Potter Hill residents pleased, but say more should be done
|One of the new speed limit signs added to Potter Hill Road. (Jeff Ferland) (click for larger version)|
August 31, 2011Potter Hill Road residents recently persuaded Gilford's selectmen to lower their speed limit by five miles per hour, but they are still discussing additional measures to reduce speeds.
According to a letter sent by Gary Kiedaisch of Newington, also a Potter Hill resident, to selectmen on June 25, he and the 41 petitioners requested a posted speed limit of 25 mph and the enforcement of that limit with radar controls.
The Kiedaisch letter states that since the town paved Potter Hill Road and built the library and youth center, traffic and speeds on the road have increased dramatically.
According to Kiedaisch, in general, drivers typically travel about 10 mph over the posted speed limit.
The petitioners also requested that the town "close the merge lane at the intersection of Potter Hill Road and Route 11, leaving only the T intersection open."
The intersection is set up similar to the intersection of Route 11-A and Interval Road (Route 11-B), almost across the street. The view at the merge-lane for Potter Hill Road is partially blocked from one side by the bend in the road, and drivers cannot see very far up the road.
Kiedaisch voiced concern over pulling out of the merge onto Route 11-A because one cannot see traffic coming around the bend from the Gunstock Acres area, traveling toward Gilford Village. He recalled using the merge from Potter Hill Road when the road was clear of traffic, but after he merged, there was suddenly a car very close behind him.
"It's not just a Potter Hill Road issue. You can't see around the corner. It's dangerous," said Kiedaisch. "It's a dangerous intersection."
He also discussed an issue with traffic coming from the Acres towards the Village using the T-portion of the intersection, and traveling down Potter Hill to the Village.
"It looks like a left hand exit," said Kiedaisch, explaining that drivers may be tempted to carry their speed from 11-A up Potter Hill Road when coming down the hill on 11-A by Cat Path, making the straight shot up Potter Hill. This is also a dangerous maneuver because drivers cross the oncoming lane, and cannot see around the same corner but a few yards.
Kiedaisch requested that the selectmen authorize "Local Rraffic" or "No Thru Traffic" signs be placed on Potter Hill Road to help alleviate this problem.
Department of Public Works Director Sheldon Morgan is in favor of eliminating the merge-lane and reducing the intersection to a T-style. Though most of the DPW budget for road construction has been depleted this summer, Morgan assured selectmen that the project would be relatively inexpensive to complete.
According to Morgan, the DPW hopes to begin the project some time this fall, as they complete the "nickel and dime" projects to close out the season.
Additionally, Potter Hill residents requested the installation of "speed humps/indents at the areas where speeds are the highest and present the greatest danger."
Morgan described these, at a recent selectmen's meeting, as similar to those on Governor's Island, and offered to help with the financial aspect.
"At this point, we are very pleased with what has been done," said Kiedaisch. "More needs to be done. I have high hopes."