For the longest time there was a detail police officer at Dunkin’ (Donuts) on Main Street just before the bridge to East Boston. Then more than six months ago the Planning Board agreed with the owner for a trial period of not having a detail officer on the weekend.
Now the Planning Board agrees it cannot waive the condition of having a detail police officer seven days a week directing traffic. So, full coverage has commenced.
The problem with the site is that people queue up in a long line headed out of town to enter the drive-through window, while people are exiting the driveway (and the car wash for that matter) – either left or right –all while some people are attempting a left into Dunkin’ (Donuts) coming from East Boston.
Six months ago the Planning Board agreed to stop the weekend detail on a trail basis at the urging Steve Rugerrio, the director of operations, and his attorney James Cipoletta. Rugerrio said the area and traffic has changed.
Last Thursday night the Planning Board agreed the trial period had gone on long enough and they would not entertain another request to reduce the detail. Now the detail will be there seven days a week, 6 a.m. -10 a.m., at a cost of roughly $60,000 for Rugerrio.
He noted that part of the problem is text messaging creating gaps between cars and he asked to leave in place no weekend detail for a year
Cipoletta said the configuration of the street has changed, a gas station, a car wash with parallel egress to the drive through window, an ATM and further down Belle Isle Seafood, Adriana’s and Woodside TrueValue.
“The Dunkin’ (Donuts) didn’t make things better, but it didn’t make things worse,” Cipoletta said.
Winthrop Police Officer Richard Ferrino Jr., spoke at the meeting on behalf of the police union. He cited over 30 calls to service to the area in the past five years, mostly for motor vehicle accidents, some with personal injury.
“We view it as a public safety concern,” Ferrino said. “We believe it needs the detail seven days a week.”
“It’s for public safety not money,” said Sgt. Mary Crisafi. ”The times I’ve done the detail there’s a lot of pedestrians. An officer’s presence can be nothing but positive.”
“You take your life in your hands,” said Officer Mark VanBuskirk.
Planning Board Chairman Darren Baird reminded everyone that the roadway was under MassDOT jurisdiction.
Special Police Ron McFarland has worked the detail and he is amazed at the traffic, the allowance of left hand turns and the fear he has that a pedestrian could be killed. Not to mention the special details to the MWRA.
“As long as we’re up there, we’ll do the best we can,” he said, adding he like for someone to install a traffic counter.
No traffic study has been conducted in the area.