Somerville Installs 'SafetySticks' At Davis Square Bus Stop

somerville city hall

SOMERVILLE, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — The bus lane at Elm and Chester streets in Somerville's Davis Square is prime parking real estate for drivers who want to test their luck.

"When people have on their hazards, they think, Oh it’s no big deal, but it’s actually very dangerous," Somerville Director of Traffic and Parking Suzanne Rinfret told WBZ NewsRadio Wednesday. "Thinking they can just stop for a moment, but it’s actually very dangerous if a bus pulls up, then folks can’t get on the bus or off the bus."

To curb illegal parking, city officials have installed three new SafetySticks—cylindrical, solar-powered robots with automated cameras that can catch drivers in the act and send out tickets.

Last spring, a pilot program that lasted a little over two months captured 469 violations at the bus lane and crosswalk on the opposite side of the street, or around seven violations per day.

"I have to walk across the street to try to catch the bus. Especially when it’s during rush hour, it’s really difficult," a Somerville resident said.

Rinfret said the city hopes to have cameras rolling by the end of the year. There will be a sign going up to warn drivers.

"We’re not looking to really ticket people, we’re looking to educate folks," said Rinfret.

WBZ's Madison Rogers (@MadisonWBZ) reports.

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