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Crosswalks in the town center will soon go from yellow to white in keeping with the wishes of members of the Common Restoration Project.
Selectmen unanimously approved the change on Sept. 12.
The members are seeking to improve the aesthetics of the center by eschewing the yellow.
The Common Restoration Project members oversee the appearance and upkeep of the town center through fundraising efforts. The group sponsors the tree lighting ceremony each November and built the replica of the historic bandstand that stands on the green.
Their quest for white or simulated brick crosswalks in the center is backed by the Town Center Traffic and Parking Committee which voted to support the change this spring, according to Ellen Harde, a member of the Common Restoration Project.
But Highway Superintendent Richard Barrett reminded selectmen that he had followed a directive by a different board in the mid-1990s to paint the center’s crosswalks yellow.
He wrote the history of the crosswalks in a memo dated Sept. 7 addressed to the current Board of Selectmen:
“In the mid 1990’s after much discussion with the Board of Selectmen (BoS), the Town Safety Committee and myself, established a uniform policy on the markings of crosswalks on Town roads. This policy was put in place to establish a uniform crosswalk that would be consistent to provide the highest level of safety using a uniform method of distinguishing crosswalks,” he stated.
Barrett said the method of standardization followed the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices of two white lines on either side of a block of bright yellow paint.
“MassDOT was requested to supply two parallel white lines as Westford’s choice for crosswalks markings, on all state roads for consistency purposes,” Barrett added.
Uniformity would increase visibility and bring the crosswalks up to the highest level of safety for pedestrians, he said.
But Harde said Barrett recently told her his highway crew would be coating Main Street from Town Hall to Depot Street this fall – presumably with a layer of asphalt. This “would be an opportune time to cover the remaining yellow” crosswalks “and repaint them with white bars,” Harde wrote in a letter dated Sept. 1 to selectmen.
Only resident Bob Price voiced an opinion at the public meeting.
“As a driver I would really like to see standardization. Having two or three different designations for crosswalks is too much. I would stick with one design, if possible,” he said.
To which Selectman Chairman Andrea Peraner-Sweet said, “Hopefully, someday we’ll get there.”