Traffic Commission Looking At Issues on Pearl and Essex Streets

The Traffic and Parking Commission voted against a request from District 6 City Councilor Giovanni Recupero to install a stop sign at the intersection of Pearl and Essex streets at last week’s meeting.

However, commission members agreed that something should be done to address traffic issues at the intersection.

“We did put a ‘Do Not Block Intersection’ sign just prior to the intersection,” said Traffic and Parking Commission member James Caron. He added that the city will also be striping the intersection in the spring.

Caron said a stop sign at Pearl and Essex would only lead to more backups over the McArdle Bridge.

“The whole intersection [which also intersects with Park Street] is very busy, and with the school a block away, there is always traffic,” said Caron. 

A yield sign or a traffic island at the intersection could possibly help with the traffic woes in the area, Caron stated.

“As someone who frequents the area and is in that area often … that area is an absolute nightmare,” said Chelsea Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Jennifer Hassell. “No matter how many signs or lanes you paint on the street, no one is adhering to any of it. I think the best thing I heard you mention this evening is potentially putting an island in that area, because that is probably the only way you are going to get anyone to follow the lanes that are on the street.”

Hassell said she understood that a stop sign could back up traffic to the bridge, but she said something needs to be done about the intersection.

While the Traffic and Parking Commission vetoed the stop sign request, they said they would like to see Recupero refile some kind of request that presents some different options for dealing with traffic at that intersection.

The commission also considered several requests from Recupero and District 4 Councilor Enio Lopez for several speed bumps throughout the city. The requests were made for Monarch and Library streets, where Lopez said there have been concerns about speeding.

Caron said there were concerns with snow plows going over the larger, permanent speed bumps, but suggested smaller, temporary speed bumps at both locations on a six-month trial basis.

Councilors Lopez, Recupero, and Damali Vidot also requested the commission look into the issue of illegally parked hitch trailers in the city.

“There are a lot of commercial vehicles that bring trailers and they take up three parking spots on our streets,” said Lopez. 

Caron noted that the city already has an ordinance on the books regarding the parking of the trailers, and that the police are looking to enforce that ordinance.

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