Local News

Traffic studies scheduled in Chittenden

By Brett Yates

Next month, the Rutland Regional Planning Commission will undertake a series of traffic engineering studies in Chittenden to facilitate potential changes to local speed limits.

In January, the Chittenden Select Board revealed that the town could not legally enforce its traffic laws: first, because the signatures on its traffic ordinance had not been properly notarized; and, then, because officials had set speed limits in several places without following state-mandated procedures.

The new ordinance, signed on March 14, will go into effect on May 13, though the town has yet to remove all of the improper 25-mile-per-hour signposts in 35-mile-per-hour areas. Once they’ve come down, however, they may soon need to go back up, pending the results of the upcoming traffic studies, which, once completed, will give officials the right to reduce speed limits on roads where they had previously done so erroneously.

A traffic engineering study should, according to the Vermont Agency of Transportation “carefully consider the characteristics of each road, its surrounding features, and other factors.” It also involves “monitoring a minimum of 100 vehicles and identifying that speed under which most (85%) vehicles are traveling,” with the assumption that “a posted speed limit near this value is safe and reasonable.”

“I’ve been working with Devon Neary in the Regional Planning Commission, and the speed test devices are going to be going up in the five designated areas sometime in May. So he’ll do that data, and then we’ll schedule a meeting to talk about what the data said,” Chittenden Emergency Management Director Jan Sotirakis told the Select Board on April 11.

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