The Dover Board of Selectmen voted to approve the removal of the two highly contested raised crosswalks on Dedham Street at their meeting Tuesday night.
The crosswalks have been a point of contention by some residents of Dedham Street who say that the raised surfaces cause a lot of noise when large trucks drive over them throughout the day.
“When these were first put in it was to try to reduce the speed and to enhance safety for anybody walking across the street,” Selectmen Chair James Dawley said. “I guess there’s no clear answer whether it has reduced speed. Everyone has an opinion, everyone. I think it has, other people think it hasn’t.”
The Board voted unanimously to remove the speed bumps on the recommendation of a who said that the raised crosswalks are inappropriate for a road such as Dedham Street.
Dover Police Chief Peter McGowan believes that the removal of the raised surfaces will cause operators to drive more quickly down Dedham Street.
“With the raised crosswalks I’d just like to go on record saying that there will be an increase in speeding” when the raised crosswalks are removed, McGowan said.
McGowan said that he is hoping that an increased police presence will deter drivers from speeding down the busy road but the police cannot be there at all hours of the day.
“There will be an issue with speed and I just want to go on the record that the police department will do everything in it’s power to be down there as often as possible,” he said. “We’ll do as much as we can to re-educate the public and retrain them as to what we’re expecting down there but it’ll be a process.”
Dedham Street resident Joan Panek said that while the issue of the noise was a major concern of those living closest to the crosswalks, safety and reducing speeding on the road should remain a top priority.
“I do want to make sure that the Board understands that while our main concern that we’ve been most vociferous about has been the noise from the speed bumps, I really want you to understand that we are all still concerned with safely crossing the street and the speed of cars. So those issues shouldn’t be thought as of less importance to us," said Panek.
In addition to the removal of the speed bumps other short-term measures that will be taken include cutting back brush and adding more signage to the area to let drivers know of the speed limit on the street.
The raised speed bumps will be removed the next time the road is resurfaced. According to Craig Hughes, Superintendent of Streets in Dover, the changes to the road will be done over the summer before school starts back up again.