Hanover Selectboard reduces speed limit on Lyme Road

  • A bicyclist rides through a roundabout on Tuesday, Nov. 21, 2017, near Kendal at Hanover on Lyme Road in Hanover, N.H. After a Hanover woman was struck and killed by a cyclist riding on the sidewalk, a bike path that diverted cyclists around the roundabout and connected to the sidewalk was removed. (Valley News - Charles Hatcher) Copyright Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to permission@vnews.com. Charles Hatcher

Valley news Staff Writer
Published: 9/19/2023 2:49:06 AM
Modified: 9/19/2023 8:29:50 PM

HANOVER — The speed limit on Lyme Road is down to 25 mph from 30 mph and the school zone to 15 mph from 20 mph, in an effort to address traffic safety concerns.

The new speed limit, which will apply to a three-quarter of a mile portion of Lyme Road between the roundabout north of Richmond Middle School to the southern end roundabout that intersects with Reservoir Road, was approved unanimously by the Selectboard last week.

At the public hearing on Sept. 11, Jennie Chamberlain, a Selectboard member and chairwoman of the Hanover Bike Walk Committee, said the intent was to set a safer “context-appropriate speed limit” based on the level of traffic and activity in that area.

“Five miles an hour can make all the difference in the world in regard to whether people sustain life-threatening injuries,” Chamberlain said.

In addition to Frances C. Richmond Middle School, this section of Lyme Road has four bus stops, two senior living facilities, a child care center, as well as bike lanes and parking lots with 94 combined spaces.

The reduced speed limits received support from residents as well as school administrators.

Richmond Principal Tim Boyle, who occasionally filled in last school year as the crossing guard, observed many drivers traveling at unsafe speeds, especially for an area with a school.

“There’s just so much traffic,” Boyle said at the Sept. 11 hearing. “We work really hard with the parents and students and everybody else to make sure they are aware, but when you have buses and delivery trucks from Dartmouth Printing and people getting agitated because they are late for work, it makes things really difficult.”

 The new 25-mph speed limit matches those on Reservoir Road by Ray Elementary School and on Lebanon Street by Hanover High School. The new school zone speed limit will be in effect during school arrival, from 7:40 to 8:10 a.m., and dismissal, from 2:45 to 3:15 p.m.

The speed limit reduction also was recommended by an informal advisory group organized by Town Manager Alex Torpey to study town traffic standards and policies and make recommendations to the Selectboard. The group members include Torpey and administrators within the police, public works and planning departments.

The committee also is recommending a speed study of Etna Road, due to staff concerns about road sections where sight distance is limited and space for pedestrians on the shoulders is lacking.

Data from previous speed studies did not support lowering the speed limit, though the town is considering other solutions such as a speed feedback sign to make drivers aware of their speeds.

Patrick Adrian may be reached at padrian@vnews.com or 603-727-3216.

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