Selectboard authorizes speed study

The Town of Charlotte, VT

At its Oct. 8 meeting the Charlotte Selectboard authorized a speed study on Church Hill Road between Route 7 and the Hinesburg Road following a request by Matt Zucker who expressed concern about the rate cars travel along the road. Zucker spoke to the board during the public comment portion of the meeting, asking that a speed study be conducted by the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission. Zucker spoke with the municipal organization and said the group can do the work at no cost to the town.

Noting the posted speed limit in the area near the Mutton Hill section is 50 miles an hour, Zucker said he’s concerned about children waiting at a bus stop and cars that travel on the road. The last speed study that was conducted on the road was in 2008, he said. “The area’s had dramatic changes. There have been a number of young families that have moved here, and kids are standing by the side of the road, waiting for the bus.” He also pointed out the road is “within spitting distance” of Route 7 and expressed concern that both the road and Route 7 both have the same speed limit. A speed study should help determine whether the current speed limit on Church Hill Road is the right one under current circumstances.

This isn’t the first time a concerned Charlotte resident approached the board about speeding in town. During the last two years, the board discussed several options concerning how to get some speedy drivers to slow down. During the U.S. 7 construction project, drivers favored using the town’s roadways as alternative routes to avoid traffic snarls. Concerns about speeding in town prompted the board to discuss the use of temporary speed tables, installation of flashing signs indicating a driver’s speed, increased traffic enforcement by local law enforcement and the issuance of speeding tickets for drivers going five to 10 miles per hour over the speed limit.

Selectboard members, including current and former board members, such as Jacob Spell and Carrie Spear,advocated a year and a half ago for increased police patrols on so-called “hot spots” in town at designated times. Bloch noted that police patrols continue in town and that speeding tickets have been issued. 

In other news, the board approved a University of Vermont Cycling Road Race to take place next March or April. Race Coordinator Zachary Weimer told board members a specific date should be selected in November. The race was last held in Charlotte in 2014. Before approving the request, however, Selectboard member Carrie Spear said she’s heard complaints from some residents about impacts on traffic flow during the race day and about spectators in roadways that sparked safety concerns about the event.

The race travels along Spear Street, Mount Philo and Charlotte-Hinesburg roads. A standby ambulance will also be on site, according to the application submitted to the town.

The race is expected to draw about 400 participants and roughly 30 staff and volunteers. Proposed parking is slated for Charlotte Central School, and traffic control measures will be implemented. The race starts at 7:30 a.m. and is slated to end at 5:00 p.m.

Finally, the board appointed Ethan McLaughlin to the Trails Committee. During a brief interview with the board, McLaughlin, an attorney, said he frequently uses the trails, citing the Town Link Trail as a favorite. “I really appreciate everything the town and the committee does, and I want to contribute a little more,” McLaughlin said. He fills a vacancy that has existed on the committee for the last three years. His term will expire in April 2020.

Bid awarded for Charlotte Senior Center project
The Selectboard selected Sticks & Stuff for the Charlotte Senior Center counter replacement project during Monday’s meeting. Sticks & Stuff’s winning bid totaled $10,155.25, according to Town Administrator Dean Bloch. The project consists of replacing the old, heavily used countertops, sinks and faucets in the Ferry Road building, which were installed when the building was constructed in 2002.

The board approved using $7,500 of town funds to help fund the project. The Friends of the Senior Center will pay the remaining portion, according to the motion passed at the meeting.

Two other companies, RenoVaTe in New Haven and Williamstown’s Poulin Lumber, also submitted bids for the project.