HARWINTON - South Road residents have asked the town to help slow traffic in their neighborhood after an accident killed two local teenagers there in August. They may have their answer in the form of electronic speed signs.
Resident Trooper Ian Nicholson said since beginning the use of speed signs a month ago when residents first brought their concerns to the selectmen and since police patrols became public knowledge, he has only given out two warnings for speeding on South Road. He believes the use of speed signs is "a lot more effective" than installing stop signs.
"I personally love them because it really helps," Nicholson said.
South Road residents Louise and Bob O'Donnell agreed to allow the town to place a permanent metal post in their yard that would hold the portable sign.
The couple and Nicholson agreed this would deter residents on the road who do not approve of the sign from complaining.
The 35 mph speed limit will be posted below. Increased police patrols will continue on the road.
Patrols initially increased after Aug. 5 when Charles Buonocore, 18, of Harwinton and his girlfriend, Melissa Andrew, 17, of Avon died in a head-on collision on South Road. Police said speed was a factor when Buonocore's Honda crossed the yellow line into the path of a pickup truck driven by the lone survivor, John Kelley, 17, of Harwinton.
Theresa Ponte, a Lake Harwinton Road resident, said speeding has always been an issue on her road and that she would like to see more patrols and a speed sign there, too.
"We really need to change something because what happened on South Road could happen anywhere," Ponte said.
Selectman Michael R. Criss said the town's roads are being used as cutoffs and that trucks speed through using residential roads as thruways.
"The traffic in the town overall has become a major issue because of the towns around us," Criss said. "The towns around us are developing all around us and it makes our roads more susceptible to heavier amounts of traffic."
Each electronic speed sign cost $5,000 and Criss proposed setting up a fund so anyone concerned can donate for the purchase of more signs to slow speeders throughout town. The selectmen will be asking the Board of Finance to set this up.
Originally appeared 10/21/10 in the Republican-American