PLYMPTON – Scott Ridley, Plympton Highway Surveyor, was back before the Board of Selectmen Monday, Oct. 15, explaining new speed limits on several stretches of town roads and asking the board to reaffirm some rules at the transfer station.
As part of a grant from MassDOT, the state’s department of transportation, signage across Plympton is being updated at no cost to the town. But, the state is raising some speed limits as part of that process, upsetting some residents.
Ripley has been caught in the middle ever since explaining MassDOT policies.
He has previously stated that MassDOT (the state) sets speed limits, not the town. If a town wishes to change that speed limit, they have to do a speed study at their own expense, he says. The speed limit is set at a certain percentile of the speed that drivers are actually driving.
Ridley told selectmen that the Old Colony Planning Council, a regional planning agency, did such a speed study in July and August, at the far ends of Main Street. Ripley said he would find out if OCPC could do a study for all of Main Street.
Former Selectman Howard Randall was in attendance, and spoke at length about dealing with MassDOT, which he referred to under its old title “MassHighway.”
“MassHighway does what MassHighway does,” Randall said. “Where is the planning, where is the public input in all this? There is none.”
He also asked, “Where are the police? We’re not coordinating with them?”
This prompted Selectman Christine Joy to say that the board could talk to the police about stepping up enforcement of the posted speed limits. Later, the board directed Town Administrator Elizabeth Dennehy to speak with the police chief about the matter.
Selectman Mark Russo suggested that setting a “fundamental” speed limit, where the speed limit would be defined at 30 mph unless otherwise posted.
But even this default speed limit combined with increased enforcement and the speed study did not assuage Randall’s concerns.
“MassHighway could give a damn about Plympton’s rural character,” he said with frustration in his voice.
“This is not going to be a quick process,” said Ripley.
Ripley also was present to explain some rules that need to be better enforced at the transfer station, which he deferred to Art Morin, of the Board of Health, to explain.
“We need a few things reinforced,” Morin said.
He said that they wanted to make sure that each “dwelling unit,” as defined by the building code, be required to have a separate transfer station sticker, for the few apartments or two-family homes in the town.
He also noted that stickers must be permanently affixed to the rear window of the vehicle.
“Every now and then a vehicle from Halifax gets through,” he said, stating that some people tape them to their cars.
“Try getting into Duxbury with the sticker in the wrong spot,” he joked. “Not even a chance.”
The board affirmed Morin’s and Ripley’s requests.
In other news:
• Selectmen executed the contract of the selected fire chief, Stephen Silva. It is awaiting his signature.
• The board renewed the contract of Sgt. Stephen Teri. It is also awaiting his signature.
• The Plympton Fire Department’s surplus mini-pumper has been sold for $60,000.
Selectmen will next meet Monday, Oct. 29, at 6 p.m. i