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Governor's Island speed limit lowered to 25 mph

August 04, 2010
The Board of Selectmen OK'd a request to alter the speed limit from 35 mph to 25 mph on Governor's Island after both the town and its residents expressed safety concerns about many of the island's narrow, winding roads.

Gilford Fire Chief John Markland and Department of Public Works Director Sheldon Morgan presented a report to the board last Wednesday night, outlining their continuous study and recommendation to change Governor's Island and all of its surrounding roads to 25 mph.

Although the current speed, 35 mph, met all state standards, both Markland and Morgan said several other issues have been taken into account.

"During our cruise, we went around the island at 30 mph. I had to be on my A-game, aware, and cautious to get all the way around the island," said Markland.

During their test drive, they also noticed that many of the large oak trees cause a shadowing effect during the summer months, and make it even more difficult to drive at 30 mph as safely as possible, especially considering an abundance of sharp turns and hills on the roads.

"When we slowed down to 25 mph, it was a lot more manageable, and only a 5 mph difference," said Markland.

"I didn't even realize we were driving 25 mph," added Morgan. "I was a little apprehensive at 30 and wouldn't be surprised if homeowners in the area agreed with us."

They also took into consideration the low salt areas during the winter months to avoid an overload of sodium chloride from leaking into the lake, even more reason to lower the speed limit.

Walkers and joggers are also a concern on Governor's Island roads, where many people prefer to be outdoors, walking their dogs or getting in their daily exercise.

Jack McDevitt of the Governor's Island Club said he shares similar concerns with the Police Department and DPW.

"A lot of people on Governor's Island enjoy bicycling and jogging, and at times this is dangerous, especially around the corners," said McDevitt.

He believes if 25 mph is posted on the roads, drivers will perhaps drive 30 at a maximum speed and not a higher number such as 40 mph if the speed limit remained at 35.

He said many residents on the island are most concerned with a four corners intersection, which he said could lead to a tragedy if the speed limit is not addressed.

Improvements have been made after discussion with the Governor's Island club in the past, including improvements to the road surface, tree trimming, ditching and cutting back brush, and the recent use of seasonal speed bumps which will soon be put back into place.

The selectmen approved this request as well.

Martin Lord Osman
Varney Smith
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