Stops and starts on Bay Road pilot project

The Bay Road pilot program started in June with one-way alternating traffic (photo on left). The painted lines and bollards have been removed before the two-way pilot program begins shortly. Photos by Boston Neary
The Bay Road pilot program started in June with one-way alternating traffic (photo on left). The painted lines and bollards have been removed before the two-way pilot program begins shortly. Photos by Boston Neary

After nearly six months of a pilot project on Bay Road featuring stop signs and a one-way alternating traffic pattern, things are changing a bit. That was decided at a Nov. 8 Selectboard meeting when members unanimously voted not to amend the traffic ordinance to keep the single-lane configuration.

Board members instead chose to continue learning more about the road. They gave direction to Town Manager Joe Colangelo to begin another project. This new project would keep the stop signs, but two-way traffic would be resumed. It will allow for more data to be collected during winter and early spring, which the previous pilot project had not covered.

Director of Administration Ann Janda said that the new signage needed has been ordered, and the project should hopefully get underway around Nov. 21. It should run for approximately six months.

From the previous pilot project, data had been collected that showed many people did not like it. “However, it also showed that it is a dangerous area for motorists and pedestrians, and the Town has a responsibility to find options to create more safety,” Janda said. “Opponents to having anything there [at Bay Road underpass] have talked about how we haven’t had many accidents there, but our traffic engineer still believes that it is a very dangerous point, and we would like to prevent future accidents.”

During the five years preceding the start of the previous pilot project in June, there had been two reported automobile accidents at the underpass. However, Janda noted, there is anecdotal evidence of a number of unreported fender benders taking place. Also, there have been stories of near-misses—both for motorists and pedestrians. Amongst them was Town Manager Joe Colangelo who barely avoided being struck by an automobile while he was jogging along that route.

Janda said that a group of Bay Road residents was a driving factor in getting the previous pilot project underway. They are worried about their safety and the safety of their families as they drive, walk, and bicycle along Bay Road.

When the new pilot project gets underway later this month, there should not be much of a change for motorists. It will simply be a matter of stopping at the signs before proceeding through the underpass. The important thing, Janda stressed, is that people actually do stop. With the previous project, some motorists were not doing so.

Janda encourages those who have questions or input about the project to contact either her or Colangelo. It is also important that those who use the road fill out the online survey, which should be available soon on the Town website.

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