Andover residents began increasing pressure on the Town to immediately address Elm Square pedestrian safety issues within hours of Tuesday’s horrific accident that left a five-year-old girl dead.
“For years, residents have been conveying to the Town, stories of near-misses and concerns over pedestrian safety based on the operation of the intersection,” WalkBikeAndover said in a message to supporters Thursday. “This life and death matter is no longer hypothetical.”
The group, which aims to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety, as well as promote alternative modes of transportation, is circulating a petition asking the Town to make immediate safety improvements to the Downtown square at the intersection of Main and Elm Streets.
The group’s petition demands Andover install “No Turn On Red” signs and adjust pedestrian crossing signals so all traffic is stops when walk signs are illuminated.
- Officials identified the victim as five-year-old Sidney Olson of Andover.
- So far, no charges have been filed against the Sysco truck driver, who stayed on scene and cooperated with investigators.
- South Church in Andover is organizing a vigil for 5 p.m. Thursday. Andover News will honor organizers’ request for no media coverage.
- WalkBikeAndover is circulating a petition asking the Town to make immediate safety improvements in Elm Square. The petition had 1,000 signatures as of 4:30 p.m. Thursday, making it one of the most signed petitions on Change.org, which allows people to start online petitions on a wide range of issues.
- Town Manager Andrew Flanagan said the initial work will include “engaging a consultant and begin data collection.”
“To date, when asked to make these changes, the Town has rejected them and prioritized minimizing driver delay over pedestrian safety,” WalkBikeAndover said.
Officials identified the victim as five-year-old Sidney Olson of Andover on Thursday.
Andover News is raising money through donations to a GoFundMe campaign for the child’s family.
In a statement Wednesday, Town Manager Andrew Flanagan said work on addressing Elm Square safety would begin “immediately.”
“Last week, at Andover’s Annual Town Meeting, voters approved funding for a traffic study for the Elm Square intersection,” Flanagan said. The Town will thoroughly assess this area and act to implement any improvements deemed necessary. This work will begin immediately.”
Asked on Thursday to elaborate on specifics of what the work will entail, Flanagan said the initial work will include “engaging a consultant and begin data collection.”
Top photo: Laura Winik for Andover News.
Embedded photo: Olson Family/Essex County District Attorney