January 17, 2018
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Selectmen receive complaint about flow of traffic at triangle area

By Bill Pearson, Piscataquis Observer

GUILFORD, Maine — The traffic flow into the downtown area known as “The Triangle” has a unique pattern because state routes 6, 15, 16, 23 and 150 all intersect there. The downtown area has more than 8,000 motorists traveling through the intersection on a daily basis with only signs guiding the traffic.

For motorists traveling to a neighboring town or wanting to visit some of Dexter’s major attractions — such as the post office, Key Bank, Irving convenience store or Rite Aid pharmacy — navigating the intersection can be challenging.

A Monson summer resident recently made her displeasure known about the intersection’s traffic flow by writing a letter to selectmen. The board reviewed the complaint on Sept. 4 and directed Town Manager Tom Goulette to respond to her that state route traffic flow is a matter for the Maine Department of Transportation, not the town.

The MDOT has studied the intersection’s traffic pattern for the past 60 years. Motorists on Route 150 have the right-of-way and stop signs are placed at the intersection directing the traffic for the other roadways. The agency has considered putting in a traffic light but couldn’t devise a system to improve the situation.

Despite the confusion created by having five state routes intersecting in one location, there has never been a major auto accident at the site. Town officials believe the best way to improve the situation is for motorists to know how to proceed at a four-way stop.

“It is a mess, but there is really nothing the town can do about it,” Goulette said. “It’s the ones who yield when they are not supposed to who are as bad as the ones who don’t yield at all. State engineers have studied it every which way for decades, but they haven’t come up with a better method.”

Goulette sent a letter last week indicating the town’s position on the traffic matter. The letter stated that the traffic flow was a state issue, engineers had studied the intersection many times, and the confusing traffic pattern had resulted in no serious accidents.

In other action, Goulette spoke as the town’s tax assessor concerning changes in the tree growth tax assessment laws. He indicated that changes in the law placed the burden on municipalities to enforce renewal notices. The landowners are required to renew their forestry plans every 10 years to qualify for the tax abatement. The municipality must send a minimum of three certified mail notices to landowners advising them to submit their renewal notices.

If the landowner misses the first two renewal deadlines, he is fined $500 and given an additional six months to comply. After another missed deadline, the town is able to place a lien or take the property due to unpaid taxes.

The selectmen designated April 1 as the enrollment date for landowners to apply for the tree growth abatement and the subsequent 10th anniversary for updating their forestry plan.

The selectmen also discussed their options concerning the School Street sidewalk. The board is considering whether to raise the sidewalk’s curb from its current 2-inch height to six inches, or eliminate it.

Town officials indicated the sidewalk is used only by United Methodist Church members on Sundays.

Pedestrians typically bypass the sidewalk when they use the town’s municipal parking lot to reach other downtown destinations.

The board will discuss the matter with United Methodist Church trustees next month.

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