be quick and effective action taken. 

 

Richard D. Howe

Chief of Police