Safety a ‘silver bullet’ in Rocky Woods traffic discussion

Jul 9, 2024

LAKEVILLE – A suggestion to widen a portion of Freetown Street and create a three-way stop at the nearest intersection to the proposed Rocky Woods Development in Lakeville sparked debate among residents at a Monday, July 8 Zoning Board of Appeals hearing. 

The development, located off Freetown Street, would add 200 housing units and an estimated 1,600 car trips on weekdays to Freetown Street, said the developer’s engineers. 

The current suggestion would widen both sides of Freetown Street to create right-hand turn lanes for those turning on and off of the road. 

This suggestion was based on a study that monitored traffic during peak commute times at four main intersections near the development over a 48-hour period. For some residents, this study wasn’t enough. 

Lakeville resident Mary Jean Liberatori questioned if taking “two [traffic] counts of an hour in the morning and an hour in the afternoon” over two days was sufficient data for the study. 

She also expressed concern about how increased traffic caused by the development would affect response times of public safety officials. 

“My question as a resident on this street is: How does the addition of 200 units affect the safety factor of police, fire and ambulances trying to get past?” 

Lakeville resident Larry Kostant questioned why an access road to the development could not be built through a County Street parcel that is already owned by the developer. 

Lakeville Zoning Board of Appeals Chair John Olivieri said that a County Street access road could not be built because it is outside the scope of the Rocky Woods Development project. 

Another resident referenced a four-way intersection in town that had been changed to a roundabout because of how unsafe it was. “How do you think putting in [stop signs] are going to make [this intersection] safer than it already is?”   

Olivieri said he understood that safety was a top concern. 

“Safety is a silver bullet,” he said. 

Residents’ feedback will be taken into consideration as the town’s engineers conduct their own traffic study, said Olivieri. 

If the town agrees to the roadway improvements proposed by the developer, the developer has agreed to fund them pending approval by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.