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How Do You Get New Traffic Lights in Melrose?

New traffic lights require approval from the state Department of Transportation, but existing traffic signals can be modified by the DPW.

You Ask, Patch Answers is a new weekly column for Melrosians who have questions about something they've spotted around the city or wondered about. Submit your question to danield@patch.com.

Dick said in an email that he "would like to know if it is possible to have more traffic (light) arrows in our city? Franklin Square comes to the top of the list. It's like the wild west trying to negotiate getting through this intersection! ... or delayed lights, because everyone would have a opportunity to make a light without depending on people to give you a courtesy break which seems none existing today."

Superintendent Bob Beshara said that traffic signals are governed by the state Department of Transportation (MassDOT), and that any new lights must be approved by the state.

If a resident would like to see new traffic signals somewhere in the city, Beshara said they should first contact either himself or Chief Mike Lyle.

Any new lights would start with a traffic study to meet the various MassDOT requirements, Beshara said, measuring data points such as the accident rate, traffic volume overall and on main roads versus side roads, and so forth. After making a request to the state, MassDOT would undertake site visits and then rule on the request.

"That’s (the request) something I could initiate, go right to the state, or the Traffic Commission does the same if someone came in and requested a light," Beshara said.

The nine-member Melrose Traffic Commission is comprised of the police chief; director of public works; one Melrose Board of Alderman member, currently Ward 5 Alderman Gail Infurna; and various volunteers from the public and the business community.

Any traffic study would cost money, of course, and Beshara noted that fiscal times are still tight. Funding for a traffic study would have to get the mayor's approval before going before the Board of Aldermen for the funding request, he said.

Lastly, Beshara said existing signals can be adjusted if a resident makes a request and the DPW determines it'd be beneficial to the traffic flow.

"For issues with existing signals, they can come to me and I can make modifications to the timing if necessary, if I can show some timing might be helpful to change," he said. 

If you've got a question about something in Melrose, send it to danield@patch.com. We'll choose one question each week and get to work on digging up an answer.

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