KITTERY, Maine — Following a petition that garnered more than 40 resident and business owner signatures coalesced by a push from a town councilor, the town will place a formal request to Maine Department of Transportation to reduce the posted speed limit on State Road to 25 mph.
Councilor Charles Denault was a strong proponent for the petition submitted in June that sought a consistent and safe speed on State Road, which is currently posted as 35 mph between Newmarch Street and the Memorial Circle. In Denault’s report to council, he noted the average speed on State Road has consistently been in excess of 45 mph and even with limited police patrol, speed radar trailers and strobed crosswalks, a large amount of motorists do not obey the speed limit.
“The road is heavily traveled,” Denault said. “It is a major hub from New Hampshire to Maine, and Maine back to New Hampshire. There’s a lot of pedestrians now, we have sidewalks up and down that road.”
In contrast, Denault noted the Route 1 Bypass is four lanes, featuring turning lanes, and is posted at 35 mph. “The residents on this road have clearly articulated their frustrations,” he said.
The petition with 44 signatures argued the portion of State Road currently posted at 35 mph has more residences than any other section of the road.
“The main reason for this request is the public safety of all the local residents, children and citizens who travel or live on State Road,” the petition stated. “There are many blind driveways that enter State Road as well as the local area has changed dramatically over the years. All roads leading into State Road are currently posted at 25 mph.”
The petition stated the speed limit reduction would also remedy noise issues caused by motorists. Residents cited the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials Standard that a 35 mph speed limit is too high for proper viewing and stopping distances based on the driveways, intersections and topography.
Town Councilor Jeff Thomson said there are 60 road cuts on the .9 miles of State Road posted at 35 mph.
“It certainly seems odd to me that you have a higher speed limit where you have more ways to enter and exit a roadway,” he said. “That particular stretch now is so different. The deciding factor is the residents and the business owners on this stretch wants this.”
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