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Betterment Association buys radar sign for beach

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SALISBURY — Hoping to slow people down on a heavily-traveled state road, the Salisbury Beach Betterment Association recently paid $3,200 to install a digital radar sign on North End Boulevard.

“These are solar powered and the Police Department has extra brackets so they can pop it off and move it over to the northbound lane if they want to run the radar there,” board member Ron Guilmette said. “(Police Chief Thomas Fowler) really likes it because it does a traffic count. It can tell you how fast people are going and how many cars go by everyday.”

The Salisbury Police Department installed a similar radar speed sign just outside of its Beach Road headquarters in 2016.

“That gives us a traffic count and speeds and is a good educational tool to slow people down,“ Fowler said.

North End Boulevard is a main thoroughfare for beachgoers during the summer season and runs into town from the New Hampshire border.

“There are a lot of residential neighborhoods clustered together on North End Boulevard and plenty of side streets that go all the way up to the state line,” Guilmette said. “A lot of these people have to cross North End Boulevard to get to the beach and the speed limit is posted at 40 mph. We have been talking about trying to get that reduced. State law says you’re supposed to be 30 mph in a thickly-settled neighborhood, which this definitely is.”

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation is also currently looking at repaving a good portion, if not all, of North End Boulevard, and installing the radar speed sign will help to slow drivers down, according to Guilmette.

“If you come over from Hampton Beach, you have got a beautiful, four-lane roadway that they have just repaved,” Guilmette said. “The speed limit there is 35 mph. You hit Massachusetts and go into a thickly settled neighborhood, you go to two lanes and it is 40 mph. That doesn’t make any sense. Over the years, you have had a few young kids get struck on the boulevard. I have seen quite a few accidents where someone might stop for someone in the crosswalk and the person behind them won’t stop and they’ll end up rear-ending them.”

The new radar speed sign was installed at the corner of the southbound side of North End Boulevard and 12th Avenue just more than a week ago.

Guilmette added the Salisbury Beach Betterment Association also recently spent $1,000 to purchase some new crosswalk signs for North End Boulevard.

“The police can move them wherever they want to, but in the summer, we try to place them on every crosswalk along North End Boulevard,” Guilmette said. “We want to slow traffic down for the people who are crossing the streets to go to the beach.”

The police department takes responsibility for putting the crosswalk signs out and away at the start and end of the summer season, but keeping the signs on their respective crosswalks has often proven to be a challenge, according to Guilmette.

“They either disappeared or got run over during those first couple of years. It really killed us,” Guilmette said. “There must have been a lot of college dorms with crosswalk signs. That is unless another community was using ours.”

Fowler agreed that keeping the crosswalk signs up is an annual challenge.

“Those get pretty beat up quite a bit during the year,“ Fowler said. “Every year, I try to buy some out of my own budget and (the SBBA) usually makes a donation that we use to purchase additional signage.”

The new signs, according to Guilmette, are designed to split in two if hit by a car and can be easily put back together again.

“These are a lot more user-friendly,” Guilmette said. “They are a lot less expensive, too. The old ones used to cost about $300 a piece. These crosswalk signs are a little over $200 each.”

The SBBA also has donated mountain bikes and an ATV to the police department in the past and Fowler said he appreciates all of the help.

“This is something that we don’t have to take out of our normal operating budget,” Fowler said. “It’s a good way to help control traffic and hopefully slow people down on North End Boulevard.”

 

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