FREEPORT

Following outcry from nearly 200 South Freeport residents concerned with the volume and speed of traffic in their neighborhood, the town and citizens are coming together to make safety improvements.

Town Engineer Adam Bliss outlined potential traffic calming measures to the town council on Tuesday. Those include narrowing South Freeport Road from 11 to 10 feet, widening the shoulder from four to five feet, and adding an additional speed table near the École Française du Maine bilingual school.

The cost of such changes will come from the existing budget that is apportioned for road paving, Bliss said.

“We’re closing the loop on a nice public process,” Bliss said of the community input, adding the traffic committee focused on three areas to reduce speeding in the area: education, enforcement and engineering.

Law enforcement and town officials were alerted to the potentially dangerous traffic problems in the area by concerned neighbors.

Resident Bob Knecht had described the area as very active, with restaurants, a church, schools and a marina. People often jog or walk their dogs along the street. However, he said speeds along the road, which range from 15 to 25 mph, were often ignored, as were stop signs.

Knecht said a speed trap had captured 2,000 cars traveling daily through the four-way intersection of South Freeport Road and Pine and Main streets.

“It was blatantly dangerous,” Knecht said.

He and other residents contacted Freeport Police Chief Susan Nourse to discuss their observations. Petitioners say police measures and the addition of a speed table have significantly improved conditions.

Bliss said that the improvements are due to citizen initiative, adding the process to improve road safety is a good example of how the town and residents can come together to work toward solutions.

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