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Town putting a stop to Maple Street speeders
RUMFORD -- For years, as a speedy shortcut through the neighborhood between Lincoln and Maine avenues has created a dangerous situation for residents, motorists and numerous people who walk there.
Residents on Maple Street, frustrated with the situation, signed a petition requesting the town place two stop signs to help alleviate the problem. On Thursday, the Board of Selectmen not only agreed with the petitioners, but determined that five stop signs are needed.
Resident and petitioner Harry Powers told the board about two such potential disasters he witnessed recently.
The first involved two young girls riding skateboards who rode through an intersection into the middle of Maple Street. Had someone been coming, they wouldn't have had time to slow down, he said, to avoid killing or injuring the children.
In the second incident, he said he saw two young women driving 40 mph down the street, and then saw a man behind them doing “at least 80 mph, trying to catch up to them.”
Powers said speeders know when police are monitoring speeds on the road and as soon as they leave, they resume speeding.
Resident and petitioner Kirk Thurston wanted another 25 mph speed limit sign added, saying the one that's there isn't enough.
“As soon as people come off Lincoln Avenue, they put the pedal down,” he said. That's why he wants a second speed limit sign erected between the 415 to 409 block on Maple Street.
Selectman Jeremy Volkernick said, noting that Maple Street between Lincoln and Maine avenues is only three-tenths of a mile, suggested replacing the yield sign on Maple Street at Maine Avenue with a stop sign, making the lone speed limit sign at the corner of Maple Street and Oxford Avenue more visible, and investing in speed bumps instead of stop signs at Oxford and Essex avenues because “stop signs are not going to stop speeding.”
However, Town Manager Carlo Puiia noted that speed bumps would take a lot of abuse with snowplows in the winter.
Selectman Jolene Lovejoy said, “It's a very dangerous street” especially in the wintertime when snowbanks are piled high on either side and people park along both sides.
“It's a disaster waiting to happen as is where you turn onto Maine Avenue. That's also a disaster waiting to happen," she said.
After more discussion, Selectman Jeff Sterling then amended his motion for two stop signs to three.
Later, it was amended to install five stop signs. Two will be for each direction on Maple Street at Essex and Oxford avenues and the fifth will replace the yield sign at the Maine Avenue intersection.
"With the stop signs, at least they will slow down, even if they roll through the stop signs," said Powers.
“Thank you for your concerns. You will get your stop signs," said Board Chairman Greg Buccina.