By Alex Lippa
---- — More than 30 years ago, Rocco Pelosi was hit by a car on Route 97, sending him to the hospital for a year.
Now, Pelosi is worried that the road remains unsafe and someone else could suffer the same fate.
“It’s really dangerous,” Pelosi said. “I was working in my yard two weeks ago, and I almost got clipped again.”
Pelosi talked to City Councilor Bill Macek about his concerns of the excessive speed on Route 97 between the Methuen line and Lake Street. Macek has brought the concerns to the entire council.
“I went up to the area and observed that cars were not observing the speed limit,” Macek said. “People were driving faster than the 35 miles per hour signs that were posted.”
Macek said he has several ideas to make the road safer. He suggested that additional signs be posted in the area, as well as possibly a portable trailer that electronically displays the speed the driver is going.
Pelosi said that a portable trailer was in the area about a month ago, but he noticed cars’ speeds were not being shown and the trailer was eventually removed from the neighborhood.
Macek noted that several towns in the area, including Plaistow, have more permanent speed-measuring devices that are attached to a pole and use solar power. He said he has talked to police Chief Alan DeNaro about looking into buying similar devices for Haverhill.
“I’ve been told they’re effective,” said Macek. “It alerts drivers and they slow down accordingly.”
Macek also requested that City Council President John Michitson ask DeNaro to send a patrol car to the area to do some radar detection and warn or cite drivers based upon their speed.
“It’s a very windy road,” Macek said. “If people are walking, they are forced onto the shoulder of the road because there are no sidewalks.”
City officials have received increased traffic complaints from people living on or near the northern part of Route 97 in recent years. That section of Haverhill has grown, with many new homes developed there. It is also a common route for drivers to take from Interstate 495 to New Hampshire.
Pelosi said he was hit those 30 years ago while crossing the road to get his mail. That caused him to move his mailbox to the other side of the road. He still spends time outside his house tending to his flowers and sees speeding cars go by almost every day.
“People are just too heavy on the gas,” he said. “There are always accidents around here. People are walking and jogging every day and something bad is going to happen again.”