LACONIA — Despite concerns over speeding traffic, no new stop sign will be installed at Summit Avenue.
On the recommendation of its Public Works Committee, the City Council this week agreed to shelve a request from residents of the street to erect a three-way stop sign at the intersection with Wentworth Cove Road in an effort to slow through traffic between Weirs Road (NH Route 11B) and Governor's Island.
Although the speed limit on Summit Avenue was reduced from 35 mph to 25 mph some years ago, in September residents petitioned the council for a stop sign, claiming the speeding problem continues to this day, and the efforts of the Police Department have brought "little relief to our neighborhood."
Police Chief Chris Adams presented data collected by a traffic recorder mounted on Summit Avenue on two days last month. More than 1,000 vehicles were tracked each day and although a half dozen vehicles were clocked at more than 50 mph, the average speed on both days was slightly below the posted speed limit.
A report by MacFarland Johnson Inc. of Concord found that the peak traffic volume at the intersection was insufficient to warrant a stop sign. The report noted that "numerous studies have shown that stop signs are relatively ineffective as a speed control measure."
Undeterred, Richard Homsi of 84 Summit Ave. told the committee that motorists spotted the recorders and reduced their speed. He said that someone was even seen trying to dismantle the recorder. "This is very, very important to us," he said, noting that eight of the ten residents of Summit Avenue signed the petition. He warned that pending improvements to the roadway would lead to higher speeds.
Homsi's opinion was echoed by Phil Lepine of 60 Summit Ave., who said, "We see speeding every day," and Brian Iske of 39 Summit Ave., who conceded that "most drivers are respectful, but a few ruin it for the mass."
Sue Greene of Governor's Island countered, saying "The situation is not as dire as it is being painted," and called it "a nonissue." A stop sign, she said, would deprive motorists of the momentum required to cross the bridge in snowy weather.
City Manager Scott Myers said that while speed bumps would be an impediment to plowing, a speed table, or raised portion of the roadway about the length of an automobile with gradual approaches and yellow striping, might offer a more practical alternative.
The committee voted unanimously to reject a stop sign as "imprudent," but, on the advice of Councilor Armand Bolduc of Ward 6, who chairs the panel, asked Myers to explore the cost of installing a speed table.