considers 30 mph speed limit
By STEPHEN BEALE
Union Leader Correspondent
Fast drivers beware: the town may reduce the speed limit on town roads to 30 miles per hour unless otherwise posted.
The board of selectmen held a public hearing Tuesday
night on the change, which has been proposed by the highway safety committee. A second hearing is scheduled for April 21.
Half a dozen residents supported the lower speed limit. “People just naturally seem to exceed the speed,” said Tom Kiander, a resident of east Goffstown. “They push every time. If it’s 30 miles per hour, they just seem to think they can go faster.”
The speed limit would be lowered further to 25 miles on some stretches of road: Center Street between Tibbetts Hill Road and Tirrell Hill Road and Main Street between Mountain Road and High Street. Some residents said the limit should be dropped even further—to 20 miles—for dead-end streets.
The new limits would apply to only town, not state roads, where speeds of 40 to 45 miles are allowed. For town roads the limit is 35 in rural areas and 30 in compact, residential areas, according to Michael French, who retired as police chief last week.
French said drivers would have more time to react at lower speeds and crashes would not be as severe. He said citizen requests for signs or lights are often related to speed, adding that the highway safety committee has received more complaints in recent years and also has observed more crashes.
“Reducing the speed limit essentially allows for safe passage through the community, not necessarily quick passage,” French said. “The highway safety committee and the Police Department has always maintained that safety was first and foremost.
At the slower speeds, it would take an additional 1.17 minutes from the center of Goffstown on Goffstown Back Road to the Manchester city line, according to French.
A few residents were not for the change. Randy Cheyne is a regular walker, runner, and biker. He told selectmen he was more worried about drivers going 45 or 50 miles per hour than 35. He said a lower speed should be targeted to those areas where it is really needed. Otherwise, a blanket change, he said, would lead to the Police Department writing more tickets, but not necessarily more safety.
Ruth Gage, a member of the highway safety committee, said the new ordinance would still have an impact on drivers who cruise at 45 to 50 miles. Under the change, she said people who typically go about 10 miles over the limit would slow down to 35.
Ray Taber, another resident, said there were many places in town where there was no question a lower limit was necessary, but he said Wallace Road and Goffstown Back Road should be able to handle 35 miles per hour.
Reproduced by the Goffstown