May 6, 2008 
Speed limit stays at 35 mph

Union Leader Correspondent

GOFFSTOWN - Selectmen last night swiftly defeated a proposal for establishing a town-wide speed limit of 30 miles per hour.

The new ordinance, supported by the outgoing and incoming police chiefs in town, also would have lowered the limit to 25 miles on portions of Center Street and Main Street. It would not have affected state roads, such as Route 114.

Only one member of the five-person board of selectmen, Phil D’Avanza, moved to adopt the proposed ordinance. No one would second his motion, killing the motion without a vote.

Several selectmen said they did not think the public wants to lower speeds from 35 to 30 miles, especially on through roads such as Goffstown Back Road and Wallace Road. Selectman Scott Gross estimated that about 60 percent of his constituents opposed the idea.

Chairman Nick Campasano said there had been no public outcry for the change, describing it as a “solution looking for a problem.” Campasano said that since the new limit was proposed, he had tried to drive down Goffstown Back Road at 30 miles per hour as often as he could.

That speed on that road, he said, is exceedingly slow. He worried that the stricter limit would backfire, causing more unsafe driving. “It is going to prompt people to tailgate, to pass by on the double yellow line,” Campasano said. “I think you’re inviting risky behavior.

Instead, selectman John Caprio suggested that the town highway safety committee consider increasing the speed limits on portions of Wallace Road and Goffstown Back Road to 40 miles per hour.

After the vote, Sullivan said he had hoped the selectmen would approve the new ordinance, adding that the Police Department has received complaints about speeding on Goffstown Back Road, especially around the YMCA facility. He said the highway safety committee will be discussing the possibility of coming back to the selectmen with a revised version.

Selectmen last night did approve three other less-sweeping ordinances dealing with traffic around the Maple Avenue Elementary School, all three taking effect August 15, before the start of the new school year. The new rules instituted a no parking zone on Maple Avenue, barred right-turns into the school driveway, and created a three-way stop at the intersection of Maple Avenue and Smith Road.

In other business, the board voted to exempt approximately 50 properties from the new state Shoreland Protection Act, which imposes restrictions on developments on land within 250 feet of the Piscataquog River.

Gross backed the exemption for the Goffstown Village properties, saying it was conducive to economic development. Much of the discussion centered on one parcel where half the land was on the restricted side of the 250-foot line. “Why do we want to set up another hurdle for someone to develop a parcel that we want to see developed?” Gross said.

Campasano was the sole dissenter from the vote, saying that the exemption was premature. Selectman Vivian Blondeau recused herself. Her family owns several properties in the exemption area.


Reproduced by the Goffstown Residents Association.


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