With the volume and speed of cars increasing in front of Tri-Town Community Action Agency, President and CEO Joseph DeSantis has appealed to state officials for help.
“Although we have a crosswalk on Hartford Avenue in front of our building, it is clear that this is not enough to ensure the safety of our Health Center patients, clients, and employees,” explained DeSantis, who testified before the state Traffic Commission on Feb. 10 and asked for a traffic signal or other traffic control device to be installed. “Our main concern continues to be the safety of those crossing, and that means getting cars to slow down as they approach the area. There is currently a huge potential for injury – or worse – to those parking in the lot across the street.”
The Traffic Commission voted unanimously to study the request, and following its meeting, Rhode Island Department of Transportation staffers surveyed the area for sight lines and traffic flow, DeSantis said.
“We are very pleased at the quick response to our request,and are hopeful that the Traffic Commission and RIDOT will reach a decision promptly about what else can be done to reduce the potential for accidents,” he explained.
On Dec. 9, 2015, three Tri-Town staffers barely avoided injury when two cars collided at the crosswalk near dusk while the employees were waiting to cross the street. Johnston Police reported that one driver failed to yield for the crosswalk, resulting in his vehicle striking the car in front of his, which had slowed down appropriately.
“The crosswalk by itself is no longer adequate for the traffic that passes our building every day, and, more importantly, for our patients and employees who are crossing the street. I think that incident in December proves it,” DeSantis said.
Tri-Town purchased its current facility in 1997, and in 2014, the agency bought the lot across Hartford Avenue to provide parking for patients,clients, and employees. RIDOT completed a restriping of the area in 2010, and installed signs on either side of Hartford Avenue to alert drivers to the crosswalk.