The Selectboard will hold a public hearing at its meeting Aug. 8 to decide whether the two-way stop sign with two-way traffic lanes at the Bay Road Underpass will become a permanent fixture both on Bay Road and in the official Shelburne traffic ordinance. The signs require cars travelling in both directions to slow down and come to a full stop before entering the narrow, curved space beneath the underpass.
The pass under the railroad bridge has long been a safety concern due to narrow travel lanes, limited sight distances, and high levels of car, bike, and pedestrian traffic underneath. To figure out the best solution, the town and the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission conducted two different pilot projects: one featuring two-way stop signs with single-lane alternate-use traffic, and the other featuring two-way stop signs with two-way traffic.
A public opinion survey conducted by the town found 56.4 percent of Shelburne residents preferred the two-way traffic arrangement for improving travel and public safety.
If the signs and the two-way lanes are made a permanent part of the ordinance, Town Manager Joe Colangelo has said that the town will update the striping on the road to clearly indicate that two-way traffic is permitted under the railroad bridge. It is also likely that local law enforcement would be deployed to help manage traffic under the bridge whenever special events happen nearby and dramatically increase traffic, such as the Harvest Festival at Shelburne Farms, the Planning Commission said.