Town Engineer Dave Daltorio and DPW Director John Westerling joined Town Manager Norman Khumalo at the November 20 Board of Selectmen's meeting to walk the board through five identified issues related to the improvements to the Main Street/Grove Street intersection. Legacy Farms
paid for and implemented the changes at the intersection, but a few ongoing issues remain.
“There are some tweaks that havto be made on the ground out there,”
said Westerling, “to make sure that the improvements that were made are working as efficiently and safely as possible.”
The five issues identif ed for further discussion are:
1) The need [or not] for the “no turn on red”signs on Grove and on Cedar Street
2) The need for additional signage at the left turn only lane on Rt. 85; too many drivers still going straight
from left only lane
3) Timing adjustments
4) Concurrent pedestrian crossing vs. exclusive pedestrian crossing
5) Additional striping on road for left turn only lane
Selectman Chairman Ben Palleiko solicited input from the board, asking forfeedback on non-technical issues, preferring to leave those up to the town’s professional staff.
“I would be in full favor of removing those [no turn] signs,” said Selectman Michelle Gates. “I am on that intersection every night after work and it takes me now almost half an hour to get from the State Park through the lights.”
Gates also wanted to know the current average delay in the intersection versus the study period because in her view the delay in all directions has increased too much.
“It’s crazy,” said Gates. “I am getting so many phone calls.”
Daltorio responded by explaining that by going to what is called split phasing, with a green light at Grove Street separate from a green light on Cedar Street, time is taken away from the east/west corridor. When Gates asked if that could be corrected, Daltorio said that all of the traffic studies show that that is the improvement that needs to be made at that intersection with the traffic that is coming.
“As far as it is now, it doesn’t seem improved,” said Gates. “I’d be in favor of putting it back to what the timing was before.”
Selectman Brian Herr also supported removing the no turn on red signs and suggested any markings that would more clearly delineate the left turn only be worthwhile and Selectman John Mosher asked about adding hanging signs. Selectman Todd Cestari noted that traffic traveling
westbound on Rt. 135 was often backed up to Weston Nurseries.
To summarize, Palleiko said asked that Daltorio and Westerling further explore removing the no turn on red signs, adding lines to increase safety, and to consider nonexclusive pedestrian crossing if it is deemed not to be detrimental to public safety.
The five identified issues were also discussed at the December 3 meeting of the Planning Board, but Roy MacDowell of Legacy Farms said that it was not clear what was being asked for. From his perspective, Legacy Farms has completed the first phase of changes as stipulated in its agreement with the town and he felt that most of the issues identified could be resolved by discussion with the town's professional staff. According to MacDowell, the only issue he felt required input from the Planning Board was the one related to pedestrian crossings.
"We did what we were supposed to do," said MacDowell. "Is it someone in DPW who is questioning it, or is it something the Planning Board wants to think about?"
Chairman Ken Weismantel said that while the Planning Board approved an overall concept for the intersection, the intersectioin belongs to the town and minor tweaks should and will continue to be made.
"I don't feel that we need to be into the weeds, when we have town professionals who are cutting weeds every day of the week," said Weismantel.
On the other hand, if there is an issue of who should be making those tweaks, the town or Legacy, then Weismantel thought that it was appropriate for the Planning Board to get involved. The town has the authority to take down the signsa and to make other changes, but Weismantel said that the DPW will have to spend some money if they want to make changes.
At the end of the December 3 Planning Board meeting, the board voted unanimously to say that Legacy Farms has conformed with all the requirments at the intersection and that any changes related to issues 1, 2, 3 and 5 will be made by the town, with Legacy and the Planning Board to provide input to issue 4, pedestrian crossing.