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Provincetown considers "walk only" zone to protect pedestrians

Provincetown considers changes to Commercial Street to protect pedestrians
Provincetown considers changes to Commercial Street to protect pedestrians 03:14

BOSTON - A change could be coming to one of the biggest bike towns in America: Provincetown, Massachusetts.

Located at the northern tip of Cape Cod, the seaside town is known for its beaches, art and Commercial Street -- the chaotic cross section at the epicenter of Provincetown congested with bikes, pedicabs, e-scooters, pedestrians and more.

"I've seen some bad accidents," says Julie Tremblay, a Provincetown resident and local art gallery owner. "I don't drive into town because it's too crazy."

Tremblay has owned a gallery along the busy street for 12 years, spending more than a decade dodging traffic to get there. She says bikes have run into her vehicle in the past.

Town officials are now considering a solution of implementing a "walk only" zone to cut down on traffic. The zone would ideally be placed on Commercial Street between Center Street and Masonic place.

"Regardless of the device you're on, you would get off and walk it," said Town Manager Alex Morse.

Uptick in accidents on Commercial Street

The plan aims to protect pedestrians after an uptick in accidents from the introduction of e-devices. In 2023, there were 124 accidents along Commercial Street -- a 44% increase from 2022 and 169% increase from 2021.

"We know that we're not going to be able to prevent every bad thing from happening, but what we're trying to do is reduce the number of accidents," Morse said.

Currently, pamphlets, texts, and signage in Provincetown remind riders of the rules of the road -- including which way vehicles can or can't go and to slow down.

Bicyclists on Commercial Street in Provincetown. CBS Boston

Town resident Robert Beaton, owner of "Arnold's Bike Shop," says the walk-only zone won't work. "Too many people," he says. "Not enough police officers, not enough enforcement."

Since 1937, Beaton's store has relied on the summer months to get through the year. Now he's concerned the new zone could slow business down.

"You have basically three months to make all your money," Beaton says. "The town made the decision to have scooters and electric bikes. Now they've let the cat out of the bag, and they don't know what to do."

Provincetown officials won't make a decision until they hear from the public on June 24. 

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