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Seasonal speed bumps planned for Governor's Island

October 21, 2009
To reduce traffic speed and ensure the safety of pedestrians around the island, the Governor's Island Club requested that the town help with the installation of three to four speed bumps in various locations.

With approval from the Department of Public Works and the Gilford Police Department, GIC would like to see the seasonal speed bumps installed in the spring and removed in the winter by the town, which will also be in charge of minimal maintenance.

Although DPW will install and remove speed bumps throughout the year, GIC has offered to pay for the speed bumps themselves, Public Works Director Sheldon Morgan said at the selectmen meeting last Wednesday.

The speed bumps would most likely be placed on main roads in Governor's Island, such as Edgewater Drive, Shore Drive, and Summit Avenue in order to reduce speeding issues.

Selectman Kevin Hayes said that he was on board with the plan and felt that installing the speed bumps was the "right thing" for the town to do after GIC decides on three or four strategic locations.

Board Chair Gus Benavides asked Morgan exactly why this should be an approved proposal.

"Why do this," asked Benavides, "but not do it for another particular neighborhood (that had requested speed bumps)?"

Morgan explained that financially, it was more plausible for the town to install speed bumps for a neighborhood that was willing to purchase them on their own.

"We shied away from a request in the past because the cost was entirely on the town. They (GIC) said they would step up and participate and purchase them," said Morgan.

He added that he had already spoken with an insurance carrier to guarantee that the procedure would be completely legal. As long as the set agreement is signed by the town and carried out correctly, there should be no legalities, said Morgan.

The board had a few questions in terms of how much maintenance the town would be required to put into the speed bumps. Morgan said the town would be in charge of installing the speed bumps in the spring, then removing them and storing them in the winter. Morgan said that extra maintenance would be minimal and include cleaning and removing brush from the bumps.

Benavides suggested that the DPW test out one speed bump first but Hayes disagreed and said that the selectmen should leave the amount of speed bumps up to Morgan. Morgan added that a minimum of three speed bumps would be needed to adequately cover Governor's Island.

"The intent is to slow down traffic on the island. There is so much construction that it is hard to negotiate," said Morgan. "A lot of people walk the island and they are concerned with safety."

Morgan reassured the board that the selected roads would be properly signed and would warn drivers of the speed bumps well before they crossed them. The board was also concerned with the potential damage to vehicles if drivers happen to speed over the bumps. They decided that GIC would have to sign off and agree that the town was not liable for any possible damage.

The Board of Selectmen approved GIC's purchase of three to four speed bumps and agreed to install them next spring, remove and store them in the winter with limited maintenance.

GIC has also requested that the town change the speed limit on Governor's Island from 30 mph to 25 mph to reduce speeding problems even more so.

Morgan said 25 mph would be the minimal speed allowed in neighborhoods outside of a school zones, and Chief of Police John Markland said his department would have to finish the investigation on Potter Hill Road before tackling the speed limit on Governor's Island.

Markland and Morgan agreed that a reduced speed limit in conjunction with the speed bumps would ensure the safety of the vast amount of pedestrians on Governor's Island, but the board concluded that the matter would have to be discussed in more detail at the next selectmen meeting on Oct. 28.

Matin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
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