Police investigate car/bicycle accident on Western Ave.


BRATTLEBORO -- A resident of Glen Park was involved in a bicycle-vehicle crash on Western Avenue Wednesday, as the town continues to try to improve the pedestrian and bicycle safety along the busy corridor.

Judith Malloy, 69, of Brattleboro, was heading eastbound on Western Avenue just after 5 p.m. when she collided with a car driven by Joseph Persio, 27, of Cheshire, Conn., according to a Brattleboro Police Department report.

Persio was traveling eastbound when he tried to pass Malloy near Garfield Drive and she "collided with the car," the police report stated.

Malloy was transported to Brattleboro Memorial Hospital with non-life threatening injuries, and the police are continuing to investigate the crash.

Western Avenue has been the scene of three vehicle-pedestrian fatalities over the past few years and the town is moving ahead with two major traffic improvement projects to address the pedestrian-bicycle safety issues.

But even before work starts on the Department of Public Works projects, residents of West Brattleboro are asking for more immediate steps to encourage drivers to slow down.

At the July 22 Traffic Safety Committee meeting Stewart McDermet, from the West Brattleboro Association, asked the committee to move more aggressively to request the state to make changes to the road and sidewalks to reduce the speed of traffic on Western Avenue.

According to the meeting notes, McDermet said a traffic study had not been done since 2008 and while West Brattleboro residents have been asking for the town to address the issue, there have been no real improvements made along the road.

Nancy Brosz, a resident of Glen Park and president of the Tri Park Board of Directors, was also at that July 22 meeting, where she asked the town to do a better job of enforcing the speed limit on Western Avenue.

"There has been a lot of interest among the people in West Brattleboro to improve pedestrian safety," Brosz said Thursday. "I think better enforcement would make a difference. I think there is more they can do."

Brosz said it is very difficult, and dangerous, for the residents of Glen Park, Melrose Terrace, Westgate and Mountain Home Park to cross Western Avenue when the speed limit is 40 mph.

During the budget discussions in Brattleboro earlier this year requests from the Traffic Safety Committee for radar speed feedback signs were almost cut, but the funding was included in the final budget and Highway Supervisor Hannah O'Connell said the town just received two radar signs.

One was paid for with school board money, and a sign will be located near Academy School. The second speed radar sign will be moved around town, though O'Connell said it will definitely be put up on Western Avenue from time to time. O'Connell also said the Department of Public Works is expecting to present its final plans for its Western Avenue traffic calming project to the Selectboard in the coming months.

The department held a series of public meetings in the spring and a final plan has been presented to VTrans for approval. Once VTrans is done with it, it will go back to the engineers for comments, after which the Traffic Safety Committee, and then Selectboard, will then be asked to approve it.

O'Connell said the town wants to narrow Western Avenue, making it easier to cross.

She said the project is expected to cost between $800,000 and $1 million and the town is still looking for the funding for the work.

"We're champing at the bit to get this thing going," O'Connell said. "We are actively working to make these changes and hope they will help us move toward making the roads safer for everybody."

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at hwtisman@reformer.com or 802-254-2311, ext. 279. Follow him on Twitter @HowardReformer.


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