Ferrisburgh eyes Old Hollow Rd. traffic issue

FERRISBURGH — The Ferrisburgh selectboard at its Tuesday meeting agreed to use equipment borrowed from Shelburne to measure the speed and amount of traffic coming through the North Ferrisburgh village along Old Hollow Road.
The board took that action in response to a petition filed by Old Hollow Road resident Nick Patch and signed by about 90 residents of the area; he said “the vast majority” of the village population wanted something done.
The petition read that area residents were “concerned about the quantity, type and speed of motorized vehicles that come through our village on a daily basis. We feel that the danger posed and the noise created by current levels of traffic are inappropriate for Ferrisburgh’s most historic, densely populated residential neighborhood. The traffic severely limits pedestrian safety, our children’s outdoor activities, and out ability to interact as a community.”
Patch told the board that excess speed in the 35 mph zone through the village, which is becoming a conduit for alternate routes north toward Chittenden County, might be the biggest issue.
“If they slow down, more to what the speed limit is now, it would make a big difference,” Patch said.
Selectman Jim Warden, also the Shelburne police chief, said federally funded traffic measurement equipment is stored in that town and could be used by Ferrisburgh. He told the board it could be put in place shortly.
Selectboard chairwoman Loretta Lawrence told Patch other steps had already been taken, including requesting that the Addison County Sheriff’s Department perform additional patrols along the road there, installing better and bigger signs, and clearing brush at the intersection of Mount Philo and Old Hollow roads.
The petition requested further actions, which Patch said had been endorsed by a former regional planner. Those requests included more signs to warn of children, pedestrians and a village area; signs and a crosswalk at the new Lewis Creek bridge; a flashing radar unit at the east end of the village; three-way stop signs at the intersection of Mount Philo and Old Hollow roads; and a study to be performed by a professional engineering firm to make further recommendations.
At least some selectmen and town road foreman John Bull were skeptical of the cost, effectiveness, and in the case of the stop signs, the legality of some of the proposals.
Warden said traffic-calming measures can have little effect on many speeders, but that the increased patrols could make a difference.
“Enforcement is your most important thing,” he said.
Bull said there are criteria for stop signs that an expert has told him are not met by the intersection of Mount Philo and Old Hollow roads.
“He was quite adamant that Ferrisburgh would be liable if anything happened there,” Bull said.
But the equipment to be installed might help. As Bull noted, a town cannot “arbitrarily set a speed limit.”
However, if the evidence provided by the equipment shows a problem, he said Ferrisburgh officials might be able to act.
“We need the base information,” Bull said. “25 mph might come in.”
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].                                                                                    

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