Action needed on Route 6 safety, says Select Board

Jan 4, 2021

Safer pedestrian access along Route 6 may come to town after the Select Board discussed an action plan to improve safety following the New Year’s Eve death of a pedestrian on the road at a meeting on Jan. 4.

Select Board Vice Chair Shawn McDonald brought up the issue, noting that it was the second death of a person walking along that stretch of State Road in 2020. 

“This is a situation on Route 6 that is just absolutely abysmal,” McDonald said, attributing the problem in large part to the state’s transitional housing program, which places people in need at Dartmouth motels. “There is no safe way for these individuals to go up and down Route 6.”

He went on to note that the town’s safety officer has recommended more lighting be installed along the route, and that the state has acknowledged the need for more sidewalks along the southern side.

“More importantly, the state is allowing motels and hotels to house these people without adequate facilities. There are no kitchens in these places,” he continued. “Generally you’ll see people requiring two, three, sometimes maybe even four bedrooms, in a smaller setting...Basically, this is where people are now living.”

“This is the second person [in the past year] be killed,” he added. “That’s two too many.”

Town Administrator Shawn MacInnes noted that the town will be installing more lighting at the junction with Connecticut Ave., although the accident in question had taken place further up the road.

Board members also suggested asking the building commissioner or Board of Health to conduct inspections for overcrowding, speaking with property owners about maintaining existing sidewalks and cutting back vegetation, and requesting help on the issue from state legislators.

“We need to take action,” said Select Board member David Tatelbaum. 

MacInnes said that he would speak with the building commissioner about conducting inspections. The issue will appear on the agenda at the next Select Board meeting on Jan. 25.

Meanwhile the Select Board may form a committee on creating off-street parking in Padanaram, as board member Stanley Mickelson brought up the need for more parking to bring business to the village.

“We as the town fathers need to support those businesses in the village,” he said, before suggesting a small committee made up of area residents, Select Board members, and business owners.

The board will likely vote on the plan at its next meeting on Jan. 25.

Board members also congratulated the town’s Management Information Systems Director Mike Courville on his recent promotion to colonel with the Army National Guard.

Courville said that he has been in the service’s reserve component for 33 years, and has been working in cyber operations for the past five.