The section of Merrimac Street between Moulton and Plummer Streets is in need of safety improvements. The existing deficiencies include:
- A 1,000-foot gap in the sidewalk system on the south side of Merrimac Street, so that there is no sidewalk connecting Pioneer Field to Moulton St and Plummer Ave and the neighborhoods served by these streets;
- A lack of pedestrian accommodations on the side of the street adjacent to Pioneer Field;
- Head-in angle parking at the Common/Field, resulting in congestion and conflicts with passing traffic in both directions at peak hours;
- A lack of bicycle facilities on either side of Merrimac St, requiring bicyclists to share the road with vehicles (which frequently travel over the 25 mph speed limit) and creating potential conflicts with cars backing out of angle parking spaces.
In the spring of 2019, Newburyport Livable Streets members developed a Complete Streets concept plan for redesigning this section of roadway to be safer for all users – drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians. The key elements of this concept plan are (1) protecting bicyclists and pedestrians by separating them from motor vehicle traffic, including cars that are entering and leaving parking spaces, and (2) reorienting the existing angle parking to reduce conflicts with passing traffic and to improve safety for children and adults around the parked cars.