By JOHN HOWELL Joseph Harrington has lived on Main Avenue at the intersection of Inman Avenue for 30 years, and never has he witnessed so many close calls and accidents as he's seen ever since the traffic light at the intersection of Buttonwoods Avenue
Joseph Harrington has lived on Main Avenue at the intersection of Inman Avenue for 30 years, and never has he witnessed so many close calls and accidents as he’s seen ever since the traffic light at the intersection of Buttonwoods Avenue ceased operating and started blinking caution for Main Avenue traffic and red to stop Buttonwoods and Inman traffic.
Harrington has called the state and City Hall about the situation. He’s not alone. Neighbors have also called as well as motorists and family members of those involved in accidents.
The state Department of Transportation is familiar with the situation, informing the Beacon that they alerted the city and that the city had responded they were aware of the light and would take care of the matter when funding became available.
A DOT spokeswoman explained that while Main Avenue is a state road, portions of it are the responsibility of the city and that Warwick owns the light.
Shortly after the light was placed on the flashing mode, Harrington said a police supervisor visited the site seeking to reactivate it. Harrington said that failed and he passed along information he’d heard from city highway workers that it needed repairs. Soon after, stop signs were erected at Buttonwoods and Inman.
That may have helped stopped traffic on Buttonwoods and Inman, but little more.
Harrington claims the flashing yellow light has done nothing to slow Main Avenue traffic. Although the speed limit is 35, Harrington said most cars are traveling at 40 and even 50 and 60 mph. He said Main Avenue motorists swerve to avoid vehicles looking for a break to get onto Main Avenue. Making it all the more treacherous, says Harrington, is a hedge on city property that blocks a clear view of oncoming Main Avenue traffic, forcing motorists to edge out into the street beyond the stop sign. There’s persistent honking and frequent displays of obscene gestures and language.
“It goes on all the time,” he said.
“It’s going to take somebody getting killed before they do something,” Harrington said.
According to police records, there have been two accidents at the intersection since May 22.
The most serious of the accidents occurred June 8 at 9:40 a.m., when a vehicle was traveling northbound on Buttonwoods Avenue and, upon entering the intersection, hit a motorcyclist traveling west on Main Avenue. The motorcyclist, who was wearing a helmet, was transported to Rhode Island Hospital, where police believe he was treated for a broken leg.
In an interview Tuesday, Mayor Joseph J. Solomon was aware that the light is not functioning properly, adding that it would be significantly costly to repair. He didn’t offer an amount.
Solomon noted that the light at West Shore Road and Warwick Neck Avenue was also down and that the state quickly repaired it.
“But fortunately the state had the resources to send a truck down and within 24 hours they replaced all those lights with new lights. They tell us that that traffic light at Buttonwoods and Main Avenue belongs to the city, and I don’t understand that but if they say it is it is,” he said.
When informed a motorcyclist had been injured, Solomon said he would look into the matter.