Board considers crosswalk, traffic calming for Ferry Road

A new analysis by the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission recommends a suite of traffic-calming measures for a stretch of Ferry Road between Greenbush Road and the railroad tracks. The Charlotte Selectboard has gotten started on implementation.

On July 8, the board approved the installation of four new signposts that will serve primarily to alert eastbound and westbound drivers of pedestrian and cycling activity in the area. They’ll draw attention to a new access point for the Village Loop path on the south side of the road, where the Charlotte Trails Committee oversaw the construction of a boardwalk last fall, and instruct drivers not to try to pass the car in front of them until they’re clear of the West Village.

A new speed limit also appears likely for what is currently a 40-mph zone. In advance of its next meeting, the board expects to warn an ordinance amendment that would prohibit drivers from exceeding 35, as advised by the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission, though the possibility of an even stricter 25-mph limit also entered the discussion on Monday. According to data from May, vehicles travel at an average of 43.2 mph in the area.

The town of Charlotte owns a mobile radar cart with an electronic sign that can tell drivers how fast they’re going. Not currently in use, it’ll soon come to Ferry Road at the board’s request.

The selectboard will continue to consider the Chittenden County Regional Planning Commission’s other ideas, such as the installation of median islands or pavement markings that would implicitly or explicitly urge drivers to slow down. The analysis also suggested widening Ferry Road’s fog lines, which Kelly Devine characterized as “a longer-term project.”

At the same meeting, the board fielded a citizen-initiated proposal for a crosswalk between the Charlotte Senior Center and the post office on Ferry Road.

“The clients of the senior center are elderly,” said Carl Herzog, the treasurer for the Friends of the Senior Center. “Crossing the road is difficult for some people, and they do tend to come over to the post office.”

The board declined for now to take action, citing a need for more information.

“We would need some form of engineering judgment indicating that this crosswalk would have some measure of increase in pedestrian safety,” town administrator Nathaniel Bareham said.

Charlotte’s roads were the topic of the day. A site visit on Spear Street, where a section of blacktop has deteriorated on an embankment between Carpenter Road and Lime Kiln Road, preceded the meeting.

“A portion of the road is sloughing off to a point that’s now pretty dangerous,” board chair Jim Faulkner said. “This is an emergency. We need to take care of it.”

Cones currently mark the saggy pavement. A planned repair will shift 500 feet of Spear Street slightly eastward, away from Mud Hollow Brook.

Road commissioner Junior Lewis couldn’t yet offer a timetable or a price tag for the project. By his description, it will require the relocation of a guardrail, as well as one or two of Green Mountain Power’s utility poles, and the hiring of flaggers to direct one-way traffic in the meantime.