The Town of Andover recently committed to improving pedestrian safety on Elm St., consistent with the Town's Complete Streets policy which states that all modes of transportation, including walking and bicycling, shall be given equal consideration in the design and construction of our roads.
Elm St. has proved to be dangerous to people on foot, with many pedestrian-involved crashes over the past several years, tragically including one fatality this past spring. Poor sight lines combine with high vehicle speeds to create unsafe conditions for folks trying to cross the street. WalkBike Andover appreciates the Town’s rapid response to this pedestrian safety issue and supports their broader commitment to traffic calming in order to ensure the safety of all road users, regardless of their chosen mode of transportation, their age, or their ability.
The pedestrian safety improvements on Elm St. include the construction of curb extensions (or "bumpouts") at several key street crossings.
Curb extensions provide three distinct benefits for the safety of people on foot:
A shortened crossing distance, reducing the amount of time that a person on foot is at risk while in the road.
Improved visibility, by preventing parking right at the crossing and providing a safe pedestrian refuge to the edge of the travel lane, from which pedestrians and drivers are each more able to see each other.
Reduced vehicle speeds, by physically narrowing the travel lane, drivers will feel discomfort that leads them to slow down.
We also recognize that these are significant changes, and as such it will take time for people to become accustomed to the new street design. We’d encourage all users to withhold judgment until construction is complete, the traffic cones and machinery are removed, and all street markings and signs are in place. We hope that further community engagement and education from the Town will help ease the transition as people learn about the function of and need for pedestrian safety improvements on Elm St.