Adams Street One-Way Hits Bump In The Road

The Town of Bourne is still negotiating with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation on the plan to turn Adams Street into a one-way street. Original hopes had been that the change would occur ahead of the start of the summer tourist season. It is now more likely that any such change will not happen until sometime in the fall.

That was the assessment that Bourne Department of Public Works superintendent George W. Sala presented to the Bourne Planning Board recently. Mr. Sala said not to hold him to that timeline, but given a “very positive meeting” he recently attended, he is hopeful it will be done by the fall.

Mr. Sala told the board that he and Bourne Police Chief Dennis R. Woodside, who has been at the forefront of this endeavor, met with William Phinney of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and Glenn Cannon of the Cape Cod Commission last month. The meeting was productive, and any suggestion that MassDOT was giving the town a hard time about making Adams Street a one-way street was untrue.

Mr. Sala said that MassDOT is willing to work with the town, and the Cape Cod Commission is in the process of conducting its own traffic study of the area. Mr. Sala added that neither he nor the chief have heard any negative feedback on the proposal.

The proposal is to make Adams Street one-way so that drivers can access Cranberry Highway from Sandwich Road. Traffic coming off the Mid-Cape Highway onto Cranberry Highway would have to access Sandwich Road by way of Ben Abbey Road, where there is a traffic light. Chief Woodside and Mr. Sala came up with the proposal as a way of cutting down on the high volume of accidents and near misses at the corner of Adams Street and Sandwich Road.

Planning board member Elmer I. Clegg suggested that if MassDOT does not approve the one-way plan, a possible backup plan would be to keep Adams Street two way, but only allow a left turn onto Sandwich Road. Mr. Clegg said that it would reduce the volume of traffic on Adams Street and still allow residents of Adams Street to use the street both ways.

Planning board chairman Christopher J. Farrell, who retired from the Bourne Police Department in 2010, said that suggestion was made sometime during his 35 years on the force.

“Unfortunately, we all know that people cannot read signs, or they disobey the signs,” he said.

He added that the only way to combat the offenders would be to install a raised median on Sandwich Road. Back then, as well as now, Mass DOT would not approve a median because Sandwich Road simply is not wide enough, he said. Mr. Farrell said that, based on his experience with the police force, he is convinced making Adams Street one-way would have a positive effect on traffic in that area.

“In 35 years on the police department, I can tell you most of those accidents would have been prevented had Adams Street been a one-way going north to south or up the hill toward Cranberry Highway,” he said.

Board member Louis R. Gallo said switching Adams Street to one-way would not solve the overall problem. Mr. Gallo said that drivers would eventually figure out how to access Sandwich Road by way of Westdale Park so they will not have to wait at the traffic light at Ben Abbey Road.

“Within a year that will be bumper to bumper,” he said of Westdale Park.

One suggestion he made was to cut off the Sagamore exit to people exiting the Cape and force people to go over the Sagamore Bridge and use Scenic Highway. He also suggested that the town contact the property owner at the corner of Adams Street and Sandwich Road and ask that two trees currently blocking the view of drivers on Adams Street be cut down.

Mr. Farrell noted there is a section in the town’s bylaws, which grants the chief of police and/or the selectmen the authority to order any hedge, fence or tree that is impeding operations to be removed.

“So, that is an option,” he said.

The board unanimously voted to support the ongoing efforts of Mr. Sala and Chief Woodside with regard to the Adams Street one-way proposal.

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