Left turns from Val Halla Road now OK in Cumberland

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CUMBERLAND — The Town Council on Monday voted to allow left-hand turns from Val Halla Road onto two other streets, and to institute traffic-calming measures on three roads.

Motorists heading toward Greely Road have been barred from making left turns from Val Halla Road to Country Charm Road and Hedgerow Drive.

Country Charm and Hedgerow can also be accessed from Main Street, via left and right turns.

But because many vehicles have instead been making U-turns to circle back and turn right, residents asked the council to look into eliminating the left-turn prohibition and find another means of calming traffic.

The council, which also discussed the matter Sept. 9, voted 5-1 Monday to allow the left turns, and also to install speed tables on Hedgerow, Country Charm and Val Halla. These temporary objects can be removed in the winter, to avoid the noise from plows going over the bumps.

The council authorized Town Manager Bill Shane to spend money from the town’s road improvement reserve account in install the bumps. They will be installed no later than May 15, and removed no sooner than Oct. 1. The total cost could be between $7,500 and $9,000.

Councilor Tom Gruber, who voted against the changes, said Tuesday that he is concerned about increasing traffic on neighborhood roads.

“As much as I hear people say, ‘Well, kids shouldn’t be on the roads, and people shouldn’t be walking their dogs and talking on the street,’ I don’t buy that,” he said. “It’s a neighborhood; it’s the culture of that neighborhood. And I think (with) introducing more traffic, it’s just going to be a wayfare, and it’s going to probably have faster traffic going through there because it’s a short cut over to (Val Halla) golf course.”

The new measures amend the town’s traffic ordinance.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.