In the wee hours of the morning before Supervisor Newberger cast her "no" vote on the recision of the Longview ordinance, she said a few uncomplimentary words about the Port Police. The implication was that the Port Police had failed to help resolve the traffic safety issues in the Beacon Hill area. Nothing could be further from the truth.
During 1995 and 1996 Police Chief Kilfoil and Police Officer Paxton attended a number of meetings with Beacon Hill Board members and individuals working on possible solutions to reduce hazards of the area, especially since the normal Longview Road traffic was diverted to Beacon Hill Road. In October 1996, Chief Kilfoil wrote to the county asking for a 25 mph speed limit on Beacon Hill Road as well as a weight limit on thru trucking and multiple stop signs. The Town was copied on the letter. The Town said they could do nothing for us because Beacon Hill Road is a county road. Unfortunately, the county failed to respond to Chief Kilfoil's letter.
In August 1997, the county wrote that they had jurisdiction regarding the placing of a stop sign or traffic signals but the Town had jurisdiction over the speed limit, parking, turns and trucks. Subsequently, the Town reduced the speed limit to 25 mph and restricted parking, eliminating blind spots caused by all day commuter parking. The Town has now adopted an ordinance banning tractor trailers from Beacon Hill Road as well as restricting trucks over 50 tons. This new ordinance along with the 25 mph limit provides a measure of safety that did not exist before. The police have been doing a great job in enforcing the rules and they will continue to do a great job. This five block stretch had "only" nine accidents and 149 speeding tickets in 1997. I suggest we let traffic settle down before looking at any other possible change.
The opening of Longview Road at Port Boulevard may increase traffic on Longview but possibly not up to the pre-ordinance level days since stop signs, speed and truck limitations have been added in the interim. Parking restrictions, appropriate landscaping, the addition of a sidewalk and police enforcement will add to safety. The earlier Litwornia traffic study had recommended keeping Longview two ways and open.
Councilwoman Banks and Councilmen Ferrara and O'Connor did the right thing and made a quality decision. Their astute analysis of the facts and understanding of the safety needs of the community, let them undo an ordinance that should never have happened. This is progress.