Downtown Brattleboro (Reformer file photo)
Downtown Brattleboro (Reformer file photo)
Tuesday June 11, 2013

BRATTLEBORO -- The town has released a draft traffic calming plan to help residents get more involved in addressing dangerous road conditions around town.

David Gartenstein, the Selectboard representative on the Traffic Safety Committee, said the committee has been putting the document together for about five months to give residents a better tool for reporting areas of town that deserve more attention.

"The Traffic Safety Committee wanted to establish a mechanism for how concerned citizens can present issues about traffic hazards to the town rather than just have them come in ad hoc," said Gartenstein. "The plan is based on models that have been successful in other municipalities."

Brattleboro had three deaths attributed to vehicle-pedestrian collisions between November 2011 and March 2012, as well as a number of injury related incidents, and Gartenstein said the committee has been taking a number of steps to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety around town.

The plan has been posted on the town's website, and the committee is asking for comments on the draft plan before the Selectboard formally votes to approve the plan.

The plan gives citizens more information on how they can make reports, but it also formalizes the way the town will respond to those reports in the future.

All requests for traffic calming measures will go through the Department of Public Works, and then the town manager will forward requests on to the Traffic Safety Committee for consideration.

According to the plan, the town will continue to work to come up with the funding needed to address the issue. The funding will help pay for traffic counters and portable radar devices to help collect data on areas that require more attention.

Though the town makes it clear that some requests for increased improvements will be impossible due to budget constraints.

The plan also seeks to improve the interdepartmental communication and education surrounding the issue.

Under the new plan the Brattleboro Police Department will also be required to respond to all requests for increased enforcement within 60 days of receiving a completed Safety Action Request Form.

"We are aware there are traffic safety concerns all over town," Gartenstein said. "There is a substantial, ongoing effort to address those, and this is an effort to establish a formal way to get citizens more involved."

The plan, and a survey outline, are on the town's web site: www.brattleboro.org.

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at 802-254-2311, ext. 279, or hwtisman@reformer.com. Follow Howard on Twitter @HowardReformer.