Editor's note: The following petition, signed by 24 Westfield residents, was given to Mayor Andy Skibitsky, members of the town council, Police Chief David Wayman and members of the press at the town council's conference meeting Feb. 28.
Dear Mayor Skibitsky , Councilmembers Arena and Della Fera and Chief Wayman,
The intersection of Prospect Street and Cowperthwaite Place can now be regarded as one of the most dangerous crossings in the town of Westfield. We, the citizens of Westfield, plea to you that immediate action be taken to protect the safety of the residents of Westfield and enforce the existing laws of this town.
This intersection is approximately one block north of a Trader Joe’s, a busy municipal parking lot, and the busy Downtown Westfield area. It is also one block east of Roosevelt Intermediate School and three blocks south of Franklin Elementary School. It is a very busy pedestrian intersection, both for residents of the area as well as for the school children of Roosevelt (and, to a lesser extent, the children of Franklin).
Unfortunately, each day, hundreds of vehicles ignore the clearly marked stop signs while driving down Cowperthwaite, and each day hundreds of vehicles drive up and down on Prospect at speeds in excess of the speed limit. The current situation is incredibly dangerous, and has already resulted in the tragic but preventable traffic fatality of Donna Rothstein on Sunday, Feb 2nd.
Previous pleas for enforcement of existing traffic laws have fallen on deaf ears. Dozens of calls have been made regarding this intersection to the Westfield Police Department by multiple residents in the pervious months. In addition, a request for selective enforcement of this intersection has been made. However, as of this date, no enforcement action has been taken by the Westfield Police Department. In response to our concerns, we repeatly hear the refrain that the Department does not have the resources to enforce existing traffic laws in our town.
The citizens of Westifled respectfully request the following:
- That the Westfield Police Department enforce existing traffic laws, especially at the intersections of Prospect Street and Cowperthwaite Place, or be given the resources needed to do so.
- That the Town of Westfield construct “vertical deflection traffic calming devices” such as speed bumps. These are common in other parts of town and ensure that drivers do not exceed the speed limit.
- That the Town of Westfield construct curb extensions (the current curb side is rounded) or raised crosswalks, in order to protect the pedestrians trying to cross at this intersection.
- That the Town of Westfield converts the intersection of Prospect Street and Cowperthwaite Place into an All-way stop intersection.
- That the Town of Westfield install adequate street lighting that illuminates all four corners of the intersection of Prospect Street and Cowperthwaite, rather than the current lighting that only illuminates one corner.
- That the Town of Westfield and the Westfield Police Department assign a crossing guard to this intersection during the appropriate times in the school day and during busy shopping hours on the weekend.
Unless one or more of these actions are taken, this intersection will remain dangerous for the residents of Westfield and the students of Roosevelt Intermediate School. We, the signers below, plea that action be taken to make our streets and our community safer.