WORCESTER (CBS) — With more than 400 crashes in a three-year span, Kelley Square in Worcester tops the statewide list for top crash locations, according to the Department of Transportation.
The DOT considers the busy intersection – which has no stoplights or walk signals – a safety hazard, and is implementing a plan to improve the congested area on an expedited timeline.
The Pawtucket Red Sox are responsible in part. With the team moving to Worcester come 2021, and a new ballpark being built around the corner from Kelley Square, city and state officials are worried about the traffic and danger games will bring.
More than 100 people showed up to the first of several public comment sessions on Wednesday night. The Department of Transportation and local officials gave a brief presentation, and informed the group they have no set plans yet for the construction. They were there, they say, to hear the community’s ideas. “We’re not going to solve every problem,” said John Bechard from DOT. “Not every person is going to walk away 100 percent happy.”
He grew up in Worcester, and said making longtime residents and business owners happy with the changes will be DOT’s biggest challenge.
Most residents who spoke with WBZ news said they welcome change, mostly because of safety issues. “Some people say you drive through Kelley Square with your eyes closed,” said 68-year-old resident Lorraine Laurie. She walks through Kelley Square every day and said cars rarely stop to let her cross, even at crosswalks.
Still, some who have worked there for years want things to stay the way they are. “They should keep it like that,” said liquor store clerk Geraldo Rosario. “It’s the heart of Worcester.”
Officials will hold multiple community meetings to discuss plans. While there is no construction plan set, they hope to start physical work in October of 2019 and complete it by 2021.