Route 6 residents worried about speeding

By Tanner Harding | Mar 15, 2017
Photo by: Georgia Sparling
Marion —

Residents who live east of the Front Street intersection on Route 6 say the 50-mile-per-hour speed limit is making the area dangerous, and the town has asked the state to conduct a study to determine whether the limit should be reduced.

“We put our turn signals on and pump our breaks,” said Little Neck Village resident Suzanne Peterson, explaining the challenge of turning into her neighborhood from Route 6. “Sometimes it gets so scary we have to go down to the intersection and turn around. It’s just by luck there haven’t been more accidents.”

Peterson has been in contact with representatives at the Massachusetts Department of Transportation as far back as 2011 and as recently as Feb. 22.

According to a recent letter from MassDOT District Highway Director Mary-Joe Perry to her, the town has formally requested a “speed zone study,” which will involve monitoring the number of cars that use that area of road and the speed the cars are traveling.

If it turns out that the majority of the cars are traveling below the posted speed limit, the limit could be reduced, said Police Chief Lincoln Miller. He noted that because Route 6 is a state highway, the state makes the decisions on speed limits and road layout.

Due to residents’ complaints, the chief has had more officers watching for speeding on the road.

“Route 6 is probably the most patrolled road in town,” he noted.

Selectman Steve Gonsalves, who lives nearby on Hermitage Road and owns Eden Florist and Garden Shop located across the street from Little Neck Village, says he’s experienced much of the same frustration as Peterson.

“It’s absolutely insane,” he said. “I’ve had to go outside and stop cars to let people cross [in the crosswalk] because I’ve gotten so angry…I couldn’t say more about the dangers of this road having lived here for seventeen years.”

Similar to Little Neck residents who drive to the light to turn around, Gonsalves said he has many times aborted the turn into his driveway for fear of the speeding cars behind him.

“…People are coming so fast I’m afraid they’re going to go through the back of my car,” he said. “People are easily, on average, going sixty miles per hour. It’s really scary.”

Gonsalves doesn’t think a speed study will solve anything, and also doesn’t necessarily think even lowering the speed limit to 40 miles per hour would help.

“It doesn’t even matter the speed limit, a lot of drivers nowadays are distracted. It’s human nature,” he said.

To compensate for this, Gonsalves wants to see a flashing light added at the crosswalk near his house and said the signs should emphasize the fines people are subject to for not stopping for pedestrians.

“…Someone is going to get killed…A flashing sign and repainted lines could really drive the point home…” he said. “Let’s not get it to the point where it’s a tragedy. Let’s make sure that doesn’t happen.”

It was not immediately clear when the speed zone study would get underway. Representatives from MassDOT did not respond to requests for comment.

Marion residents aren’t the only community members who have voiced concern about Route 6.

In Mattapoisett, officials have asked for better signage throughout the more congested areas of the road. In October, MassDOT began installing flashing crosswalk signs at Pearl Street, near the Ropewalk and at the high school.

They are also petitioning to have the speed limit near Mattapoisett Neck Road brought down to 30 mph.

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