PLYMPTON – Plympton Selectmen met Monday night and had some upset neighbors before them. The citizens were frustrated that speed limit signs were raised in some areas on Main Street, Center Street, and Parsonage Road.
Scott Ripley, new Highway Superintendent, came before the board to explain the situation.
“We’re getting a pretty pricey job done for free,” he said, explaining that MassDOT was upgrading street signs throughout the town at no cost. But, on the flip side, the speed limits, which are set by the state on both town and state roads, are being adjusted as well.
The project entails the replacement of signs, guardrails, and new line striping in Plympton, Rochester and Middleboro. Plympton is getting about $250,000 in free work from the state, according to Selectmen Chairman John Traynor.
The explanation did nothing to assuage residents’ concerns. Although they did not personally attack Ripley, he was certainly in the hot seat as question after question came from residents and selectmen.
The scene was a bit of a free-for-all, as Traynor did not ask residents to identify themselves, and people, in their enthusiasm, talked over one another.
Ripley, to much laughter, stated that the process to change a speed limit is for the town, at its own expense, to do a speed study, and then submit it to the state for final approval.
He said that the previous superintendent had signed off on the changes, but that the document was very confusing to read and about 90-pages long.
Vicki Alberti, of Main St., asked if the neighbors can individually complain. “Right now, we’re [Center Street] faster than Route 58.”
Ripley replied, “Yes, but the legality is the state sets the speed limits.”
He and the board later encouraged residents to call or write letters to MassDot Division 5, the division overseeing the work.
Selectman Mark Russo suggested that some of the areas were “thickly settled,” and would thus be subject to lower speed limits.
“My understanding of thickly settled is 200-feet between houses,” he said.
Traynor also brought up the fundamental speed limit warrant article that failed in Halifax. He wants to talk to Charlie Seelig, Halifax Town Administrator, in further detail about what such a proposal entails.
The Halifax article would have set a basic speed limit throughout the town, unless otherwise marked, which is not uncommon in area communities, but failed at their last Special Town Meeting.
Another audience member asked if trucks could be restricted on Main Street. Traynor said that he’d look into it.
One resident read all of the speed limits along her stretch of road. “They don’t make any sense…It doesn’t pass the silly test!” she exclaimed.
In other news:
• The board signed the warrant for the state election.
• The board directed the Town Administrator to send a memo to the Planning Board, alerting them to develop a marijuana zoning by-law for the town before the next Town Meeting.
• There are openings on the Finance Committee and the Planning Board.
• Town House will be closed Monday, Oct. 8 in observance of Columbus Day.
• The board next meets on Monday, Oct. 15 at 6:30 p.m. For the two hours prior to that meeting, from 4:30-6:30 p.m., selectmen and other town officials will welcome the public to an open house at Town House to give input on the “Master Plan” for the Town House Campus.