The speed limit on all side and subdivision streets in town has been lowered from 35 mph to 25 mph.
At the Oct. 18 Select Board meeting, the vote was 3-0 with two members absent to lower the speed limit on 42 roads.
Board Chairman Joshua Terenzini said the matter had been on the board’s mind for several weeks, ever since four children from the Hitzel Terrace neighborhood came to a meeting with a petition asking the board to lower the speed limit on their street.
“We as a board have pursued the idea of lowering the speed limit to 25 on all subdivisions and side streets that are currently at 35,” Terenzini said at the Oct. 18 meeting. “Those kids made a pretty appealing argument.”
Rutland Town Road Commissioner Byron Hathaway said there are plenty of signs on hand to make the change.
“I think I mentioned it a few years ago that all of our subdivisions should be posted at 25 miles per hour and not piecemeal like we have been when residents come in to ask, and we react,” he said.
Selectwoman Sharon Russell said people tend to drive faster than the limit whatever the speed is set at, so a posted limit of 25 might mean drivers will go 30 or 35, which is better than them going 45 mph.
“I think we should lower them. We’ve got kids on (those streets),” she said.
At the board’s Oct. 30 meeting, the matter was discussed once again, briefly, as the board had to sign papers making the lowered speed limit official. Board members who were absent at the Oct. 18 meeting supported the change.
“I’ve talked to a host of other towns, and this is what they’re doing,” said Selectman Joe Denardo.
“It’s common sense. It’s safety,” Terenzini said. “There’s nothing more important this board does than keep citizens safe.”
In other road-related business at the Oct. 30 meeting, Selectman J.P. Faignant, who is also the town’s health officer, said he had drafted a letter to send to 16 residents telling them to remove portable basketball hoops being in the town’s right of way.
“They could subject our plows to damage because they are in our right of way,” he said. “We’re asking them to move them a minimum of 5 feet from the paved surface of the road. That’ll give plenty of clearance so our plow trucks won’t get jammed up in the basketball hoops.”
Hathaway said the hoops can’t be in the town’s right of way because of town ordinance and state law.
Terenzini was concerned this would affect fences that have been in place for years.
Denardo said probably not, as fences are more permanent than basketball hoops and tend to be out of the way of plows.
“We’re talking about structures that are movable. They’re not permanent … but we don’t want to encourage anybody to put something that’s going to make it unsafe for kids to play,” he said.
There was discussion about the wording of Faignant’s letter. Board members didn’t wish to give anyone the impression there’s an appropriate season for children to be playing near roads. Faignant said he’d amend the letter to reflect the board’s wishes.