Residents of a road that serves as a popular secondary point of entry and exit from Kickemuit Middle School in Warren are demanding action from the Town regarding what they consider a crucial safety issue occurring multiple times a day throughout the school year.
Residents of a road that serves as a popular secondary point of entry and exit from Kickemuit Middle School are demanding action from the Town regarding what they consider a crucial safety issue occurring multiple times a day throughout the school year.
“If they were to live here, they would understand,” said Bridget Faria, who has lived on Orchard Avenue for about 12 years now. “It’s getting to the point where it’s just absurd.”
Faria said in a recent interview that the issues stemming from vehicular travel on the road became apparent pretty quickly after she moved in. At the time, her kids attended Kickemuit Middle School, which was an attractor to the area because they could easily walk to and from school. But that unfortunately proved to be a dangerous proposition, she said.
“Adults would flip them off, they would swear at them. For walking down the road,” she said.
Faria said that throughout her time on Orchard Avenue she has personally witnessed many times staff and parents of kids at KMS drive at excessive speeds down the road, starting at 6:45 in the morning on school days and continuing consistently for about an hour until school begins. Once school is out, the process begins again in the afternoon as parents and staff try to get in front of buses exiting from the main entrance of KMS. She estimated anywhere from 50 to 75 cars utilize the road just during the morning rush hour, with a similar amount in the afternoon.
“I'll stand out in the front of my house letting my dog go to the bathroom, just kind of watch what’s going on,” she said. “It doesn’t matter if there’s a dog on the side of the road or children walking. It doesn’t deter the issue at all, which definitely blows my mind.”
Faria said the issues persist during football season, and when local leagues utilize the field for soccer matches. She said that she has twice seen families with small children move in and out of houses on Orchard Avenue relatively quickly after asking neighbors if the traffic issues along the street were common.
Faria said that she has brought the issue to both Town Hall and the Warren Police, but has not received a satisfactory answer. She started an online petition at Change.org with the support of her neighbors to bring more awareness to the issue, which had garnered 21 signatures towards a goal of 25 as of the time of this posting.
Most recently, the issue made its way to the Warren Town Council, through Councilman Joe DePasquale, who brought the issue up at the council’s meeting last week.
DePasquale said that he has heard the same issue with the road come up multiple times throughout the past two decades, but nothing seems to get done.
“I’ve been there when I was a parent picking up my children,” he said at the meeting. “People don’t just use it as a regular street. They’re trying to beat the buses on Asylum Road. It’s a crazy use of a street.”
DePasquale was hesitant of the council’s request to send the issue to the town’s Traffic Advisory Board, saying that something should be done in the meantime to prevent a possible accident from occurring.
“Something has to change there, or else we’re going to have somebody hit by a car, or a car accident,” he said. “All I know is, 20 years ago, there were complaints, 15 years ago, there were complaints, 10 years ago there were complaints, and last week, there were complaints. I think we should do something about it.”
Ultimately, the issue was sent to the Traffic Advisory Board anyways. It’s a bitter pill to swallow for Faria, who said she wants to see a more immediate solution, whether temporary or otherwise, to deter people from being able to speed down the road.
"We would love for the town to address the situation…Ideally it would be nice to have a gate that is locked down there so if they needed to get to any emergencies, they could still access it,” she said. “If they wanted to keep the roads open, there’s an easy solution. Traffic cameras work, speed cameras, speed bumps — something. These people only have to get a $50 ticket once to learn to slow down.
“You’re adults, you have students that go to this school,” she continued. “Where is your concern for them?”