From May 23, anglers can once again cast their lines from the Padanaram Bridge at any time of the day.
On Monday, the Select Board voted 3-2 to overturn the ban it had imposed in 2020 that banned fishing from the bridge between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.
“I think it’s time to get back to the norm,” said board member Shawn McDonald. “People have waited long enough”
The ban was initially imposed due to an increase in pedestrian and bicycle traffic on the bridge caused by the pandemic.
Vice President Stanley Mickelson voted to uphold the ban. He said that with more people returning outside and congregating in the village, he is worried about pedestrian safety.
“They want to be able to walk that bridge,” he said. “They don’t want to have a hook on the back of the head.”
Resident Margo Moore echoed those sentiments, saying crossing the bridge is “really dangerous when people are fishing.”
“I’ve personally seen a lot of near misses of hooks,” she said, adding that fishermen “became very angry with the people they were inconveniencing.”
With those concerns in mind, McDonald’s chose May 23 as the date when city officials could come up with new safety measures — something he said should have been done a long time ago.
“It’s time to force the city to do something,” McDonald said. “I hate to use the analogy, but it’s time to cut the bait or the fish.”
Mickelson, meanwhile, said he was skeptical that new rules could be enforced.
“Who has the magic badge to say ‘you can’t do this anymore?'” he said. “Are you going to call the cops? They have a lot [more] to worry about for some fishermen.
If safety rules are not followed, McDonald said the ban could be reviewed.
“It was closed once, it can be closed again,” McDonald said.