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Truck Exclusion Back on the Table for Chestnut Street in North Reading

The Board of Selectmen are rethinking their decision on speed tables for Chestnut Street.

The Board of Selectmen approved a truck exclusion for Chestnut Street Monday night after reconsidering their decision regarding installing .

Due to a problem with truck traffic, residents on Chestnut and New streets submitted a  in July of 2010, and the Board of Selectmen approved the installation of four speed tables on Chestnut Street as a solution for the issue in May. 

According to  (DPW) Director Dick Carnevale, the speed tables slow down speed, but do not help traffic volume or deter trucks. Carnevale discussed alternative options with the selectmen Monday night:  

  1. Education and enforcement, no physical devices will be installed. Monitor and evaluate the area every 30 days.
  2. Education and enforcement, plus installation of a temporary island near the park and one speed table in the vicinity of the crest of Chestnut street and monitor and evaluate the area every 30 days. 
  3. This option is the same as option number 2, but also includes a second speed table installed in the vicinity of the DPW garage.
  4. Education and enforcement plus the installation of four speed tables, and to monitor and evaluate the area every 30 days.

There is also the option of going ahead with the truck exclusion, which according to Carnevale would take four weeks or less. He mentioned that getting approval for the truck exclusion does not mean that the town has to use it.

"Just because we get the truck exclusion doesn’t mean we have to implement it," Carnevale said.

When submitting the application for the truck exclusion, the town has to submit an alternate route, within the community, in order for it to be approved. The alternate would be Route 62 to Haverhill Street.

If the truck exclusion is approved, truck route signs will be posted on Route 62 and Haverhill Street and truck exclusion signs will be posted on Chestnut Street.

Acting Fire Chief William Warnock was pleased with the board's decision to reconsider the speed tables.

"The fire department has never been for anything that will slow us down," he said, referring to the speed tables.

The selectmen voted in favor of the truck exclusion, and the new recommended route for trucks will be Route 62 to Haverhill Street.

"We plan to submit the heavy truck exclusion request as soon as possible," Carnevale said. 

Joe Veno June 21, 2012 at 12:56 PM
It makes no sence to send all the truck traffic to Rt. 62 in front of the schools and to a very busy intersection. Mr. Carnevale stated, There is also the option of going ahead with the truck exclusion, which according to Carnevale would take four weeks or less. He mentioned that getting approval for the truck exclusion does not mean that the town has to use it. If the town is not going do it why apply for it? I am sure the neighbors were not happy tio hear this.
Ron Quinan June 22, 2012 at 05:48 PM
Has there been consideration given to how this will impact the already-dangerous Haverhill St - Chestnut St intersection? Re-routing the truck traffic south down Haverhill St from Rt 62 will mean the trucks are rolling unencumbered through that intersection - likely at a good clip seeing as they would be coming downhill.
Maureen Vacca June 23, 2012 at 12:54 PM
@Ron...I spoke to that concern at the BOS meeting and my words fell on deaf ears. All 5 selectman voted Rt 62 (schools, buses, playground) to Haverhill (dangerous roadway & intersection) to be the alternate route without informing the residents on Park & Haverhill & inviting them to the meeting(s). The law requires a public hearing as part of the application to MassDOT, wonder why everyone affected wasn't notified of the meeting? (posting an agenda in the newspaper is NOT notifying residents). Safety and fairness FOR ALL RESIDENTS never came into play by anyone involved including DPW, Public Safety, TA, BOS, neighbors requesting the truck exclusion. The problems of one neighborhood are just being imposed on another (unsuspecting) neighborhood. It appears that out of frustration the path of least resistance was chosen...leadership at its worse. I am writing to the MassDOT in opposition to the towns application. I encourage anyone that agrees to do that same ASAP. Once those 1500 trucks/week (per the traffic study) are rolling it will be too late. Maureen & Jim Vacca 118 Chestnut St.
Ron Quinan June 23, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Maureen, thank you for your note and speaking about it at the meeting. I would like to send a letter to MassDOT as well. Can you post the contact information for where you sent your letter?
Joe Veno June 23, 2012 at 11:02 PM
Ron & Maureen. Unless the rules have changerd the town does not have to hold a public hearing on a truck exclusion. That may have changed in the past 10 years I am not sure. But along with a letter or email anyone who is opposed to this should call Mass Highway District 4 office in Arlington 781-641-8200 and ask for the traffic enginering division. It is importanrt that anyone who is against this call them and be heard if they get several calls on this they will pay attention to the issue. Also back it up with an email or letter. They can tell you who to send the letter to. I think that would be the head of District 4 but I do not know who that is right now.. The only thing this restriction will do is put all the truck traffic that is effected in the area of the schools and into one of the busiest intersections in town during rush hour.and the times school childern are going to and getting out of school. This restriction will NOT effect any trucks that are making a delivery to any resident on the streets that are restricted or any trucks that are delivering or picking up at Monyhans or the DPW. If the residents that want this think ALL the trucks are going away, that is not going to happen with a truck exclusion.
Joe Veno June 23, 2012 at 11:12 PM
Ron & Maureen and anyone concerned about this issue. If you want to send a letter to Mass Highway District 4 which oversees North Reading on the issue here is the address. Mass Highway Director Patricia Leavenworth (Not sure if she is still the Director) 519 Appleton St. Arlington Mass. 02476
Maclen July 07, 2012 at 11:10 PM
Just submit the application to MassDOT and get over NDMS (not down my street) Chestnut street exclusion is what was requested in the first place, it's going to happen. Chestnut/Haverhill street intersection is a nightmare that needs to be fixed ASAP.
Maclen July 07, 2012 at 11:21 PM
After my wife was rear ended twice while stopped lawfully yielding to traffic already in the rotary within three days at bottom of exit 40 north where it enters the 129 rotary. I Contacted Patricia Leavenworth two years ago about the problems with the 129 rotary down by Camp Curtis. People ignoring the yield signs and the high number of resulting accidents. Her reply was all the signs are in place and there are no problems in that area to her knowledge. Guess the insurance companies here in Mass. don't mind paying claims over and over for dangerous hopelessy broken rotaries. So don't get your hopes up.
Joe Veno July 07, 2012 at 11:24 PM
Don't be so sure of that Tom.
Joe Veno July 07, 2012 at 11:30 PM
Ron I would suggest if you do not want this to happen go to the Selectmens meeting July 9th and voice your opinion.
Barry July 09, 2012 at 01:28 AM
Isn't it funny that the Selectmen go out of there way to placate a few disgruntled folks who live on Chestnut Street, at the expense of the safety, well-being and general well-being of people who live on Haverhill or happen to use the streets in the vicinity of the Park/Haverhill intersection (including parents, teachers and students), while they basically ignore the complaints of the folks who live near the "Great" American Tavern?
Barry July 09, 2012 at 01:29 AM
"their". Darn auto-correct.
Mary B July 09, 2012 at 02:02 PM
I am totally against the truck exclusion on Chestnut Street. If the Highway Dept. approves, there will be more traffic and make the intersection at the center of town even more dangerous. In addition, any individual who has even driven a tractor trailer, or even observed a tractor trailer navigating city streets already knows that it will be quite difficult for the tractor trailer to make a left hand turn from Haverill to Park Strret. I 100% agree with Barry. What is so much attention being given to the few residents of Chestnut Street - who when they bought their homes must have realized it was a major thoroughfare all the while ignoring the poor residents of Pluff Avenue who were living in their homes prior to the approvals for the Great American Tavern..
Barbara Duff July 09, 2012 at 05:59 PM
Maureen, we also sent a letter to the MassDOT and we will be at the BOS meeting this evening. I have started a petition and have received many signatures, complaints and concerns as well. My husband actually spoke with many of the selectmen and they are NOT even all for it, even though they voted YES to quiet the complaining residents. The town police department is not for it either, and told me that in order for the trucks to even be able to make the turn at Ryers, either Ryers or the Batchelder will have to most likely give up some land to widen that intersection. That is our TOWN CENTER, and other more reasonable towns, like Reading, try their best to keep high traffic OUT of their town center. Not us.....we're directing even more traffic, TRUCK traffic, to go right through our town center......Not very bright!! Thanks for your comments.... Barbara and Al Duff 83 Haverhill Street
Maclen July 09, 2012 at 09:30 PM
Interesting but totally and painfully without merit examples given, when my parents moved to Chestnut (a town road) back in 1974 from park street west, the traffic was nothing like it is today. It's so bad we've been backing into our driveway for years to avoid taking our lives in our hands by all the ignorant speeders that drive by at least twice the posted (25mph) speed limit at any given time. As for the alternate routes provided to MassDOT. Although everyone refers to it as Park street, in reality it is Route 62 (a state road) that runs through the center of town as is Route 28. Even though I feel route 62 to Haverhill would be able to handle the exclusion, my choice would be down route 62 east to route 28.
Fred Chalmers July 09, 2012 at 10:42 PM
"The town police department is not for it either, and told me that in order for the trucks to even be able to make the turn at Ryers, either Ryers or the Batchelder will have to most likely give up some land to widen that intersection." Could that be why there were surveyors taking measurements there a week or two ago?
Mary B July 10, 2012 at 02:52 AM
Tom - The traffic you refer to is mostly due to the increased number of residents in town since 1974. My point is trucks are not new to Chestnut Street. Moyahan's has been there for years and the postal facility has also been on 28 for over a decade. Those would be the two main sources of trucks Sending trucks down Haverhill St to 62 is more dangerous considering the design of the intersection a very difficult turn and with two schools in the area the town is only asking for trouble. From your comment, spped is the problem not trucks If the speed is a problem, then why not petition the Selectmen to mandate extra Police and truly enforce the speed limit.

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