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Woman Injured In Crash at Problematic Pittsfield Intersection

Staff Reports
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The collision happened around 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday.

A solar-powered warning sign was installed within the last two years to reduce the number of drivers missing the stop sign. The tree on the right was the target of previous inquiries about it obscuring the sign at the intersection.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A 71-year-old woman was taken to Berkshire Medical Center for minor injuries Wednesday after a collision on East Housatonic Street.
 
According to Officer David Hallas, the woman was westbound on East Housatonic Street in an Oldsmobile Bravada when a Subaru Legacy, driven by a 35-year-old Great Barrington man ran the stop sign at Pomeroy Avenue and collided with the Oldsmobile.
 
"The driver of the Oldsmobile was transported to the hospital with minor injuries and the other driver was not injured," Hallas said.
 
The Oldsmobile veered and nearly struck a housing complex at that intersection, falling just a bit short. The building was not touched. The collision stymied traffic on the fairly well-traveled road for a short period of time before both vehicles were towed from the scene.
 
The accident is just one of many at that intersection over the years. Multiple petitions had been filed, and passed, by the City Council to make improvements to the intersection. For years, it was estimated that there was about one accident a month there. In 2004, the City Council approved a three-way stop sign to halt traffic on East Housatonic. In 2011, again the council approved a three-way intersection but neither petition had led to any changes.
 
In 2017, Ward 5 Councilor Donna Todd Rivers refiled the petition asking for something to be done. Particularly, she said "nine times out of 10" the accidents are caused by drivers on Pomeroy not stopping at the stop sign. 
 
Commissioner of Public Services David Turocy said at the time that a three-way stop sign wouldn't be a solution because of traffic volume -- people would learn to just blow through the stop sign on East Housatonic Street.
 
The Traffic Commission took up the issue and pushed for increased visibility of the stop signs, with Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Connell saying at the time that the trees and buildings essentially create a "tunnel" that makes it hard for drivers to see.
 
The commissioner agreed to trim the nearby tree to increase light and entertained the notion of taking it out completely, though removal requires much more red tape because shade trees are protected by state law.  The commission also considered calling for an overhead light to be installed there -- with a flashing red for vehicles northbound on Pomeroy and yellow for east and westbound traffic on East Housatonic but the cost led the idea to be shelved.
 
Turocy agreed to trim the trees and to put in a solar-powered light to warn drivers of the impending stop sign on Pomeroy. That light had been installed but still, the intersection clearly remains problematic.
     

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