Speeders make beach road scary, second grader tells Little Compton council

Council also considers stimulus money, whatever the amount

By Bruce Burdett
Posted 4/1/21

LITTLE COMPTON — The Little Compton Town Council took heed of a second grader’s appeal to do something about beach-bound speeders, and discussed federal stimulus money at the …

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Speeders make beach road scary, second grader tells Little Compton council

Council also considers stimulus money, whatever the amount

Posted

LITTLE COMPTON — The Little Compton Town Council took heed of a second grader’s appeal to do something about beach-bound speeders, and discussed federal stimulus money at the council’s March 18 meeting.

Moved to the top of the agenda was a letter from Coco Smith, a second grade student at Wilbur & McMahon School, expressing concern about speeding beach traffic on South Shore Road.
“We live close enough to South Shore that we could walk or bike, but it is dangeress and scary because it is a narrow road and cars are flying by,” she wrote.

Last July, “We saw an older woman almost get run over by a car,” she added.

Coco joined the Zoom meeting with her dad sitting alongside. Asked if she had anything to add, she replied, after a pause, “I think that it’s not safe since there is no sidewalk. We could put speed bumps near the blind curve.”

Councilor Anya Wallack thanked Coco and asked, as a new member of the council, what speed mitigation measures have been considered there in the past.

Police Chief Scott Raynes said he looked into the situation after receiving the letter.

He said that last year town police stopped 17 vehicles for motor vehicle violations on that stretch of road, eight of which were issued citations, four of those for speeding. The town has also added several speed limit signs along the road.

He said police frequently set up the speed trailer (Coco referred to it as the “robot” in her letter) on South Shore Road, especially in the summer, and will continue to do so.

“We certainly will increase our patrols in the summertime,” the chief added.

The board voted unanimously to direct the police chief, town solicitor and town administrator to meet to discuss any possible steps to make the road safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

Meeting participants praised Coco’s initiative.

“I think this is the best presentation I’ve seen in 30 years,” Town Solicitor Richard Humphrey said, calling it “concise, correct and done ... In the future, if all people could be as concise it would be pretty good.”

Paul Golembeske said that Coco sounds like she might make a fine “future councilor.”

And council President Robert Mushen told Coco, “You can expect to hear from us quickly on this matter. You have done an excellent job getting us to focus on an issue.”

Stimulus money

Mr. Mushen provided an update on stimulus money that appears to be headed Little Compton’s  way.

One list shows the town’s anticipated share to be $1.14 million, an amount that may include reimbursements to the schools and other capital improvements, he said. Another accounting indicates that the town can expect to receive $340,000.

“Whatever the amount,” the question being asked by all towns is, “How are we going to use this money?”

It appears, Mr. Mushen said, that permitted uses will include capital expenditures that can be related in some way to Covid-19.

Not permitted, apparently, will be recurring operational costs ... “It cannot be used to pay more salaries,” for instance.

A permitted use might be “if we were to improve the ability of the town to hold remote meetings which we have done patchwork so far,” Mr. Mushen offered as an example.

In addition, Mr. Mushen said towns are still awaiting guidance on when the funds will become available and how they will be distributed.

In response to a question from Andrew Moore, he said the money will probably be sent through the state but the state will be “inhibited from taking part of it for something state-related.”

Other business ...

• The council voted unanimously to appoint two final members to the Charter Review Commission  — Jack Haire and Philip Crawford. The commission will meet soon to elect officers.

• The council voted unanimous support for Fire Chief Richard Petrin’s recommendation that part-time firefighter/EMT Matt Hughes be hired as a full-time firefighter/EMT, effective immediately. He replaces a firefighter who resigned to accept a post in another town.

• Councilors also approved new members of the Board of Canvassers. Republican alternate member Rose Stokes will become a full member, as will Karen Beauchemin. Bob Stokes was chosen to fill the alternate slot.

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