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Roundabout is not the answer for Ayer Road

I’m disappointed to learn that town leaders are still pursuing plans for a roundabout on Ayer Road.

A roundabout won’t reduce truck traffic, and won’t address speeding complaints throughout town, let alone reduce traffic speeds along the full length of our commercial district. The present speed limit of 40 mph makes it difficult to pull into fast-moving traffic. On state roads in nearby towns I see there are speed limits of 25 to 35 mph. Proponents argue that a roundabout is a “calming” measure, but I find them agitating, and I’m especially inconvenienced by unnecessary ones. I could, however, justify a roundabout on Ayer Road if there were a development or Cisco-sized project planned for that area, which warrants one.

The driver in the Ayer Road fatality that has been mentioned (“Ayer Road traffic circle analysis: Increased safety, but at a cost,” Oct. 8, 2020) was experiencing a medical emergency and drifted into traffic. That tragic event could have happened anywhere, but might also have been less serious if the speed limit were 30 mph on Ayer Road.

Safe and reasonable speeds not only make driving safer, but increase safety for bicyclists and pedestrians. This couldn’t be more important than it is right now, when we are seeing more people on our streets walking, biking, and running.

As I drive through our neighboring towns, the police are highly visible, which has the strongest effect on my own attention to how fast I’m driving. I only need to get a warning or a ticket once to make me acutely aware of my speed when I drive on that road again.

We should be having a serious and comprehensive discussion about how we, as a community, plan to limit the speed of vehicles on our roads. We don’t mind sharing the road, but we don’t want to be driven off our roads by careless drivers.

If you agree that we should not be spending precious taxpayer dollars on a frivolous roundabout, then please contact our Select Board and let them know how you feel, or one day you will find yourself driving in circles.

Denis Wagner
Still River Road 

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