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Swampscott's Five Most Dangerous Intersections

Seven years of police traffic data points to the most dangerous places to drive in town.

have been tracking data on local car accidents for the past seven years and have uncovered a number of interesting trends.

For instance, Forest Avenue by the old high school - currently the middle school - had been one of the town’s worst streets for traffic accidents.

However, since the opening of theon Essex Street near Jackson Park, accidents on Forest Avenue have gone down, while accidents on Essex Street between Burpee Road and the Greenway have increased.

You might think that such an occurrence could easily have been predicted with the increased traffic and younger drivers at the new high school.

But just two blocks away at the intersection of Essex Street and Burrill Street, accidents are down since the high school opened. Construction of the high school forced the installation of a new traffic light at that intersection, which had previously needed one.

The bottom line, according to Lieutenant Thomas Stephens of the Swampscott Police Traffic Division, is the town has a pretty good handle on where drivers have the most trouble, but it still remains up to the drivers to pay attention and make sure they reduce their own risks of accidents.

Fortunately, due to the nature of most Swampscott roads, few of these accidents are serious and fewer result in serious injuries or deaths.

Without further adieu, here is the list of top five accident prone intersections (or sections of streets) in Swampscott.

1. Humphrey Street at Burrill Street and Monument Avenue:

There have been approximately two dozen accidents at this intersection over the past seven years. Stephens noted that this is by far the worst intersection in town for accidents, including accidents where motorists hit pedestrians and cyclists and accidents involving multiple motor vehicles.

“The design of the intersection of these three streets is very bad, especially for the number of vehicles that use those roads,” said Stephens. “Unfortunately, there is not a lot we can do, because Monument Avenue, which goes all the way through to Humphrey Street, is the start of the Olmstead District and we can’t do anything to redesign or change the Olmstead design there.”

2. Humphrey Street at Phillips Park down to Sutton Street:

Lt. Stephens noted that the difficulty with this stretch of road seems to be related to the park activity at Phillips Park and possibly to neighborhood traffic or business traffic at Sutton Street trying to enter traffic on Humphrey.

There were 16 accidents reported on this stretch of Humphrey Street during the past seven years.

3. Paradise Road, at the intersection of the Vinnin Square shopping plazas:

In addition to the high volume of fast-moving traffic that travels through Vinnin Square each day, this stretch of road has the added problem of increased pedestrian traffic from people using public transportation to access the shopping plazas on either side of Paradise Road.

Lt. Stephens’ map of accidents in town showed at least 12 accidents at or near this stretch of road over the past seven years.

4. Humphrey Street at Atlantic Street:

Traffic accidents at this location also seem to be related to a poor design of the intersection, which is further complicated by the intersection with Puritan Road to the southeast.

“The most frequent accidents we have here are when motorists traveling south on Humphrey Street approaching that intersection slow to yield to traffic coming from Atlantic,” said Lt. Stephens. “If there are multiple cars making that merge from Humphrey, and the first car stays too long at the intersection, the second car may run into the back of the first car, because they’re looking to the left to merge, instead of looking in front of them to see if the first car has left the intersection yet.”

5. Essex Street between Burpee Road and The Greenway:

As mentioned earlier, this stretch of road is a recent addition to the list, as the traffic serving the high school moved to this part of town when the new school opened.

Previously, the section of Forest Street in front of the old high school saw a large number of accidents, usually involving young drivers or harried parents picking up/dropping off their children.

The traffic signal that stops and slows traffic on Essex Street at the entrance to the high school has had a calming effect on some of this activity.

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