NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) - Northampton city officials are asking drivers to drive as if their kids lived there; as more Rt. 66 residents continue to voice their safety concerns.
Following increasing reports of speeding drivers, the City Council will host a public forum later this month. Route 66 resident David Stevens will facilitate the conversation between concerned residents and city officials.
Proposed solutions to the speeding problem include dropping the 25 mile per hour speed limit, increasing signage, or installing more pedestrian safety lights. In a telephone interview, Stevens told 22News that the forum is informational. Stevens says speed regulations must be approved by the state government, given that it's a state-owned road.
Route 66 is one of the most traveled stretches of roadway in Northampton; stretching 15 miles west from the city's downtown to Huntington. But the battle between pedestrians and drivers, to rule the road is becoming a problem.
"It's very difficult the speed of the cars coming up the road, they are not going 25," said Scott Mezoff outside his home Tuesday morning.
Mezoff lives off Rt. 66, just a block from where Moises Diaz lives with his family. They both worry about the daily traffic saying drivers are becoming more careless.
"People who drive around here drive too fast. And it's not good because there are a lot of kids in this neighborhood. There's a skateboarding park and kids cross this street all the time. I also came really close to being hit," said Diaz.
Greg Wales says he was walking his dog last week when he almost got hit by a car. "My pup Buddy and I were crossing two days ago, and people whip around this corner and you can't see around it and we almost got hit," said Wales outside the Felt Building in Northampton.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says speeding is a contributing factor in approximately one third of fatal crashes. Scott King of King & Cushman Insurance says working to keep drivers alert is a good start.
"You just have to make people more aware, awareness is a big factor in how people drive; certainly more signs, blinking lights," said King, who lives in Northampton, on Tuesday afternoon.
The forum will be held Wednesday, January 30 at 7:00 pm at the Ryan Road School Gymnasium.