The Crescent town board met Wednesday night to make a final decision on where to allow ATV/UTV traffic and to address what some feel is an unsafe speed limit.
At last month's meeting, attorney Gary Cirilli brought up the fact that the ATV route speed limit on Crescent Road is only 10 mph. That was the state maximum when the route was first opened and it has never been updated. Cirilli expressed concern that the low speed limit makes for potentially unsafe conditions for riders and motorists alike, when motorists come upon an ATV or UTV, which by law must stay on the pavement, and attempt to overtake that rider. He also asked the board 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.
At that meeting, another resident asked why the town would not simply open all town roads to ATV/UTV traffic, rather than address each request individually. It was decided that issue would also be addressed this month.
First to be addressed Wednesday was the issue of whether to open all town roads to ATV/UTV traffic. Recreational officer Dave Seefeldt was on hand to answer any questions board members or the public might have regarding ATV safety. He stated there have been 19 ATV-related complaints in the town of Crescent since 2011 and there have been no accidents. The complaints, he said, run the gamut from perceived speeding to kids not wearing helmets. He went on to say snowmobile accidents and complaints were much more common throughout the county and most ATV riders he has encountered while patrolling seem to be more law-abiding than snowmobilers, as a general rule.
Members of the ATV club told the board the organization would buy signs and ensure proper placing of signage for the routes on all town roads.
The ATV ordinance was then amended by the board to include all town roads as ATV routes.
When the discussion turned to the subject of raising the speed limit, board member Steve Richardson was concerned about noise levels.
"My question, literally, because I don't know the answer, is what kind of noise increase do you have for those extra 10 mile per hour?" he asked. "The only ATV complaints I've heard were about noise. We've had one vociferous person the last two months in a row with noise complaints on Fire Tower Road and all." It was agreed that there would be more engine noise, but it would likely not be excessive.
"You know, there are people who don't like the noise, but on the other hand we don't stop boats, boat motors, personal watercraft." said board chairman Bill Treder. "It's part of recreation."
"I just don't see the need for all roads, especially the little feeder roads, to have a 35-mile per hour speed limit," Richardson said. If a town road speed limit for vehicle traffic is less than 35, however, the speed limit would be the same for ATV/UTV traffic as it would be for vehicle traffic.
In the end, Richardson did not believe the speed limit of 35 was needed, but the motion passed on a 2-1 vote. The speed limit for all ATV/UTV routes will be 35 miles per hour, with an exception still in place for roads with a lower speed limits. All roads must be posted as ATV routes before the routes open.
The speed limit on South River Road and possible signage near the spring area was discussed. No action was taken as the board is board looking into more options regarding signage.
The expected broadband tower is expected to be delivered within 10 days. Northwoods Connect is expected to start adding service for residents within two weeks.
The board approved the purchase of a rescue vehicle for the fire department. The vehicle will be purchased from the town of Newbold for $25,000. The department's needs are such that a new rescue vehicle was deemed necessary. The department's current vehicle is unreliable and no longer meets the needs of the town.
Beckie Gaskill may be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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