The Amesbury Beat
Officer Tom Hanshaw
---- — Every so often I hear an older tune on the radio called “Signs,” which was recorded by the Five Man Electrical Band and reached No. 3 on the Billboard Chart in 1971.
As we drive around our cities and towns, sometimes it does seem as though signs are everywhere. In fact, too many signs can be more confusing than helpful. If you are a motorist and travel along the newly reconstructed section of Route 110 near Rocky Hill Road in Amesbury, you may have noticed a new sign posted there.
A “No Left Turn” sign has been posted on the traffic island that separates the east- and westbound lanes near Dunkin’ Donuts and the Irving gas station, which I’m sure has caused some confusion. Although there is a raised traffic island between the lanes, it ends at the entrance to both businesses. The yellow-striped markings on the pavement, which continue westerly toward Interstate 495, have the same meaning: You cannot cross them. Left turns from the eastbound lane into Dunkin’ Donuts and left turns from the west lane into the Irving station are prohibited. The yellow striped area between the pair of solid double yellow lines is not a turn lane; it’s actually considered a traffic island too.
Motorists and business owners may or may not agree with the restriction, but with the current design, it is not safe for motorists to make those left turns. The newly designed stretch of Route 110, also known as Macy Street, accommodates traffic volume with multiple lanes between the off ramp of I-495 north and the Salisbury line.
The new design also contributes to higher speeds, presenting a significant danger when a vehicle is stopped in the travel lane, waiting to turn across two lanes of oncoming traffic. In the westbound lane, between McDonald’s and Dunkin’ Donuts, there is a slight hill, which reduces vision and was not removed during construction.
So, although the roadway has seen many improvements, there are still plenty of ingredients that can contribute to a crash. In fact, Macy Street continues to be the street with the most crashes each month in the city.
So you may not agree with the signs or even decide to take your chances and turn left anyway, but you are subject to being stopped and cited by police. If a crash happens, given the likely speed and positioning, the damage to vehicles and occupants could be quite serious. It may take a couple extra minutes to use a proper turn lane, but it’s definitely a lot safer.
I’d like to extend my condolences to the family of Aldage LaValley, who passed away earlier this week. Aldage was a member of the Auxiliary Police for 43 years and a fixture at every community event. Al will be forever known for his enthusiasm, energy, big smile and bigger heart. He was also a WWII hero, fighting at Iwo Jima and one of the reasons our nation is free today.
Tom Hanshaw is the crime prevention officer for the Amesbury Police Department.