Speed bumps approved in wake of fatal accident at Nonotuck Street

  • A 78-year-old Florence man was hit and killed by a car while riding his bike near the intersection of Nonotuck and Hinkley Streets around 3:05 p.m. Monday. SUBMITTED PHOTO

Thursday, May 18, 2017

NORTHAMPTON — The city will construct permanent speed bumps on Nonotuck Street this spring, a decision made a day after a cyclist died in a collision at the Nonotuck-Hinckley intersection.

The Transportation and Parking Commission of the City Council on Tuesday cited a traffic study from last March, which found drivers regularly exceed the 30 mph speed limit on the Florence street by an average of 10 to 12 mph.

Rick Haggerty, a 20-year resident of the street, told the Gazette after the crash that speeding has been a “constant battle.”

Monday’s accident killed Alan H. Porter, 78, of Florence. Police said Porter was exiting Hinckley and attempting to cross Nonotuck when he was struck by an eastbound vehicle.

Officials at the Northampton Police Department and the Northwestern district attorney’s office declined to comment Thursday on whether speed was a factor in the crash, saying the investigation remains ongoing.

The new speed bumps will be placed between New Street and Landy Avenue. A raised crosswalk will also be built at Hinckley Street as part of the construction this spring.

Councilor At-Large Ryan O’Donnell, who chairs the commission, said the improvements were already in the works before Monday’s accident.

“What happened, to me underscores that it was the right decision,” he said Thursday. “And I think more remains to be done.”

He said residents of Nontuck Street had come to the commission before with concerns about safety, prompting the traffic study and improvement plan.

“Upon hearing these, the (Department of Public Works) undertook a preliminary traffic study to measure speed, volume and vehicle type,” O’Donnell wrote in a press release.

He said the department also moved the street lines inward, narrowing it, and installed a yield sign at Maple Street. In September 2016, the department installed temporary speed bumps. In January the department recommended permanent speed bumps, the commission’s acceptance of which was reflected in Tuesday’s vote.

“The three raised structures, I hope, will make a big difference,” he said.

Amanda Drane can be contacted at adrane@gazettenet.com.