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Traffic Rules & Regulations, September 3, 2003
TRAFFIC RULES AND REGULATIONS COMMITTEE
SEPTEMBER 3, 2003
ALSO PRESENT: Paul Reidy, Board of Selectmen Liaison; Mr. Joseph P. Norton, Chairman, Board of Selectmen.
1. Chairman Linda Barich CALLED THE MEETING TO ORDER at approximately 7:10 P.M. in the copy/coffee room of the Town Hall.
2. ACCEPTANCE OF MINUTES. On a MOTION by Mr. Wood, SECONDED by Ms. Cook, the Minutes of the Meeting of August 6, 2003 were accepted unanimously (4-0, one member absent).
3. REVIEW OF CORRESPONDENCE. There was no new correspondence to review at this time.
4. DISCUSSION - INTERSECTION AT ST. MARY'S CHURCH. Mr. Joseph P. Norton, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen, was in attendance at the meeting to address traffic issues at the intersection of Edward Foster Road/Kent Street/First Parish Road/Front Street, where there currently is a three-way stop. He said that many townspeople have come to him with concerns about this intersection, saying that there is a great deal of uncertainty for traffic about who has the right of way there. He added that many people are concerned that if the Greenbush train comes that the situation will get worse, and that inevitably there will be an accident with someone getting broadsided coming out of Edward Foster Road. Mr. Norton suggested additional signage or a traffic light at the intersection. Ms. Barich asked if the sight distance problem in any particular direction is worse than others, and Mr. Norton said that coming out of the Cliffs (from Edward Foster Road) appears to be the most difficult. He added that coming out of Kent Street is not a problem. Mr. Norton said he could not see a reason why there could not be a light or another stop sign at this intersection. He said he recalled that the intersection once was a four-way stop. Mr. Wood said that Mr. Scott and he disagree vehemently about this issue; Mr. Wood said that there are sight distance issues at that intersection because of the way the Bank has landscaped their site; traffic does not have to slow up coming out of the Harbor, so that those coming out of the Cliffs can't see the fast traffic coming up Front Street. Mr. Wood said that at one time it was a two-way stop, due to design standards by engineers and architects (the stop signs were at Kent Street and Edward Foster Road). He said that there were many near misses. Mr. Norton requested that as it is a major intersection, could the TRRC initiate a public hearing to get input from the public to see if there is as much concern as he thinks there is; it would be the only item on the agenda, and comments from St. Mary's R.C. Church could also be heard. After the hearing, he said, the TRRC could make a decision. Mr. Wood said that Police Chief Brian Stewart has strong feelings that there should be a fourth stop sign at that intersection. Mr. Norton's question is, should there be a fourth stop sign or a traffic light, but that to leave it as is is unacceptable to his mind. Mr. Wood said that if traffic lights are warranted at the intersection of Beaver Dam Road and Jericho Road, certainly they should be at this intersection. Ms. Cook said that more traffic due to development in the area should merit the use of traffic lights at the intersection. Mr. Murphy recalled a traffic survey from 2000 that said that the intersection should be a two-way stop. There was a question regarding the Atate's involvement should traffic lights indeed be merited, and Mr. Wood said that he thinks that the installation of traffic lights would have to be OK'ed by the State. Ms. Barich said that the State gave money for the creation of the intersection and stipulated that it would be a two-way stop, but that was approximately 14 years ago. All agreed that a four-way stop was not going to help the situation; Mr. Wood said it would help people to see up Front Street, but that getting used to an additional stop sign would take some time. Mr. Norton also mentioned a pedestrian light, and Mr. Wood said he recalled that when he was young red and yellow meant that a pedestrian is in the street. He said that he asked about it at the State level and was told that it couldn't be done any more. Mr. Norton said that perhaps the matter should be on the Board of Selectmen's agenda. Ms. Barich agreed that this would be a good way to go. Mr. Reidy asked about whether the State's permission would still be needed for a traffic light if it was agreed at the Board of Selectmen's meeting that a light is necessary. Mr. Wood said that he has not had good luck with asking for things from the State. The proposed roundabout at Greenbush was brought up, and discussion was that this is an irregular intersection and that a roundabout wouldn't work there. Mr. Reidy said that it is an ellipse, rather than a roundabout. Ms. Cook mentioned coming down Beaver Dam Road and that this will be the scariest part when the train comes. Returning to the original subject, Mr. Murphy asked if a traffic light at the intersection will back up traffic into Front Street. He suggested perhaps indicating that there is a multiple stop sign situation there. Mr. Wood said that the timing of a traffic signal would be important, that for the side roads the light should be short. Mr. Norton said that at Pond Street there is one like this. Ms Cook mentioned that a traffic-sensitive light would be good. Mr. Reidy mentioned blinking yellow and blinking red lights, and Mr. Norton asked if people really slow down for a blinking yellow. Mr. Murphy said that for people not familiar with the town it might help to let people know that there is a three-way stop there, if the state should say that we can't get a traffic signal there. Mr. Norton said that there shouldn't be a problem getting a signal if there is a great deal of public support for it. Ms. Barich asked if it would be possible this year, and Mr Norton said that if not it would have to wait until next July 1. Ms. Barich thanked Mr. Norton for his input. All present were in agreement that a memo should be written to the Board of Selectmen saying that the TRRC's recommendation to the Board of Selectmen is to signalize the intersection., and that we ask that you take any action that you deem appropriate toward this end.
5. NEW PLANS SUBMITTED FOR REVIEW.
A) 42 COUNTRY WAY. Accessory Dwelling Application. Owner wishes to renovate existing variety/package store, add handicap ramp and add a second floor apartment. The renovations will not extend beyond the existing footprint. All in attendance agreed that the number of parking spaces available would be acceptable. All agreed to send a memo to the Board of Selectmen saying that following the TRRC's review of the plans, while the site is on a heavily trafficked street, that the additional use proposed would not significantly impact traffic at that location.
B) GREENFIELD ESTATES. Flexible Open Space Development Special Permit. A common drive is suggested rather than as a subdivision as previously submitted. Mr. Wood said that a common drive doesn't have to meet the same criteria as a subdivision, that there is more leeway this way. Mr. Wood said that he would like to see a turnaround adequate in radius to accommodate any emergency vehicle. Mr. Murphy said that as presented it would require a six-point turn. Mr. Wood said that new plans show a more gradual grade, but that he still has concerns regarding sight distance coming on to Greenfield Lane. Measurements made from the plans showed that the length of the common drive as proposed is approximately 300 feet. Mr. Wood said that the common drive does not have to be as wide as a roadway. Another measurement made from the plans showed that the proposed drive is 30 feet wide. Mr. Wood said that nothing in this new plan shows any amelioration of the conditions that were a concern in the last plans. All were in agreement that a memo should be sent to the Planning Board saying that as far as we can see, the new plans do not address the issues the TRRC had with the original plan as laid out in its memo of May 22, 2003.
6. OLD BUSINESS.
A) BEAVER DAM ROAD AND CLIFTON ROAD. Mr. Wood went over this issue again; at the moment sawhorses are being used to block illegal parking, a guardrail was requested and has not been installed. Mr. Wood said that he would see if Mr. Scott would be available for a site visit.
B) TRAFFIC CONTROL MEASURES AT JENKINS SCHOOL Mr. Reidy brought this up before leaving the meeting; Mr. Wood said that a school zone package needs to be put together to get a revision on the speed zone. Mr. Wood said that today, the first day of school, a number of people parked in the parking lot at St. Mary's R.C. Church to walk their children to school. He said that traffic was remarkably orderly. Mr. Wood also said that the speed limit must be reduced on Vinal Avenue. Mr. Reidy said that he would look into speed zoning. Ms. Cook brought up signage required at Gates for the new drive being put in.
7. NEW BUSINESS. Ms. Cook brought up sight distance problems caused by the Beautification Cmmittee's plantings in the median at the Country Way/Branch Street intersection. It was agreed that a memo would be written to the Beautification Committee stating that though we appreciate the Beautification Committee's great efforts to beautify the traffic island, the TRRC feels that the density and height of plantings there is creating sight distance problems at that intersection. Attached will be a copy of the town bylaw stating that vegetation cannot be between three and eight feet in height.
Mr. Wood mentioned upcoming correspondence from the Humarock Beach Improvement Association regarding requested signage including No Parking After 9 P.M. Ms. Barich recalled some replacement of parking signs previously. Mr. Wood said that the HBIA will also be requesting a four-way stop at the intersection. Ms. Barich said that she would not support the latter request. Mr. Wood said that the heavy volume of pedestrians there is a concern in the summer, and that the Police Chief would be amenable to the four-way stop there. Mr. Murphy suggested making the sidewalks wider on the bridge. Ms. Barich suggested a painted line for a bike lane. Ms. Cook suggested signage in the middle of the road regarding pedestrians, Mr. Wood said that this doesn't meet the town rules and that the town is liable for anything in the middle of the road which is knocked down. Mr. Wood said that the problem is people who are not familiar with the area driving too quickly through the area.
Tuesday, September 16, 2003 was the date set for a TRRC workshop to continue work on updating the Town's Traffic Schedules. The meeting will be held at 7:00 in the copy/coffee room of the Town Hall.
9. ADJOURNMENT. The next meeting of the TRRC will be held on Wednesday, October 1, 2003 at 7:00 in the copy/coffee room of the Town Hall. On a MOTION by Mr. Wood, SECONDED by Ms. Cook, the meeting was ADJOURNED at approximately 9:02 P.M.
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