Council and traffic safety group to discuss methods to combat dangerous driving

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North Attleborough Town Hall
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If there is a common concern among North Attleborough residents, it would be speeding.

Whether it be a car going 60 miles per hour on N. Washington Street, a distracted driver paying no attention to the road or the worry of children being hurt by an oncoming vehicle, instances of speeding are a frequent conversation among those who live in town.

“It’s ridiculously dangerous over here on Commonwealth Avenue,” Rachel Flannery said. “Everyone tries to beat the light and take off in a hurry. There are multiple accidents a week here because of this.”

Kasey O’Keefe, who lives on Old Post Road, said speeding has become so common on her street that vehicles narrowly miss her mailbox.

“I can’t even get my mail,” O’Keefe said. “Many people are on their phones while they speed and then swerve at the last minute when they see the mailbox.”

To address the speeding concerns, the Town Council has scheduled a joint meeting with the Traffic Safety Advisory Group (TSAG) for Dec. 12 to determine measures to reduce speeding.

The planned meeting between the council and TSAG began as an idea between Council President Justin Pare and Councilor Dan Donovan. Pare said the council has received comments from constituents about vehicles traveling at high speed. He and Donovan met and discussed if the council could draft bylaws to mitigate this.

“It’s the most common concern we hear from constituents in town,” Pare said. “Both Dan and I asked ourselves what we could do as councilors. The Police Department can’t set up speed bumps or signage. How can we be responsive to the needs of our constituents?”

According to Donovan, both he and Pare arranged a meeting with Town Manager Michael Borg to present a proposal for a bylaw that would implement speed humps on a temporary or permanent basis. The Attleboro City Council passed a similar ordinance in 2019. Donovan and Pare were then told by Borg that TSAG could implement an ordinance without the need for a bylaw. Borg, Donovan and Pare agreed that the best course of action was inviting TSAG to their next meeting.

“We thought we needed a bylaw but it turns out we did not need to reinvent the wheel,” Donovan said. “So what we decided to do is set up a meeting with them and evaluate what we can do to calm down these concerns.”

TSAG comprises five members: DPW Director Mark Hollowell, North Attleborough Fire Chief Chris Coleman, North Attleborough Police Captain Jason Roy, Assistant Town Manager Antonio Morabito, and TSAG clerk Kerrin Billingkoff.

The group is responsible for enforcing laws and measures related to traffic, parking, and safety, such as a new winter parking ban that would go into effect during emergency situations. The group is also tasked with incorporating bylaws related to traffic, such as a recently passed measure allowing residents to petition for the speed limit to be reduced to 25 miles per hour throughout town.

Pare said the conversation between the council and TSAG would be a first step in addressing the issue. A father of four, Pare said he understands the worry from families and constituents.

“We definitely have to do everything we can,” Pare said. “As a father of two girls and two boys, it’s not just me who experiences the risks of speeding vehicles and I believe we need to do our part.”