Photo: The scene of the accident at Lexington and Sycamore streets.
The Belmont Board of Selectmen will join the town’s Traffic Advisory Committee at its scheduled meeting Thursday, Sept. 13 at the Town Hall auditorium as the committee takes up pedestrian safety after the death of a resident killed walking in a crosswalk.
The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. and run for approximately 90 minutes.
Sachi Thanawala, 39, was struck by a 2015 Ford Transit commercial van around 8:30 a.m. on Aug. 30 while walking at the raised intersection of Lexington and Sycamore streets. The mother of two died two days later.
The meeting will be the first, but not likely the final chance the public will have a chance to question town officials and make statements. Town Administrator Patrice Garvin said that it is quite likely that there will be future hearings on traffic issues involving pedestrian safety.
Since the accident, residents have contacted elected and town officials, police and have posted online their concerns that the intersection where the accident occurred and Lexington Street are unsafe as vehicles are prone to race above the 25-mph speed limit. Residents near the accident site has expressed increasing that traffic calming street measures need to be employed to make area safe for walkers and school children who use the intersection to head to and from the Samuel Butler Elementary School which is a few blocks down Sycamore.
Citizens have also used social media to express their opinions.
“This intersection is an absolute nightmare, and has only gotten worse since the town added a raised speed table/bump,” commented Frank Maldarelli in the Belmontonian. “My recommendation would be to add a four-way stop sign. Perhaps this will prevent life from needlessly being lost in the future.”
“I have watched in horror as children ran, frightened and confused, across streets where cars would not slow down at all,” wrote Sara. “Belmont is used as a cut through–pick up trucks, vans, fast cars. Enough!!! Do something!! Let’s demand more of our town government.”
Thursday’s meeting will begin with statements by the selectmen, the Belmont Police and the advisory committee. Glenn Clancy, the director of the Office of Community Development and Town Engineer, will then present an overview of pedestrian and traffic projects. After the officials speak, residents will be given an opportunity to express their opinion.