David Saladino and Mark Hamelin of VHB consultants presented options to curb speeds and address parking needs in the village of Warren at a December 7 select board meeting.
VHB led a walking tour of the village on November 6, along with community members and members of the select board. Based on their findings and conversations with community members, VHB presented several options to address concerns.
VHB outlined their goals as providing short-term solutions to reduce speed on Brook Road and the south section of Main Street, and longer-term sustainable solutions for addressing speed in the village and maintaining the character of the village. According to a speed study, roughly 85% of vehicles travel in the village at 35 miles per hour (the average is 29 miles per hour), which is posted at 25 miles per hour. “We certainly saw speeds that exceeded the posted 25 miles per hour,” Saladino said, noting that speeds tended to increase on Brook Road.
Another issue that was discussed is parking. Though there is a park and ride near the village, without a clear pedestrian path to the village, it is underused. Saladino suggested putting a sidewalk between the park and ride and the village to encourage more people to park there.
Saladino presented several options to address speeding, parking and pedestrian walkway concerns, including restriping lanes with increased shoulders to accommodate pedestrians and cyclists. Increased lighting and new crosswalks are other potential solutions to make the road safer for pedestrians. Saladino also mentioned creating one-way alternating traffic on the bridge over Freeman Brook, expanding pavers on Main Street, cutting back trees and brush on School Road to create a better sight line, and putting in a mini-roundabout at the intersection of Brook Road and Main Street. He also mentioned creating better signage at the trailhead in the village to alert drivers and encourage them to slow down, as well as the possibility of a crosswalk at the trail head.
If a mini-roundabout is put in, with a diameter of 55 feet, there would be signage noting it as vehicles would approach. Saladino did say it would be “not as obvious as a traditional roundabout. We haven’t totally thought through how pedestrians would navigate that.” Some select board members and residents voiced concern about tractor trailers making it through a small roundabout.
Restriping lines and putting up signs, barriers and/or speed bumps to reduce speed would be relatively low cost, Saladino said, but could have a big impact. “There’s a lot of money out there right now,” he said, including American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds, federal stimulus and downtown revitalization funds, which might be used to improve lighting, among other projects.
The greatest areas of concern VHB found were the bridge over Freeman Brook, the intersection of Brook Road and Main Street, and the intersection of Flat Iron and Main Street. VHB will put together a plan for taking action at these sites, such as restriping the roads, creating better signage, and adding crosswalks.