A reader wrote to us asking if anything is being done by the town to further safeguard drivers and pedestrians at the Linden Street/Weston Road intersection, which includes crosswalks, a stop sign and blinking red or yellow lights. His note reads in part:
“It seems that the word ‘stop’ along with a flashing red light still mean that a person turning right can go without coming to a true stop. The percentage of cars that ‘roll’ through that sign/light is quite high. It is also interesting to note that some drivers still do not like to stop even when the red light is constant. It would be terrific to see a study done and to determine what could be done to ensure that cars do stop, that drivers look left and right (very few do see if any pedestrian is crossing the street), and that stop lights are obeyed. I would suspect that this corner is not the only one in Wellesley where people ignore stop signs and rarely look right after ensuring no traffic is on its way from the left.”
We asked the Wellesley Police Department whether they’ve been paying any special attention to the intersection and were told that “Officers do conduct enforcement at the intersection of Linden Street/Weston Road for crosswalk violations and stop sign violations. We have many areas in town that residents have concerns about and this is one of them that we assign to officers for enforcement on a regular basis. The police department handles the enforcement end of any traffic concerns in the town. If there is a request for a change in signage or speed limits etc., that is handled by the Selectmen’s office, but we work closely with them on these issues.”
According to the latest crash reports on the Wellesley Police Department website, there haven’t been too many incidents reported at the intersection of late, although there was a crash/no injuries in November.
Thanks for giving attention to this problem. A car made a left on red last week and nearly hit me when I was in the crosswalk– the light was a steady red.
I’ve been terrified crossing at this intersection too, but in my experience the biggest problem isn’t people making up their own rules for turning, it’s drivers on Weston Road zooming right through a red light at full speed, especially those coming across Central Street over the Metro North overpass, who can’t see the red until they’re right on top of it (though I’ve seen it plenty in the other direction too). I have actually almost never failed to encounter this when using that crossing.
I think part of the problem is that the light is both new and, being pedestrian-activated, only sporadically turns red, meaning that people who’ve used the road since before there was a crossing haven’t quite processed that there is one now. I’ve wondered if a sign at the top of the overpass might help some, but more often, after jumping (and yanking my dog) back to the curb as someone plows straight through the red after we’ve begun to cross, I’ve yearned to hear a siren start up. I know the WPD has a lot to do and I’m not sure what “regular basis” means, but it seems to me that doing some serious enforcement on that intersection for a good stretch of every day for a week or two might really help to wake people up.
One reason that this intersection is dangerous is because the lights are not in the correct universal order. For those of us that are colorblind the bottom light in a 3-light signal is always green (Red is always top with amber in the middle). However, this traffic signal has red as the bottom light. (The photo above has the bottom light on which my wife says is actually red).
Here is definition: “The universal standard is for the red to be above the green, with amber placed in between. When mounted vertically red is on top, but when mounted horizontally the red light’s location depends on the rule of the road, being on the left in a country that drives on the right (e.g. USA) and on the right in a country that drives on the left (e.g. Suriname).”