US 4 changes create hazard
US 4 changes
The Rutland Herald June 4 article regarding the second of three public hearings on Woodstock Avenue changes reported that I “...described seeing a pair of firetrucks forced into the oncoming lane because of cars sitting in the center turning lane.” There is more to the story. Keeping in mind that safety is of major concern and that the center turning lane has been designated as the lane for emergency vehicles to travel through the newly configured Route 4 roadway, the following occurred on Friday, May 23, at 6:45 p.m.
Two Rutland Town firetrucks with lights and sirens speeding east up Woodstock Avenue moved from the eastbound lane into the turning lane to pass traffic stropped in front of them in all three eastbound lanes — the right turn onto Stratton Road, straight up Route 4 and the left turning lane (into McDonald’s) at the Stratton Road light. The only opening for the firetrucks was to travel against oncoming traffic into the westbound lane and move around the stopped cars. The two cars in the left turning lane at the Stratton Road light heading east suddenly moved to get out of the way of the speeding firetrucks and began to turn left into McDonald’s and into the path of the firetruck. The firetruck was forced to change direction and dodge between the vehicles turning into McDonald’s and the stopped traffic in the other two lanes. At the speed they were traveling, this was a very close call.
In a previous public hearing, Mayor Louras said that the Rutland Town Fire Department also has a contract with Mendon for fire protection. Woodstock Avenue is a direct route to Mendon. He continued to say that he asked the Rutland City Fire Department to conduct an emergency test on Woodstock Avenue but was told it was too dangerous. Emergency fire vehicles and the Regional Ambulance Service located on Stratton Road are frequent users of Woodstock Avenue.
Despite one gentleman’s comment that he finds the configuration much more relaxing, remember that Route 4 East (Woodstock Avenue) is a federal highway and is zoned by this city as “Gateway Business.” Access to the established businesses on Woodstock Avenue is seriously compromised by this scheme and receipts/sales are down 10 to 30 percent depending on the business. Tourist, ski traffic and snow on the road will compound the risk and problems we are already seeing.
Three people in our community have the power to make this right and fair. Hopefully, they will listen to the hundreds who signed their names to the petitions that were handed to them regarding this experiment.