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Complaints prompt officials to keep an eye on speeding

As students and their families look to the start of a new school year, those driving in the Broad Cove subdivision are also being reminded to stay within the posted speed limit.

The reminder is associated not so much with back-to-school as it is with a yearslong neighborhood concern about speeding.

Broad Cove Road, specifically near the first bend entering the subdivision, was one of four areas studied by VHB Engineering Consultants in June, 2017. The study was part of the town's response to complaints about excessive speed in Broad Cove and on Fowler Road (at Fenway Road), Mitchell Road (at Meadowview Lane) and Shore Road (at Ocean View Road).

Data collected between June 15-21 indicated weekday drivers were speeding at all four locations on average, but not enough to trigger action by the town.

"The average 24-hour speeds on all four of the study-area roadways did not exceed the posted speed limit by more than 5 mph," said Tony Grande, director of transportation engineering with VBH, at the Aug. 14 meeting of the Town Council. "Based on the town's traffic-calming policy, (the data) suggest that Shore Road, Fowler Road and Mitchell Road are not eligible for passive control measures," Grande said.

All three are considered connector roads - intended to move traffic efficiently - and are therefore eligible for only "passive controls," such as speed-notification sign boards and neighborhood mailings; and only if average speeding is more than 5 mph.

Broad Cove Road, however, is readily eligible for passive measures as outlined in the policy.

For now, those measures include a letter sent to residents in mid-August, said Town Manager Matthew Sturgis. "As you recall from the (June 5) workshop with the residents, the primary source of speeding within Broad cove is Broad Cove residents," Sturgis told members of the council. "We sent a letter to all the residents in Broad Cove this week just reminding them to be safe and to stay within the speed limit," he said.

Speed-recording devices were placed on the roads as near the areas of complaint as possible, but not so near natural turns where drivers tend to slow, Grande said. Average-speed calculations included data collected from Tuesday-Thursday during the test period.

At the council's Aug. 14 meeting, Shore Road resident Chris Straw said that calculations should have included data from weekends, when he said cars speed to Fort Williams Park.

Grant funded study

A grant from the Portland Area Comprehensive Transportation System provided $4,000 of the $5,000 cost of the VHB study. Sturgis, in an email after the meeting, said the Town Council's consensus at their June workshop was to pursue the PACTS grant. "The thought of having a third party perform the study was considered a good approach as the Police Department had historically done their own studies in the past," Sturgis said. "This analysis confirmed much of what the Cape PD had found previously."

The town has implemented passive traffic-calming measures, such as increased police patrols, since the policy's adoption in 2007, but Sturgis said he believed this was the first execution of a neighborhood mailing.