SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Springfield residents and leaders are pushing to make a dangerous intersection safer. 22News found out what’s being done to keep the community safe. City leaders and residents agree that the “X” needs to be safer, but not everyone agrees on what changes need to be made.
Big changes could be coming to a dangerous intersection in Springfield. Residents have long complained about heavy traffic, illegal U-turns, and lane confusion at “The X,” where Sumner Ave., Dickinson St., and Belmont Ave. meet. Now, city councilors are proposing to redesign the intersection.
22News asked a crossing guard there what drivers do wrong at the “X.” “There’s a lot of problems over here with the drivers, because they are making wrong turns, they’re speeding, they’re not waiting for the light. They don’t give the pedestrian enough time to cross.” He says even pedestrians don’t obey traffic signals.
But just as there are concerns about how dangerous the intersection is, Springfield city councilors also looked at how redesigning the “X” could cause even more problems for businesses and residents. Preliminary designs by the DPW would turn Belmont Ave. & Dickinson St. into one-way streets.
Small businesses would lose parking space to a pedestrian walkway to Forest Park. Dead-end streets would open up, and Park land would be used. “No one disagrees that there is a traffic problem at the X, but my resolve is to make sure that we do not use park land to solve the problem,” said Kateri Walsh to 22News.
Springfield’s DPW Director Chris Cignoli told 22News they’re looking at all options before. “We’re trying to kind of separate those traffic signals out to get the traffic to flow more efficiently. And what we’ve tried to tell people is not faster, but more efficiently through there, because right now you have to cycle through 3 sets of lights.”
The project’s price tag will come after a decision on a final design is made. The DPW will present new designs next month.