Like a number of Oneida County townships, the town of Crescent is wrestling with where to allow ATV travel within its borders.
Several ATV club members came before the town board Tuesday to make requests related to ATV/UTV use. First was a request to open North and South Rifle Road, as well as all town roads east of Highway 17 in the Lassig Road area, to ATV/UTV traffic. The second item was related to posted ATV speed limits.
The club would like the board to increase the ATV speed limit on town roads to 35 mph unless the speed limit posted on the road is less than 35. In that case the ATV/UTV speed limit would mirror that of the road as posted.
There were several town residents in attendance, some of whom voiced concerns that riders have not been following posted speed limits. Others wanted to be able to access other routes from their homes, or be able to drive down their road to visit a neighbor.
"Just a rhetorical question," said Dan Butkus, who owns a home on Squash Lake. "Why not just open all the town roads to ATVs?" With both Newbold and Cassian opening more roads, and Woodboro already open, opening more town roads would give riders more opportunity to connect to those towns as well, supervisor Ken Metz agreed.
After some discussion and input from members of the public on both sides of the issue, town chairman Bill Treder said he was not ready to act on either proposal.
"I think we have a good proposal here, but I'm not ready to act on it tonight," Treder said. "In light of that question, why not all town roads - that's what I've been hearing: why not my road. At this point I'm not ready to move forward with this particular proposal. I think we should look at the whole scale and see where we end with this."
He also noted the agenda for the meeting did not list which roads the club wished to open and he wanted town residents to have an opportunity to provide input.
Another item of concern for many was safety on South River Road at and around the spring where many people stop to get water on a regular basis. One idea was to lower the speed limit on that road.
By state law, any town road not posted with a speed limit has a speed limit of 55 mph. South River Road does not have a posted speed limit. Board members indicated they would like to find a way to make the area around the spring safer, a topic that has been discussed several times over the last few months.
Treder said he spoke with the DOT who advised him to have the board take a look and see what the problem truly was near the spring. Parking, it was agreed, is a problem there. More parking would create a safer environment. While the town could, with good reason, lower the speed limit by 10 mph, it would first have to complete an engineering and traffic study and show reasons for lowering the speed limit. Treder said he was advised the town could run into other problems such as having to defend that change in court. He was advised the speed limit was likely not the issue.
"If it's a parking issue, fix the parking issue," Treder said. "If it's a people issue, fix the people issue, the pedestrians. Those are the things you want to attack. Those are the issues you want to fix."
Ultimately, the panel decided not to take immediate action. Instead, board members said they would do some research on possible signage for the area as well as brainstorm ideas about how to improve parking. Those thoughts and ideas will be brought to next month's board meeting. The meeting was adjourned shortly after 8 p.m.
The next regular town board meeting is scheduled for 7 p.m. Aug. 8 at the Crescent Town Hall.
Beckie Gaskill may be reached at bjoki@ lakelandtimes.com.
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