BILLERICA -- Sixty motorists who failed to stop or yield to pedestrians in the five crosswalks in the Town Center on Monday afternoon were issued citations of $200 each, police reported.
Two officers conducted a "directed-enforcement patrol" of crosswalk activity from about 3 to 7 p.m., coinciding with the Billerica Farmer's Market that normally increases foot traffic in the town center on summer Mondays, according to Deputy Chief Roy Frost.
The sting, amounting to a $12,000 message delivered to ticketed motorists and would-be violators, was prompted by the department's ongoing discussions with selectmen and other concerned residents about the serious dangers posed to pedestrians in the town center by distracted drivers and motorists unaware of the state law giving pedestrians in the crosswalk the right of way, Frost said.
"It's something we will continue to be very aggressive about enforcing, and will continue to do randomly throughout the summer," Frost said of the crosswalk monitoring. "With the advent of the warm weather and kids being out of school we certainly have added concerned about pedestrian safety, and can't emphasize enough the potential for serious injury, and how important it is for people when they drive through the center to be aware of pedestrians."
The Town Center encompasses the Town Common, senior center, public library and multiple shops.
The Board of Selectmen voted in June to make use of about $240,000 in Chapter 90 state funding to install better crosswalk signage, flashing lights, and "textured" crosswalks as part of a redesign to enhance pedestrian safety in the town center.
On Tuesday, Selectman Dan Burns expressed his support for the police-monitoring effort and citations that were issued on Monday.
"There is a need to get out there and educate the public that they have to stop," said Burns. "People are often in a hurry going to work, or running errands and they're just not paying enough attention that there are people in the crosswalk. We're trying to prevent a fatality or serious accident by making these changes."
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