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City pushes harder to nab speeders

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HAVERHILL — Police have issued more than 80 speeding tickets in the last month and are trying to provide eight hours of speed enforcement per day across Haverhill — but the city is eyeing other ways to make roads safer.

Some city councilors want a second traffic officer added to the Police Department. They also want speed limit signs posted near electronic warning signs which flash a car’s speed toward approaching drivers.

The crackdown is a response to complaints from neighbors about speeders across Haverhill.

Councilors suggested this week that speed limit signs be placed underneath electronic speed radar signs stationed on busy streets.

Some councilors, including Thomas Sullivan, said drivers simply aren’t aware of the speed limits on some streets. Sullivan said he has spoken with Mayor James Fiorentini about hiring an additional traffic and safety officer to assist Officer Lance Powell.

“In front of Winnekenni Park, there’s a mobile (electronic) sign, but no speed limit sign in the area,” Sullivan said. “People are buzzing by between 35 and 40 miles per hour, sometimes going 50, when when the limit is actually 40.

“How is anyone to know that” the limit is 40 mph unless signs displaying the limit are posted, he asked.

Councilor Michael McGonagle said of the 80 speeding stops made by police in the last month, 17 were on Main and Concord streets, while 12 happened on Broadway. Councilor William Macek, a resident of Concord Street, said he has seen numerous people being stopped for speeding on that road and hopes a “ripple effect” will result from the stops.

“Perhaps (these stops) will make people think more and be more cautious to avoid being stopped,” he said.

People driving through neighboring communities are careful of their speed because they know they risk getting ticketed by police there, said Councilor Melinda Barrett, who lives on Salem Street in Bradford, another haven for speeders.

“It’s one of the number-one complaints I receive,” Barrett said. “To speed through Groveland or Georgetown though, you’d have to be insane, because they will ticket you.”

Barrett agreed that hiring a second officer dedicated to traffic control in Haverhill would be a smart investment.

“There is not enough time in the day for him to get to everything,” she said of Powell the lone traffic officer.

Another idea, proposed by Councilor Joseph Bevilacqua, is to meet with public safety officials from New Hampshire towns bordering the city. The idea is to work together to curb the number of speeders entering Haverhill from the north.

“We have tremendous volume of traffic coming from New Hampshire in the morning and early evenings when people are trying to get to and from (Interstate) 495,” Bevilacqua said. “I just want to see what they’re doing to control traffic and speeding because it has an impact in Haverhill.”


Courtesy: Peter Francis

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