ATTLEBORO — The city council is speeding towards approval of Mayor Paul Heroux’s request to buy radar and lighted crosswalk signs in an effort to make Attleboro streets safer.
The mayor sent a request to the council last week seeking $103,260 to buy the equipment.
It was voted out of the transportation and traffic committee headed by Cathleen DeSimone on Tuesday and will brought before the full council next week, where it’s expected to be approved.
The money, which will be taken from the city’s $8 million free cash account, will be used to buy 10 lighted crosswalk signs and 16 radar signs that register a driver’s speed and warn if the speed limit is being exceeded.
Heroux, who said he was “very happy” with the quick action, pushed for the equipment because complaints about speeding and other traffic issues are among the most common received by his office.
“Speeding is one of the biggest complaints I get in the city and one that is a safety issue and a quality of life issue,” he said in an email. “People often report that they cannot enjoy their front yard or go for a safe walk because of people speeding.”
“I think the council acted quickly on this because they realize that the sooner we get these devices up, the sooner people will be a bit safer,” Heroux said.
DeSimome agreed, noting people will be safer.
“This will be money well spent,” she said.
Transportation vice chairman Richard Conti fully backed the plan.
“I can’t support this enough,” he said. “I wish this happened 10 years ago.”
Some of the locations where radar signs might be placed include Park Street near Bishop and Maple streets, Tiffany Street between County Street and Commerce Way, and Richardson Avenue.
Some of the locations where lighted crosswalk signs might be placed include Park near Bishop and County near the entrance to Capron Park.
Heroux said his request for traffic control equipment is part of a three-pronged street safety effort involving “education, engineering and enforcement.”
The signs will help identify crosswalks and speed limits, which educate motorists.
With regard to engineering, the mayor intends to put forth a proposal about traffic circles and permanent speed humps.
And for enforcement, he plans to propose a traffic unit for the police department in his next budget.
Police Chief Kyle Heagney agreed that speeding is a big problem in the city and is a “quality of life issue,” especially on cut-through streets.
“Our goal is to make the roadways safer and increase the quality of life for those residents living on these streets,” he said in an emailed statement. “Our roadways were not engineered to handle the volume of traffic we currently experience today. As a result, some of our quiet and tranquil streets have become the classic cut-throughs to avoid the congestion or back-ups.”
He’s hoping the signs will make life a little safer in the city.
“Hopefully when drivers are consciously aware of their prohibited speed they will deliberately slow down,” he said. “We all need to be keenly aware of our driving habits and drive within the posted speed limit.”
Meanwhile, Heroux said more signs are in the offing.
“I plan to ask the council for funding for more of each of these; this is just the first round based on where I have gotten the most number of complaints,” the mayor said.