EASTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s something we are all taught as kids before crossing a street, to look both ways for cars. But for Natalie Denornha of Sunderland doing that is not enough.
Natalie, who often uses the crosswalk at 122 Pleasant Street in Easthampton, wants more changes to be made to stop speeding, following numerous pedestrian accidents this past year.
“Nobody seems to slow down,” she told 22News. “We will be halfway across the cross walk and somebody will just fly right through.”
Signage close by indicates the crosswalk is a 30 mph zone, but Natalie says for over a year she has had too many close calls with speeding cars. Places of business have also put out cones to stop the speeding.
“Even with flags on the cones, I’ve had people have to swerve onto the sidewalk to miss me,” Natalie continued.
Pedestrian safety has been a concern in western Massachusetts with numerous pedestrian accidents happening this past year.
Back in August, two pedestrians in Easthampton were crossing Northampton Street when they were killed after being struck by a vehicle. Later that month in Springfield, two women were taken to the hospital after being hit by a car while using a crosswalk at the intersection of Wilbraham Road and Massachusetts Avenue. That was the same place where an AIC employee was killed while crossing the street last year.
And In Chicopee, early last month, a vehicle driving in the wrong lane of traffic at speeds over 70 miles per hour on Springfield Street struck and killed a pedestrian.
Easthampton Mayor Nicole Lachapelle in a statement told 22News that the crosswalks on Pleasant Street are dangerous because of speeding and that 122 Pleasant Street crosswalk now has increased street light illumination, flashing lights, and new paintwork.
When asked if the new changes were enough, Natalie says, “No. I’m sorry, it’s not. It’s solar powered so it doesn’t turn on all the time… if we had a crosswalk that we pressed a button and it lit up real bright… a raise crosswalk would also help but what we have right now is not enough.”
Mayor LaChappelle told 22News some efforts to address the issues on Pleasant Street also include additional traffic patrols and mobile speed tracking signs.