RIDOT rejects crosswalk, approves speed decrease by Burrillville High School

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BURRILLVILLE – The speed limit on East Avenue by Burrillville High School will be decreased from 25 to 20 in the coming weeks following a request for review of the issue by the Burrillville Town Council.

But some councilors expressed displeasure with the decision, arguing that more needs to be done to decrease speed by the school’s entrance.

“This is totally unacceptable,” said Councilor Raymond Trinque. “The fact is, I think we’re going to have to do something ourselves. It isn’t going to get better until it gets worse in the COVID school year. It’s a mess there.”

Councilors had hoped to get a crosswalk put in on the busy road, but a letter from the State Traffic Commission notes that a 12-hour count found that on March 4, there were six pedestrian crossings, far less than the 20-per-peak- hour required by the Federal Highway Administration for crosswalk creation.

The commission did approve a five-mile-per-hour decrease in July, noting that a safety evaluation found that vehicles travel an average of 36 to 40 miles-per-hour past the school.

The letter, addressed to Rep. David Place, who worked on the issue, noted that two accidents occurred by the entrance to the school between Jan. 2017 and Dec. 2019. The speed limit decrease, it states, is, “based on school zone speed limits typically being set 10-miles-per-hour below the normal posted speed limit.” The state department will also add school crossing signs and end school zone signs prior to school opening.

The communication recommended that the town install portable speed feedback and flashing school zone signs.

Trinque noted that neighbors in the area have complained that traffic drives up on their lawns to get through.

“That’s their number one concern and I can’t say it’s not a valid concern,” said Counclior Donald Fox.

Councilor asked Town Manager Michael Wood to have Col. Stephen Lynch look into what additional measures can be taken locally.

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