The following is a message from School Resource Officer Michael Pietrantonio:
I would like to take this opportunity to address some of the ongoing issues related to school traffic and parking at Northeast (specifically on Hemlock Road) since the beginning of the school year. I understand that parking is limited at times and that traffic in the mornings and afternoons can be heavy, but it is not an excuse for violations to traffic laws and parking restrictions.
My intended role as the School Resource Officer (SRO) is not solely to hand out parking tickets or citations, but it is still one of my responsibilities in order to keep traffic flowing safely for all. The school roadways and parking lots around Northeast are monitored by myself and my fellow officers of the Wakefield Police Department. Please make yourself aware of all the posted signs as well as the roadway markings.
All violators will be ticketed or cited accordingly. Hemlock Road is a single lane, two way street (double yellow line), with a speed limit of 15 mph. Parking is also limited to one side of Hemlock Road.
Please take the time to make yourself aware of the posted signs and roadway markings indicating “No Parking,” “15 MPH Speed Limit,” “Double Yellow Line,” “Fire Lane,” etc. These signs and markings do serve a legitimate purpose such as:
- “No Parking” on one side of the street allows vehicles to pull over to the side of the road so that Emergency Vehicles can pass down the street without obstruction.
- Some markings provide safe access for the handicap and access for people to walk safely without obstruction (i.e. Crosswalks).
- “Fire Lanes” allow emergency vehicles to park/setup and perform their necessary duties in the event of an emergency.
- “White Emergency Vehicle only lines” prevent blind-spots or obstructions for large vehicles (i.e. firetrucks, trucks, buses and ambulances)
- “Double Yellow Lines” indicate that you cannot pass over it or cross into the oncoming lane.
- The speed limit is set to maintain a safe environment for vehicles and pedestrians.
With such a large number of vehicles entering and exiting Hemlock Road at the beginning and even more at the end of day, vehicles back up the hill towards Northeast. Hemlock Road is a two way street with a single lane of traffic and should not be split into two lanes. In fact, what is confused to be a right hand travel/turn lane down the hill is, in fact, a marked “Fire Lane.”
When traffic backs up the hill, it becomes unsafe for vehicles exiting the Wakefield High School parking lots because vehicles that are traveling in what is mistakenly believed to be the “right hand travel/turn lane” will signal to the vehicle exiting the lot that it is safe for them to proceed, and then a vehicle in the so called “left lane” will not see them and will subsequently cause a motor vehicle collision. (Several of these types of motor vehicle accidents have occurred over the past few years).
In addition, when vehicles are waiting at the top of the hill see an opening in the so called “left lane” at the bottom of the hill, they tend to proceed over the double yellow line into the opposite lane of traffic to drive down Hemlock Road. This is a “marked lanes violation” (civil infraction) and could also be considered “driving to endanger” (court proceedings/loss of license) if speed or other factors play a role.
The pictures above display some of the described violations that have been observed by other officers and also calls the department has been receiving. If anyone has any questions or concerns in these matters please let me know.
Let’s all work together in keeping our schools safe!