Slow down: Village speed limits set to drop

illustration by Garrett Brown
Several streets in Shelburne village are targeted for lower speed limits. The selectboard will have a public hearing on the changes on Tuesday Feb. 13.

By Mark Kobzik

Lower speed limits are expected for parts of Shelburne village after the selectboard votes next week on proposed changes to the traffic ordinance.

A public hearing is scheduled for the board’s meeting Tuesday. Town Manager Joe Colangelo said the board is expected to approve the new recommended speed limits. If, that happens, the new limits be implemented as soon as possible, he said.

This decrease in speed is among several initiatives proposed for 2018 to improve safety in the village. The proposed new limits would be:

• Reduced from 30 to 25 mph on Falls Road between its intersection with U.S. Route 7 to its intersection with Church Street.
• Reduced from 35 to 30 mph on Falls Road between Church Street and Marsett Road.
• Reduced from 35 to 30 on Marsett Road between the intersection of U.S. 7 and the intersection with Falls Road.
• Reduced from 35 to 30 mph on Falls Road between Marsett and Thompson Roads.

Calls for lower speed limits are part of a wider safety effort to make Shelburne village more hospitable to walkers and bicyclists, Colangelo said. In general, Colangelo said, people in town would like to see Shelburne be a place where travelers stop, rather than pass through, and where residents can meander safely.

“People don’t want to feel like they’re walking next to a freeway,” he said.

The speed-limit recommendations came from a special working group called the Pedestrian Safety Group. Last summer, its members focused on improving crosswalks. They also worked to make drivers more aware of pedestrians.

The next steps were to work with state officials, traffic engineers and Shelburne police, Colangelo said.

Jane Zenaty lives in the village and is a member of the Pedestrian Safety Group. She said their goal is to implement greater safety measures by working with the Bike and Pedestrian Paths Committee and town government. Zenaty said the new, slower speed limits are a start, but said they won’t be enough.

Colangelo agreed that the slower speed limits are part of a larger safety effort and not designed to be a speed trap. The speed changes will be implemented as soon as the selectboard approves them.

In the upcoming months the pedestrian group, town and state officials, and police will work on additional proposals to narrow roads, make crosswalks more visible, and build more sidewalks, officials said.

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