Plank Road resident to drivers: Slow down!

FERRISBURGH — After hearing from a Plank Road resident whose wife had been hurt in an accident on that road in the southeastern corner of Ferrisburgh, the town selectboard said at its Nov. 17 meeting it would take steps to make a stretch of Plank Road safer, probably in cooperation with neighboring towns.
Plank Road resident Daniel Crossman said recently his wife was pulling out of their driveway when her car was struck by a speeding vehicle. Fortunately, Crossman said, she needed only stitches, but the incident highlighted a problem with that stretch between South Middlebrook and Pea Ridge roads.
His driveway is one of several near three short dead-end streets that are on a slight rise between two long, straight paved stretches of the road.
The visibility as they pull out on Plank Road is limited to about 150 feet, Crossman said, and although the speed limit is 40 mph, drivers often treat the stretch like a “racetrack,” and there have been three other accidents in recent years in the area.
Compounding the problem, he said, are there are no signs near the knoll identifying the speed limit as 40 mph.
“You could claim it’s 50,” Crossman said.
Ideally, he said, “I would like to see it reduced. People don’t see 40 and go 40.”
However, Crossman told the selectboard, he would like to “at least get it legally marked.”
Selectboard chairman Steve Gutowski said he agreed speed is an issue along Plank Road in that stretch.
“There are people who drive fast there,” said Gutowski, who said the town could install yellow warning signs immediately, but was not sure how effective they would be. 
Gutowski said a traffic study to justify a speed limit change would take time and might not conclude that a lower limit would be warranted.
Crossman said he believed a study had been conducted three years ago, and the board said Ferrisburgh road foreman John Bull would track that down, a task that will include contacting his counterparts in New Haven and Waltham.
Involving those towns will also be necessary to post the road properly, which board members said should help slow many drivers. Selectman Jim Warden said that stretch of the road does run through both New Haven and Waltham, and their cooperation would be needed.
“One of us could talk to them and see how they feel,” Warden said.
Board members were confident that approach would work.
“It might be something that can happen quickly and it can be posted properly,” Gutowski said.
Andy Kirkaldy may be reached at [email protected].

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