Pittsfield's response to Robbins Avenue traffic issues vexes organizers

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PITTSFIELD — The Traffic Commission has decided that it's up to Public Services Commissioner David Turocy and the Pittsfield Police Department to act on safety concerns about a West Side intersection.

On Thursday, the commission voted to refer a petition for a four-way stop sign at Robbins Avenue and Prospect Street to Turocy and the Police Department for further action. Ward 6 Councilor John Krol backed a petition from neighborhood residents concerned after, they say, they have seen several people clipped by passing cars.

Turocy said this week that federal standards stipulate that the intersection isn't a good candidate for a four-way stop. But organizers say they worry that that is an excuse to do nothing.

"Still, people are driving too fast," said Linda Kelley, chairwoman of the West Side Neighborhood Initiative. "And the drivers aren't paying attention to the kids, and the kids aren't paying attention to the cars."

Kelley said the issue of traffic safety in the area of the Christian Center won't go off the radar, and will appear on the initiative's agenda for next month.

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As far as enforcement goes, Officer Marc Maddalena has been working to tackle speeding as a citywide issue.

"We try to stay on the higher-volume roadways where the majority of the complaints are," he said, citing Onota and Linden streets as nearby examples.

He said he hears complaints about many side streets like Robbins Avenue and Prospect Street, and he said issues along these roads have more to do with a select few people who speed regularly along them. That's why, he said, he asks for residents to keep a close eye for when these regulars are typically out and about.

"We have asked residents with similar complaints to attempt to obtain descriptions of vehicles and times where these vehicles are normally seen speeding," he said, "so that we can observe their activity at these times, instead of dedicating an officer to a side street for eight hours for enforcement where there is little traffic volume and few actual speeders."

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@berkshireeagle.com, @amandadrane on Twitter, and 413-496-6296.


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