The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, May 30, 2003


Four-way stop rescinded Town explores alternate traffic controls at Acton & West

At their May 20 meeting the Board of Selectmen retracted an earlier decision to install a four-way stop on the corner of Acton and West Streets.

Earlier this year, a group of West Street residents with young children submitted a letter to the Selectmen requesting that the town explore installing speed bumps (or "speed humps," a less severe bump) on West Street. In the letter, they outlined their concerns about the heavy traffic flow and offered evidence of speed humps installed on a road in Lincoln for a similar situation. Police Chief Dave Galvin and DPW Superintendent Gary Davis reportedly went to Lincoln to observe the effectiveness of this method of traffic control, and instead recommended that a four-way stop sign be installed at the intersection of West and Acton Streets. The West Street residents were notified only a few days before the scheduled installation and they reacted in horror, effectively delaying the four-way stop with a last-minute call to Chief Galvin. Galvin informed them, however, that he cannot undo the decision to install the four-way stop · only the Selectmen have that authority.

Heidi Harring spoke for the West Street residents attending the meeting. "I live next to this intersection, where 600-700 cars per hour pass by during rush hour," she related. "Because our house is old, and, as a result, is situated closer to the road, we are concerned that the increased traffic noise will make a loud morning and evening. Rush hour traffic routinely starts well before 6 a.m." Harring vividly described the effect of hundreds of cars stopping in front of her house and then accelerating down the West Street straightaway with screeching tires and associated air pollution. Other West Street residents pictured lines of cars backed up to Route 225. A similar effect has occurred at the four-way stop on Concord Street at Barrett's Mill Road, where cars can back up to Middlesex School on a typical morning commute. "We would prefer that nothing be done rather than have a four-way stop sign," she concluded.

Chair Doug Stevenson admitted that, "My inclination is to retract the decision about the stop sign." The Selectmen agreed and voted unanimously to reconsider the situation, to not install the four-way stop, and to study speed humps and other alternatives more vigorously. Their first step will be a meeting with Police Chief and the DPW Superintendent.

2003 The Carlisle Mosquito