WESTFORD — Four roads in Westford may have their speed limits reduced following a recommendation from the Pedestrian Safety Committee.
In an April 12 meeting, the Select Board voted unanimously to approve the proposal. Voters will need to approve the proposal at Annual Town Meeting in June for it to take effect.
These include Pleasant Street and Patten Road, as well as portions of Main Street and West Prescott Street. All four roads have speed limits of 30 miles per hour that would be reduced to 25 miles per hour following approval at the next Town Meeting.
Many public areas and municipal buildings, such as Westford Academy and the J.V. Fletcher Library, are located along these streets. Both buildings attract a high amount of traffic with a significant number of pedestrians and bicyclists in these areas, Pedestrian and Safety Committee Chair Chris Barrett told WestfordCAT.
Massachusetts state law, specifically sections MGL c. 90 § 17c, state that the speed limits in any “thickly settled” area may be reduced from the default 30 mile per hour limit to 25 miles per hour.
Due to the four Westford roads containing notable traffic hand being located in “thickly settled” areas, the Westford Police Department and Pedestrian Safety Committee believe that each qualifies for lower speeding limits.
“These four roads were [also] identified as having the most vulnerable road users. With lower speed limits, vehicles will travel at lower speeds and increase pedestrian and bicyclist safety,” Deputy Chief Ronald Paulausky said.
Additionally, residents expressed support for a reduced speed limit at a Mar. 30 Pedestrian Safety Committee, expressing concerns of excessive speeding.
“With a high volume of traffic during certain parts of the day, combined with pedestrians, bicyclists, and inexperienced drivers making the trek to [Westford Academy], it reinforces that these roads would be a good location to reduce speeds,” Barrett said.
If the speed reductions for these four roads are approved at the upcoming Town Meeting, the PSC may recommend other roads for similar reductions in the future. This process would take at least another year and depends on the outcome of the Town Meeting.
Residents looking for a detailed map of the areas that fall under the proposed speed limit reduction can access this link.
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