POLL: Salem's Worst Spots for Pedestrians (and Drivers)

Take our poll and let us know which Salem spots give you the biggest headache.

Last week we reported that the and responded to .

That got us thinking, and we want to know which crossings on Salem's roadways are the toughest spots for pedestrians and drivers.

We've included some specific crossings in our poll, and we've also named some streets that have some sticky spots too.

Options in the poll were generated by readers and police log observations.

If you know of a tough crossing that we missed or have more specific information about a tough crosswalk or driving spot, please share it in the comments. We all walk different routes each day. Let us know which spots give you the biggest headache, and be safe on the roads this holiday season.

After we've gathered your input, we'll create a map to keep you in-the-know when it comes to spots that require a little extra caution.

gene December 15, 2011 at 12:28 PM
The worst place is at the bottom of the overpass by the Hess station. It's a little better since there is no left turn out of Franklin St. but drivers still ignore that prohibition. This area has seen a lot of cyclists get hit by cars who turn right into the bikers.
windpower December 15, 2011 at 12:43 PM
The "period " lighting down town does not help at night .
CarleaSkunkrawk December 15, 2011 at 01:38 PM
The light at Derby and Lafayette. If you've heard of the chick eho yells and kicks cars...that's me. I think they should just haveca cop posted there to write tickets all day.
Matt December 15, 2011 at 02:59 PM
Listing the interesection of Bridge Street and Northey Street as Bridge Street and Winter St/Northey Street would have been better. Winter Street is by far the busier and better known street at that intersection.
rosemary December 15, 2011 at 03:06 PM
Boston street were walgreens is that intersection to cross over u have cars trying to go in 4 directions and there no buzzer to push so many times me and my daughter were almost hit
Erin Cyr December 15, 2011 at 03:28 PM
As a pedestrian I have had far too many close calls, most times due to someone taking a right turn on red. People look for a sign if they can turn on red, but they don't bother to check the crosswalk signal to see if the walk signal is activated. As a driver I also have been very nervous at night with people leaving bars a little tipsy, wearing all black. This may sound silly, but I almost always have a small flashlight in my bag when I'm out and about at night. They are super cheap and worth it if they save your life.
Jared Robinson December 15, 2011 at 03:44 PM
I walk across Bridge St at the intersection of WInter and Northey everyday... they removed the painted crosswalk and removed the walk light as well... people turning onto Winter St from either direction almost hit me every day... I have to be extremely careful. At least the crosswalks in downtown are painted and have cross lights... I have a 4 way flashing yellow...
Erin Cyr December 15, 2011 at 03:47 PM
What's happening on Bridge Street in terms of making it safe for pedestrians is ridiculous. I worry about the children walking home from school as well. The MANY commuters who walk to and from the train via Bridge Street are obviously an afterthought throughout the construction process.
Cheryl Michaels December 15, 2011 at 04:00 PM
My "other" is Washington and Derby. On two occasions I have been almost hit when walking across Derby, with the walk light, going from the Tavern side of the street to the Bank of America side of the street (North to South). The offender was going West on Derby and turning right onto Washington. On one occasion the driver was on her cell phone and was clue-less, until an unknown fellow pedestrian who was crossing with me chased the car, knocked on the hood and yelled at the driver. In my opinion, driving in downtown Salem requires a level of awareness that is not compatible with cell phone chatter and other distractions.
Jared Robinson December 15, 2011 at 04:11 PM
it's actually LESS safe than it was before construction. Before construction I had a cross light at both Lathrop St and at Winter/Northey... now I have a flashing yellow light at both. The one at Lathrop St is a push button and it gives a wonderful spoken warning when you press it: "Please proceed with caution, cars may not stop" Wonderful... thanks for telling me, Button. Do you ever feel like a flashing yellow light is ignored by 90% of drivers out there?
Nancy Gilberg December 15, 2011 at 04:53 PM
This is a city-wide problem that needs addressing in a major way - in the form of a safe driving campaign. The speed limit on Highland Ave. is 35mph, which no one follows. Willson St. (by the high school) is 25, and even when driving 35, I'm almost always tailgated and in fear of road rage. Countless times I've stopped for a pedestrian downtown, only to have the car behind me attempt to floor it and pass me. The most challenging driving intersections are turning left onto Jefferson from Willson, and turning from the western part of Harbor St. onto lower Lafayette. In both cases, your view is blocked by parked cars.
Aubry Bracco (Editor) December 15, 2011 at 05:56 PM
Hi Matt, it was listed after a reader said he has a difficult time there. Thanks for the addition.
Katherine Casiglia December 15, 2011 at 06:14 PM
So many of these comments are valid as I drive through downtown everyday. Personally, I have a big problem with the intersection of Boston and Bridge Streets on the behalf of the pedestrians. There is a crosswalk with no crosswalk signal. Making them dodge traffic just doesn't seem like a good option for them or me, as a driver.
Don Nadeau December 15, 2011 at 07:27 PM
The connections - or lack thereof - between downtown Salem and North Salem, where I live. Muddy cowpaths, or a flying high-speed overpass with a barely manageable merge lane. A decayed wooden ramp. And, yes, accommodations for pedestrians and cyclists at the train station are ludicrous - even the 180-or so page garage proposal had ony ONE paragraph to address them! You would think a downtown mass transportation hub plan would not be written by highway consultants. Don't forget the major obstacles bicycles face, too. Something as simple as a marked lane at approaches to all of the major intersections would help immensely! The crossings at Bridge and Washington were rebuilt into a wasteland of pavement, slanted to blind oncoming traffic AND pedestrians with headlights in BOTH directions on Bridge Street, and missing several of the pedestrian islands, most notably turning right from Washington onto Bridge.
Lisa Dolloff Bernardo December 15, 2011 at 07:31 PM
I would hate to have to cross there. I don't even like driving through there in a car. And, you're totally right, the construction has made it even worse. I wonder when and if that will be fixed?
Lisa Dolloff Bernardo December 15, 2011 at 07:33 PM
This. I agree and can relate to the whole thing.
Jared Robinson December 15, 2011 at 07:36 PM
they have already denied putting in a crossing light there...
Antoine M. Boisvert December 15, 2011 at 09:22 PM
There is one place in town where just being a pedestrian on the sidewalk can be frightening. The sidewalk on the corner of Flint and Essex, on the opposite side from the library, is so treacherous underfoot that in any kind of damp or icy weather you have to hold on the iron fence there just to keep from falling over. If there is real rain, the entire sidewalk in that spot is an impassable puddle. It's been that way for over a decade.
john December 15, 2011 at 09:42 PM
We have too many lights and too many people who press the pedestrian light and cross before it activates causing an intersection to stop all traffic for no reason. This may soumd crazy to some but if you step off the curb and challenge the driver to stop they will. Not recommended for elderly or baby carrigaes
Michele Brown December 15, 2011 at 10:15 PM
The intersection of Boston St and Bridge St, where Walgreens and Dunkin Donuts are is one of the worst. I stood there one day and realized that no matter which corner you were on, no matter which way you wanted to cross, there was always traffic cutting across your path. Really need pedestrian lights there. The place I have the most trouble is the intersection of Essex and Summer, by the Witch House. For one, the light signal takes forever. The other night I waited through four full cycles before finally getting a cross light. Ridiculous. And, over the last two years I have had at least four cars take a left though the cross light. Bad enough drivers go right on red without regard to the cross light, but left?! Seriously? Not to mention the ones who have just rolled straight through. And they haven't all been out-of-staters either.
Carol December 15, 2011 at 10:41 PM
Just wait til the mayor builds her dump up on Highland Ave. Bad will go to unreal. Just another reason why Salem is going down the tubes.
Ruth Montville December 16, 2011 at 01:16 AM
The entire city is a mess and dangerous for pedestrians. The big problem is the fact that the crosswalks in many areas are barely visible and have been for a very long time. People are in a big hurry and don't pay attention and right on red is a way of life, without stopping first. I could go on, but it really doesn't seem to matter, nothing will get done, just like if you call the town garage to get something repaired like a sinking manhole cover, it will never happen.
Wendy Snow-Lang December 16, 2011 at 03:08 AM
My comment is ALL OF THE ABOVE! It's not just the drivers, but the pedestrians who step out--JAY-walking!--and "assume" all the drivers will stop for them, as they have been taught for YEARS by crossing guards. The situation at the traffic light doesn't matter; just step off the curb! The cars will screech to a halt--NOT! It's NOT the Lights at insections being off cue or the drivers trying to "make" a light. It is the pedestrians stepping out while the light is green, ASSUMING that all drivers will stop for them. We need to seriously think about re-educating the way people are "taught" today about crossing a street. Little children need to go back to the Old Days and learn to look twice before crossing a street and not leave it up to a Crossing Guard to clear the way, or ignore the traffic because they are too busy on their cellphone. Kids just step out.
Nancy Gilberg December 16, 2011 at 03:29 AM
It is true - you hardly ever see a driver make a complete stop at a red light, before turning right on red.
Drew Meger December 16, 2011 at 12:21 PM
Crossing Guards: Threat or Menace?
Jroug December 19, 2011 at 02:14 PM
There are three huge problems: 1) Salem is an old city, not designed for the volume of traffic (or even the type) it now has, and in many areas, the roads & signage are in violation basic safety law - which means (incredibly) that there is no way to drive in certain parts of Salem without breaking laws. Drivers and pedestrians are both understandably frustrated by the situation. This encourages further bad behavior. 2) The Salem police are seemingly uninterested in enforcing moving violations. Their HQ is on the same block as one of the worst intersections in the State and violations occur almost every time the light changes, yet they are rarely (if ever) out giving tickets there. This sends a message that violations are okay and expected. Is this lack of enforcement so they don't discourage tourists from coming back or have the police have fallen into the same mindset of many residents who have given up on the roads being workable? Either way, it's a disservice to residents. I unfortunately have first hand knowledge that members of the Police department are not well-versed in Massachusetts traffic law, including such simple concepts a s right of way. The above two issue create a perfect storm, an unwieldy city that forces (and tacitly encourages) drivers to break laws and a near-complete lack of enforcement.
Jroug December 19, 2011 at 02:15 PM
3) I see little action taken at the Government level in terms of analyzing the problem and making positive changes (if I'm wrong, I'd love to hear about it). The city seems to wait until the situation reaches a near-crisis level before they take any action, and that happens at a glacial pace. Some of the (too few) changes the city HAS made (left turn from Essex onto Washington for instance) are steps BACKWARD. There are areas like this where changes would not be perfect but can easily improve on the current situation. There have been only two meaningful traffic projects in the 15+ years I've lived in Salem: the traffic circle that operated on a completely different set of rules than the laws of the state (hilariously right outside Salem's traffic court) and the intersection of Derby/Congress/Hawthorne was an obvious nightmare for 20+ years and it only JUST got the traffic lights it obviously required. Even then some locals fought against both projects because lights slow them down - a short-sighted and selfish view.
Jroug December 19, 2011 at 02:15 PM
With the addition of the new dorms and Salem State's new University status, South Salem is becoming as frustrating as downtown and I see nothing effective or meaningful being done to address the increased volume of even foot traffic, never mind the vehicular. Now there's talk of a CVS at the intersection by Salem State and I'm being told that the volume of traffic it will add is a separate issue from the unexamined increased traffic at Salem State, which is pure BS - you can't tell me that a project a hundred yards from Salem State is irrelevant to an existing Salem State traffic issue. Someone in city government needs to take this issue to heart - it's a real problem and while full solutions are likely going to be slow going due to budgetary restrictions, there are plenty of improvements that could be implemented at little cost - just by adding signage or using exiting lights that are now just blinking yellows. In the meantime, I wish the Police would brush up on the driving laws of the State and start enforcing. It will not only help reduce violations, but increase the city war chest.
Leese December 21, 2011 at 10:15 PM
The city has the money, they just choose to spend it elsewhere. For various reasons, the current administration prioritizes development over public safety. The police department is overworked and understaffed as a result. As well, the city doesn't have a traffic engineer. They employ consultants to conduct traffic studies on an as-needed basis, for example - when new development is proposed. There is some comprehensive traffic planning going on, but not as much as is needed.
Celeste Ross January 30, 2013 at 03:42 PM
I couldn't agree more! I saw a women get struck by a vechicle at this intersection a few years back. She was crossing from Dunkin Donuts to the old Sylvania Lot. A car taking a left onto bridge just knocked her down. It was horrific to watch! If and when I cross there...I run never walk. There is no button to push there. It's scary even when you look carefully it's still hard to figure out when it's safe to cross. Very Frustrating!!


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