To the editor:
I have read the articles in the last couple of weeks in the Portsmouth Times and the Newport Daily News, and the editorial in the Jan 30, 2014 edition of the Portsmouth Times referring to the proposed changes to Bristol Ferry Road in Portsmouth. It is very interesting, as Mr. John Blaess said, that one unknown resident sent a letter of complaint and the project seems to be a done deal.
I live in that area of Portsmouth and come home from work using Bristol Ferry Road almost every day. Let me ask the question. How many people have been stopped in traffic on Bristol Ferry in its present configuration? Usually the backup begins just after Schooner Road and continues in both northbound lanes. You later find out the cause of the backup. It could be that Bristol and Portsmouth police are dealing with some poor soul’s attempt to jump off the Mt. Hope Bridge. Or an accident on that bridge or, on a nicer note, the traffic is due to the Fourth of July parade in Bristol.
Now let’s pretend that we change the road configuration to what is proposed. The traffic could back up in that one northbound lane almost up to the Island Day Care facility. What happens to the center “turn left only” lane, you might ask? It becomes a full-fledged travel lane because we know how impatient people will get with a traffic buildup.
Now let’s pretend that many of those drivers know that Schooner, Botelho and Cherokee drives connect through to Boyd’s Lane (in a roundabout way). That residential area will now see many, many more cars than normal speeding through to avoid the traffic.
This proposed change to Bristol Ferry Road needs to be looked at from all angles, not just from one unknown writer. I actually think the best solution is not to change the lanes but to drop the speed limit. It is now 35 mph; it should be dropped to 25 mph. We know that without a police car in sight, many drivers will push that posted speed to 10 miles over the speed limit. Dropping the actual speed limit to 25 and increasing police patrols would keep the speeding in check.
One last point: A couple of accidents happened because the southbound drivers crossed the center line. Changing the road configuration will not prevent this from happening, but slowing the speed limit might.