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Is The Corner of Plain and Elm Safe For Kids? The Selectmen Hear Concerns

Part Two of a transcript from the Jan. 14, 2014 of the Board of Selectmen meeting. For other parts of the transcript, click here. 

7:30 p.m.

Town engineer Paul Starratt presented a request to endorse an order of taking for Sleigh Road and Laughton Farm street acceptance, which would make it eligible for town services such as snow plowing.

Both were approved unanimously, with an additional request to lay out a vote intention for the Planning Board for Hidden Valley Road, Saw Road and Musket Lane, other unaccepted roads in town.

7:35 p.m.

Tony Vaca of the Communications Advisory Committee provided an update on a notice to Verizon provided several weeks ago indicated they were not in compliance with FIOS installation.

Vaca provided a recap of the installation agreement for FIOS so far, saying after the October 2013 deadline, there 595 households that should have received FIOS that had not gotten it.

Since the last hearing, nearly 300 of those households were connected, with 114 households remaining.

Peter Bowman from Verizon then reiterated to the board that they committed to completing the remaining households except for two areas, which would be completed in the spring, and that the connections to those remaining households outside of the two areas had been completed.

Peraner-Sweet proposed that the Verizon representatives return at the first meeting in June, and by that point, all of those households should be connected, barring an incredible act of God.

Wormell thanked Vaca for his work.

7:40 p.m.

The Selectmen then heard from Natalie Lefebvre, who was requesting a stop sign at the intersection of Plain Road and Depot Street.

She said this was an issue due to vehicles coming down the hill on Plain Road.

Peraner-Sweet said that at one point there was a stop sign there because it made things more dangerous then.

Captain Mark Chambers with the Westford Police Department elaborated that the stop sign was removed in the late 80s due to difficulty in stopping there during poor weather and difficulty in looking to the right onto Depot Street from Plain Road due to threes.

Lefebvre said she found it hard to believe that adding a stop sign would make the intersection more dangerous.

Peraner-Sweet said more study was needed.

Lefebvre said she would appreciate additional study.

7:45 p.m.

There was then another request for a sign, this one for a “Slow Children” sign near the intersection of Plain Road and Elm Road in Nabnasset by resident Amanda Zaman.

Zaman said that a bus stop let out near this area and she feared an accident, and that a sign may help.

Peraner-Sweet said that the Police Department had no issues, although Town Manager Ross said that Highway Department superintendent Chip Barrett was not in favor of the sign, saying that they generally do not improve the situation.  Ross said that Barrett advised that residents should pay for such signs.

Zaman said she was advised this was the first step and that this was easier than trying to lower the speed limit to 25 mph. Ross said that if approved, the town could pay for the sign.

Chambers said that Barrett’s objection came from federal guidelines recommending the disuse of such signs, with Hazelton saying that he saw in Barrett’s report that the signs had become so ubiquitous that they were often ignored, that giving an impression that streets are potential playgrounds could lead the town to legal liability and Selectman Ross added that if signs are put up in certain neighborhoods, it leads to other neighborhoods being assumed as “unsafe.”

Selectman Ross then asked Chambers about the problem in the area and asked if there were any better solutions.

Chambers said that one of the main issues was a line-of-sight illusion and that there were many new families in the area due to home prices. The Police Department didn’t have an objection to the sign, but deferred to the Highway Department.

Selectman Ross then asked if there were any other signs that could be placed, with Chambers advising to ask Barrett or Starratt.

Wormell asked to refer this back to Barrett with the hopes that he come up with an outside-of-the-box solution.

Hazelton and Peraner-Sweet agreed. 

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