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For Safety's Sake: City Installs New Traffic Light Downtown

In response to concerns about pedestrian safety, the city has gone ahead and installed a new traffic light at one of the busiest intersections downtown.

The new light is at the intersection of Central and Walnut streets and just deals with vehicles exiting the parking lot at Bill & Bob's Roast Beef.

The signal, which was installed across the street, will give motorists exiting the lot a red light when pedestrians get their walk signal to cross at the intersection.

“We continue our work to make downtown Peabody a safer place for pedestrians,” said Mayor Ted Bettencourt in a statement.

“The Main Street realignment project has slowed traffic through the square and has made shops and restaurants more accessible. Now we turn our focus to other pedestrian trouble spots like this one at the intersection of Central and Walnut Street,” he said.

Bettencourt said both he and Ward 2 City Councilor Arthur Athas received several calls from residents concerned about safety at that intersection.

"We want to make Central Street and the square safer for pedestrians,” said Athas. “A lot of people live in this area -- a lot of seniors -- and we want them to have safe and easy access to downtown businesses.”

Cars on Central and Walnut streets are also prohibited from taking a right on red.

In recent weeks, there have been at least two serious pedestrian accidents on Central Street -- a fatal one very close to that intersection and a second accident further up the street.

Bettencourt didn't say whether those incidents played any role in the decision to add the new light.
lmap September 24, 2013 at 06:48 PM
They've used pedestrian safety as an excuse to slow down traffic to barely a crawl throughout the downtown. Do people really not know how to cross the street anymore? I for one try to avoid it now and shop elsewhere. Not worth the traffic.
Ashleigh September 26, 2013 at 08:16 AM
Pedestrian safety is a big deal and is the only way we will ever attract people downtown. The area used to be just a pass through for cars and now people are forced to actually slow down and consider their surroundings, which is a GOOD thing.
Phil David September 29, 2013 at 01:50 AM
Oh ya can't wait for all the halloween traffic heading to salem. Yup I for one avoid Downtown. I used to go to walgreens but with all the traffic I haven't been in over a month. shop at CVS in salem it's quicker to go there. The light at allens way is a huge traffic cause as well. I wouldn't shop around here with all this traffic its awful!

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