It’s a trap

We were driving down Beaver Street in Salem when suddenly we were faced with a pair of DO NOT ENTER signs and no place to turn around.

As the driver made a dangerous K-turn, I explained that the signs were illegal. Under Massachusetts law, roads can’t turn from two-way to one-way except at an intersection.

Mass DPW, the predecessor to MassDOT, had authorized the entire block to be one way. Residents wanted it to be one way for outsiders and two way for them, so the City Council changed half of the block back to two way. That change was illegal. You can’t let drivers into a street they can’t get out of.

Millville also misuses DO NOT ENTER for the same reason. Residents can use Preston Street for two way travel, while nonresidents can use it for one way travel.

But I have a license without direction of travel restrictions. These are public streets supposed to be open to all. You want a private street, you pay for it.

In Salem, there are some reported accidents near the signs. They are apparently not vehicles struck while turning around, but could be related to the surprising traffic flow.

Probably some people turning around dent parked cars on private property. That sort of incident doesn’t go into the database.

The DO NOT ENTER sign is to warn a road user who “could wrongly enter a divided highway, one-way roadway, or ramp“. It is not meant to be used to create a gateless gated community.

When you see such signs in Massachusetts, tell MassDOT.

I did tell MassDOT, and the District 4 operations office is going to explain the rules to Salem officials.

The opinions expressed in this post belong to the author and do not necessarily represent those of the National Motorists Association or the NMA Foundation. This content is for informational purposes and is not intended as legal advice. No representations are made regarding the accuracy of this post or the included links.

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