A Serious Issue

There is a serious issue that is plaguing East Lyme and threatens our quality of life. While some of this negative force comes from visitors to our town or people passing through, most of this problem comes from within. This problems requires our immediate attention.

SPEEDING on our local roadways has become a problem in every neighborhood and on every local road in our town. Weekly I receive a phone calls from a concerned citizens about the increased speed of drivers on their roads. The local roads that we are all too familiar driving on have become an extreme hazard for those in other cars; people trying to pull out of their driveways or side roads, etc. And of most concern are the walkers, joggers, bikers and children who use the side of our roadways for recreation. It is simply not safe to travel 10, 15, 20 miles over the posted limit. We are all in a rush to get to work, school, and other appointments but many travel so fast that they are putting other citizens in extreme jeopardy.

We need to do more than just “Share the Road”. We ALL need to slow down and realize that when we speed excessively, we are taking away the quiet enjoyment of others. We are disrespecting our friends and neighbors and fellow East Lyme residents. Not only are we putting other’s lives at risk, we are stripping our neighborhoods of peace and tranquility. We are deteriorating our quality of life.

I am guilty of driving too fast at times. Sometimes I look down at the speedometer and realize that I have not been paying much attention to the speed as I drive to my next meeting or event in town. I have extreme guilt when I pass a jogger or a mother pushing a carriage and realize that my speed was not responsible or proper. Perhaps you have felt the same in the past.

We all need to do a better job of establishing the prevailing speed on our roads. Summer is coming and the volume of cars will only increase. If we all watch our speed and be mindful of our individual responsibility of slowing down, others on the road will have no choice but to slowdown too. This will help our police force identify those on our roads who are excessively speeding. But more importantly, it will keep us all safe.

I am asking the police to step up their presence on our local roads: not just the busy arteries but the quiet side roads too. (that’s where most of the reported problems are). I am hopeful that our citizens will react to this and immediately slow down. My goal is NOT an increase in traffic tickets issued—that only costs our residents money through fines and insurance rates*. I want cars to travel at a safer speed. I have also ordered small signs to be placed by the side of local roads (like political campaign or “for sale” signs). You’ll see them pop up on local roads soon. We will also focus our message to the crosswalks on Main Street. Our popular downtown village has pedestrians everywhere and we need to be mindful of their safety.

What can you do to make East Lyme a better place?

  1. Slow down. Establish a slower prevailing speed.
  2. Tell others to do the same. Make this a topic of conversation. Feel free to share this Blog.
  3. Be sure to tell young drivers that they need to slow down (they prob don’t read my blogs).
  4. Watch for pedestrians in crosswalks (especially downtown).
  5. Come to complete stops and don’t run yellow lights!
  6. If you are a walker, jogger, or biker, please wear bright clothing and walk/run/ride on the correct side of the road.

Our town can only be as good as our people. 95% of the time, we win top prize. Let’s consider how our driving habits affect others and do something about it.   Slow down and enjoy the town!

Questions? Comments? Suggestions? I’m all ears…

Mark C. Nickerson
First Selectman
Town of East Lyme, CT

* Full disclosure: I am an insurance agent by trade. While its true that more speeding tickets issued will increase average insurance premiums (therefore increasing my agency’s bottomline), I have a responsibility as First Selectman to lead our town. The safety of our citizens and the quality of life in East Lyme are far more important issues. Let’s work together. Please slow down.