WINCHESTER - In order to make it safer for children walking to Muraco School (33 Bates Road in Winchester off Washington Street between Cross and Swanton streets), the Select Board voted to authorize the Town Manager, DPW and Planning Board to proceed with design and construction of a sidewalk on Bates Road.
At two previous meetings, both in the Select Board Meeting Room at Town Hall and at the Muraco School, the board discussed possibly adding a “Do Not Enter 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.” sign on Stone Avenue, off Washington Street to the south of Bates Road.
They originally chose to continue a public hearing to the Muraco School to better accommodate parents who lived in the area. They also continued it to after Town Meeting in May when most parents would return from April vacation.
At the first meeting, both the Traffic Review Committee and Town Engineer Beth Rudolph recommended using the signage. Rudolph described the intersection of Stone Avenue and Washington Street as very busy (many parents drive down Stone Avenue from Highland Avenue and cut across Washington Street to get onto Bates Road to drop their children off at Muraco School).
She admitted the sign would have burdened other side streets, such as Prince Avenue and Lebanon Street.
This week, the board, at the suggestion of member Susan Verdicchio (former School Committee chair), opted to install a sidewalk on the north side of Bates Road to help the crossing guard in the area (there is already a sidewalk on the south side).
Verdicchio added how Muraco was probably designed with the notion that everyone would bus to school.
Select Board member Michael Bettencourt admitted the sidewalk is “already, kind of in the queue for us” and stressed that getting the work done sooner would be better. Chair Mariano Goluboff suggested also adding in a fourth crosswalk to run from Stone Avenue to Bates Road.
“Leave that for the traffic study,” Rudolph said, adding the town wouldn’t want to overwhelm the crossing guard.
A study could be completed by mid-November, especially if the town conducts its own traffic counts.