The Falmouth Traffic Advisory Committee is taking a look at the intersection of Maravista Avenue and Menauhant Road, East Falmouth, after in April another vehicle ended up in Nantucket Sound when the driver failed to stop.
Members of the committee on Monday, May 19, discussed additional signage placed at the end of Maravista Avenue. They will also research the cost and feasibility of placing illuminated or flashing signs to give better warning of the dangerous intersection.
Committee member Robert Williams, an engineer in the Falmouth Department of Public Works, suggested that yellow chevron signs be placed at the end of Maravista Avenue. Chevron signs are approximately two-foot wide yellow signs with a reflective black arrow.
Committee member Ahmed A. Mustafa said that more advance warning should be given. He recommended a stop sign that featured a flashing light that would be triggered as a car approaches the intersection. They would be solar powered and only light up when a car approached to minimize the impact on neighbors. He said that more research would be needed on these types of signs.
There are currently a stop sign and a yellow warning sign on the north side of the intersection. Those are not working, Lieutenant Brian D. Kinsella said later in a phone interview. Lt. Kinsella conducts accident investigations for the department.
Drivers, he said, often travel at high rates of speed down the 1.6-mile-long and straight Maravista Avenue during nighttime hours and fail to see the stop sign until it is too late. From evidence of accidents in the past, drivers pass beyond Menauhant Road onto the beach, where they are halted by the sand or continue headlong into the ocean. Committee members and police are also concerned there could be an accident involving a car driving down Maravista Avenue colliding with a vehicle driving across Menauhant Road.
Since 1999, when he began with the Falmouth department, Lt. Kinsella said that he has seen approximately a half-dozen vehicles end up in the water from Maravista Avenue, one that ended up as a fatality when an 18-year-old Falmouth resident died in 2009 after his vehicle flipped over in the ocean.
He has seen 10 to 15 other incidents where cars drove over Menauhaut Road but were held up by the sand.
Central Avenue, a similar road to Maravista Avenue in East Falmouth, has a similar and also dangerous intersection at Menauhant Road. Lt. Kinsella said that the intersection is not as dangerous, but he had seen a motorcyclist die from a crash at this intersection.
Lt. Kinsella said he “highly suggested” the traffic committee take another look at the Maravista Avenue and Menauhant Road intersection after an accident in April when a vehicle entered the water and the driver and two passengers swam to shore safely.
Lieutenant John (Sean) Doyle, former chairman of the committee, said they looked at ways to improve safety at the intersection after the fatality in 2009. Some residents suggested a guardrail or additional boulders be placed at the end of the road to keep motorists off the beach, Lt. Doyle said. He said not only would that not stop accidents from occurring but the rocks and guardrail would be added dangers to motorists.
“It is clear that people are going extremely fast and it looks like the road doesn’t end at the intersection,” Lt. Doyle said.