LETTER: Pleasant Street needs improved pedestrian safety

To the editor:

Many of us are aware an elderly pedestrian was hit by a motor vehicle Friday around 6 p.m. in front of 265 (The Mariner) and 266 Pleasant St. About 30 minutes earlier, I was walking my dog by there, and the Mariner was holding what looked like a party/event in the front of their property near Mohawk Road.

Simultaneously, people were heading to the local high school football game, dinner reservations, town and Salem Halloween events, etc., or just getting home from work. It was a beautiful evening, and there were many pedestrians and cars out and about. Pleasant Street was busy.

When I walked by, the event clearly led to parking on Pleasant Street where two lanes narrow into one to the rail trail crossing. I did not notice police directing traffic nor directing pedestrians nor enforcing parking restrictions nor speed limits, which I was recently reminded by the police is 25 mph town wide if there are no other signs stating otherwise.

There are no speed limit signs on Pleasant Street anywhere nearby. There are five schools within a mile of each other near this area. Pleasant Street is used as a thoroughfare to reach them by automobile, bicycle, e-bike, scooters, baby carriages and walking.

There are kids and pedestrians competing for this stretch of walkways and need to cross the street. There are new workers and residents at the Mariner using this stretch of road and walkways. High-speed automobile traffic is not conducive to a safe environment here.

Pleasant Street between the rail trail crossing and Smith Street/Baldwin Road has had a history of being one of the most dangerous stretches of roadway in town. Look at the ribbons and flowers on one of the trees nearby and be reminded each time you pass to “Slow Down for Allie.”

It was made very clear to all involved in the approval of the construction of the Mariner that this stretch of road with its history needs to be and would be improved. I can tell you firsthand living here for 20-plus years that it has not improved much.

Now is the time to do it before anyone else gets seriously hurt. I call for the town and the police to take action and designate the speed limit clearly on the stretch of Pleasant Street between the high school and the middle school and enforce it.

Designate and enforce extra fines during school hours for motor vehicle infractions. Enforce the 25 mph speed limit during school hours, if it is unenforceable all the time. Raise it to 30 mph outside school hours, but be clear what it is.

I ask the town and police to designate this area as a school zone and thickly settled like other lesser traveled and settled roads. Paint the street another color so it is clear. I ask the town and police to restrict parking on Pleasant Street in this area.

I ask the town and police to clearly display the sign designating the town-wide speed limit at the Salem-Marblehead border on Route 114. It is currently hidden behind another sign. Do the things that work elsewhere to protect your citizens.

I ask the town to improve the dangerous walkways around town, but I digress.

I hope these suggestions get the attention of the new Traffic Safety Advisory Committee as it begins its service to the town and they are supported, as Pleasant Street is failing to provide safe passage for all of us who use it.

Thank you.

Peter Reuner

Pleasant Street

Letter to the editor
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