BOSTON – House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr. (R-North Reading), State Representative Richard M. Haggerty (D-Woburn), and State Senator Jason M. Lewis (D-Winchester) joined with Reading Police Chief David J. Clark and the Healey-Driscoll Administration to announce that the Reading Police Department has been awarded $4,880 as part of the Federal Fiscal Year 2024 Municipal Road Safety (MRS) Grant Program.
Funded by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the MRS Grant Program provides federal funding to help police departments implement measures to address local traffic safety issues and reduce crash-related injuries and fatalities. The Reading Police Department will utilize this funding primarily to monitor crosswalks, using a combination of education and selective enforcement to increase safety awareness among motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists. A portion of the funding will be used to purchase bicycle helmets.
Knowing that the presence of police on local roadways acts as a deterrent, the Reading Police Department plans to utilize crosswalk law enforcement decoys operating in teams of two to focus on vehicle and bicycle violations of pedestrian crosswalk laws. Enforcement areas will include elementary school zones, the commuter rail depot area, and the downtown business district.
“Safety is our number one priority for our community and road safety is a major part of that,” said Chief Clark. “We are thankful to have the extra funding and the support of our Governor, to help ensure we can educate drivers to remind them of pedestrian safety.”
“Congratulations to Chief Clark and the Reading Police Department for securing this road safety funding, which will help further the town’s efforts to promote downtown Reading as a walkable area,” said Representative Jones. “The crosswalk education and enforcement program being implemented by the police department will go a long way towards protecting pedestrians and making the roads safer for both residents and visitors.”
“I’m very pleased to see the Reading Police Department secure this road safety funding, thanks to the efforts of Chief Clark and the department,” said Representative Haggerty. “The funding will continue to help the town’s efforts to make the downtown area more pedestrian friendly. The implementation of the education and enforcement program by the police department will help protect pedestrians and make our roads safer for everyone in our community.”
“Pedestrian and road safety is one of the top concerns I hear from my constituents,” said Senator Lewis. “I’m grateful to the Reading Police Department for proactively working to identify areas of concern and work diligently to keep pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers safe in Reading.”
According to MassDOT’s Crash Portal, Reading recorded nine motor vehicle crashes involving pedestrians in 2021, up from three the year before and eight in 2019. There were three bicyclist crashes reported in 2021, the same as the year before and a slight increase over the two crashes recorded in 2019. Fortunately, no serious injuries or fatalities were reported as a result of these incidents.
As part of its enforcement efforts, Reading Police will target the following crosswalk areas to address specific concerns received from residents:
• Main Street at Washington Street
• Main Street at Haven Street
• Main Street at Pleasant Street
• Main Street at Salem Street
Reading Police will also target certain areas of the town that have no traffic control signal locations, including:
• Main Street at Green Street
• Lowell Street at Woburn Street
• Woburn Street at Sanborn Street
• High Street at Haven Street
• 16 Lowell Street (Reading Town Hall)
• Oak Street at Hillcrest Road
A total of more than $5.4 million in federal funding was awarded to 186 municipal police departments across the state through the latest round of MRS Grant Program. Funding is provided on a reimbursable basis.