Drivers & pedestrians violating crosswalk rules

A series of recent accidents has put a focus on pedestrian safety

NORTHAMPTON, Mass. (WWLP) – Northampton is called the Paradise City, but it might as well be called the Pedestrian City. There are walkers, bikers and runners. There’s heavy foot traffic from the downtown’s numerous shops and restaurants and crosswalks are everywhere. Many of those crosswalks cut across busy main roads.

There’s been recent pedestrian accidents in Chicopee, West Springfield, Great Barrington, and on December 9th a person was hit and nearly killed in this crosswalk on Bridge Street in Northampton. In response, the city’s parking and transportation commission is looking into how to improve crosswalk safety in the city.

“I think a light that comes on. Either a motion sensor or one that is tied into the regular street light but is focused on the crosswalk,” said Kim Audette of Sunderland.

“I think pedestrians have a responsibility too. Pedestrians simply dressed often in very dark clothes, they assume that you see them and they walk out directly without even looking,” said Charlie Maguire of Northampton.

Our 22News cameras caught both pedestrians and drivers in the wrong. 22News caught people jaywalking, where they try and cross in an area where no crosswalk exists. We caught a driver obstructing a crosswalk with their vehicle. Another driver refused to wait until the pedestrian had fully exited the crosswalk.

22News also caught multiple delivery trucks pulled up to the curb and the edge of this crosswalk on Main Street in Northampton, which impedes the vision of pedestrians from seeing oncoming traffic until they are already in the crosswalk.

“Drivers don’t see you stepping off the curb when there are cars parked and you are coming around a parked car, so I think if you allowed a little more space at each end of the crosswalk where people couldn’t park, it may be little more helpful,” said Elizabeth Bowling of Waltham.”

Northampton Police officer Ryan Tellier told 22News it’s not a loading zone, so it’s technically illegal, and they may be stepping up enforcement.

22News asked one of those delivery drivers if they ever thought that parking there was unsafe. That person told us no, and said they were told they could park there.

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