Brattleboro addresses pedestrian safety on Putney Road

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BRATTLEBORO — Safety concerns have led to a letter calling for improvements to the streetscape of Putney Road sooner rather than later.

"Brattleboro's Select Board, Traffic Safety Committee, staff and citizens are desperately worried that a pedestrian or bicyclist will be killed or seriously injured attempting to use the portion of Putney Road in Brattleboro that is under VTrans' jurisdiction," a draft letter from Town Manager Peter Elwell to Vermont Agency of Transportation Secretary Joe Flynn says. "Facilities for pedestrians and bicyclists are inadequate on this roadway, which is busy every day with private motorists, commercial vehicles, public transportation, bicycle riders and pedestrians."

Tuesday's Select Board meeting agenda includes a potential motion to approve the letter, which expresses disappointment in recommendations from a road-safety audit performed by VTrans earlier this year.

The state's suggested course would "delay protective actions until the major improvement project that is planned for this segment between 2024 and 2026," the letter says. Sidewalks and four new roundabouts are part of that proposal.

If the letter is approved, the town would urge the state to narrow both northbound and southbound travel lanes and shift the roadway alignment to the east as far possible between Veterans' Bridge and Town Crier Drive; paint white hash marks on the west side shoulder between the bridge and Town Crier Drive; install a guardrail on the west side between the bridge and Town Crier Drive to protect pedestrians by separating the "goat path" from the traveled roadway; improve the "goat path" with a "low-cost treatment" such as hard packed gravel; install one or two crosswalks by Town Crier as proposed in the audit; modify the intersection striping and signalization to allow a dedicated "walk" cycle at the intersection of Putney Road by the Hannaford Plaza and Colonial Motel; and conduct a speed-limit study to find the lowest speed of travel justified. The letter asks that these projects occur "as soon as possible."

A 57-year-old woman was seriously injured after being struck by a pick-up truck while walking on Putney Road in October. The recommendations outlined in the letter come from a Traffic Safety Committee meeting on Nov. 16.

Also on Tuesday, the Select Board will receive an update on final stages of construction at Central Fire Station and overall finances for the police/fire facilities project. Continuing budget talks for fiscal year 2019, the board also will discuss the fire department's request to replace the aerial ladder truck.

Reach staff writer Chris Mays at cmays@reformer.com, at

@CMaysBR on Twitter and

802-254-2311, ext. 273.

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