Town will paint over Elm Street crosswalk

MILFORD – Saying the crosswalk in front of an Elm Street nursing home is a safety hazard, se­lectmen have decided to eliminate it.

On Jan. 25, the board acted on the recommen­dation of its Traffic Safety Committee, which said the town should do away with the crosswalk.

Employees of The Elms had pleaded with town officials last month to do something about the crosswalk after one of them was injured when a car failed to stop. There have been accidents and near misses over the years, they said, and asked for a traffic light or signs to remind drivers to stop.

But Selectman Gary Daniels, a member of the committee, said the nearby crosswalk in front of the Smith & Heald Funeral Home or the one at West Street, where there is a traffic light, are safer.

The crosswalk in front of Smith & Heald is only about 200 feet away from the nursing home. It is less complicated because it isn’t an intersection and has a better line of sight, he said.

But the crosswalk im­mediately in front of the nursing home is danger­ous because of there are several distractions, in­cluding the ambulance building and an auto parts store on the corner. Traffic coming out of Co­lumbus Avenue onto Elm Street is a problem, and two accidents occurred, the selectman said, as people were driving out of Columbus Avenue and making a left turn.

Daniels also cited the Manual of Uniform Traf­fic Control Devices, the guide used by state and local agencies, which rec­ommends that crosswalks not be closer than 308 feet from each other.

Selectmen said police and public works staff provided information tothe committee, and police monitoring the spot reported that six people crossed the street in the morning and six in the afternoon. Columbus Avenue was named for the Knights of Columbus building that is now Share Outreach. The Elms pays for parking space in Share’s lot. Columbus Avenue "is not a quiet side street anymore," Chairman Mark Fougere said. As for the suggestion that the town set up a flag system for pedestrians, Daniels said it would be a signal that the town regard the crosswalk as safe to use, and it isn’t. The board also voted to have the Traffic Safety Committee review all of the town’s crosswalks.

Kathy Cleveland can be reached at 673-3100 or kcleveland@cabinet.com.