Fiorentini Asks MassDOT to Work Out ‘Kinks’ With Main Street Traffic Lights Amid $4M Revamp

Main Street as seen from Summer Street. (Courtesy photograph.)

The city engineering office is working with MassDOT to reconfigure a congested Main Street. (Courtesy photograph)

Haverhill residents aren’t the only ones fed up with Main Street’s traffic light confusion as the state continues a $4 million revamp: Mayor James J. Fiorentini’s frustrated, too.

With lane striping finally completed last week, Fiorentini checked in on Massachusetts Department of Transportation workers for a progress update on the improvements being made to several of the city’s most dangerous intersections. During his visit, Fiorentini found there’s much more to do before the area is fully safe.

“I see a very long line coming up Main Street and I don’t like it,” Fiorentini told WHAV. While Fiorentini—who lives near Walnut Square School—does not sit in the same traffic as those coming from Bradford into Haverhill do, he sympathizes with his constituency.

Among the issues, Fiorentini told WHAV, are what he calls “kinks” in the synchronization of traffic lights, leading to far too much congestion in the well-traveled area. The decision to remove the green arrow for cars turning left onto Merrimack Street was just the tip of the iceberg, the mayor explained. Blinking yellow arrows and improperly calibrated crosswalk lights also cause confusion for drivers and pedestrians.

As a result, he’s tasked the office of city engineer John H. Pettis with re-examining traffic light data. A meeting with city officials and MassDOT is scheduled for mid-December in an effort to smooth out those kinks, Fiorentini said.

Fiorentini hopes the sit-down between city and state officials will lead to a compromise. “Traffic engineering has to be adjusted for common sense. I remember when that whole (Route) 125 Bradford project was being designed when I was on the Council and a lady said ‘We’re going to commute to work at five miles an hour.’ That was 19 or 20 years ago,” he recalled to WHAV.

In addition to the coordination of traffic signals, the state-funded project, running the length of Main Street up to Kenoza Avenue, is expected to include new ADA compliant sidewalks, bike lanes and drainage improvements.