Keyport speed limit reduction questioned

The in basket: Mike Knapp of Keyport asks “What is the story with the reduced speed coming into Keyport from 35 mph to 25 mph just before the traffic light at the base yet the other side of the road is still 35 mph?

“You have to brake really hard to get down to that speed. What is this all about?”

The out basket: The change was made at the request of the Keyport Improvement Club.

Keyport resident Doug Chamberlain, who just stepped down as club president after three years in the position, said the state had studied the need for a lower speed limit there about three years ago. The issue went back on the front burner last year when a club member who takes care of his grandkids said “cars are coming into town too fast, barreling in and out, and that crossing the highway was dangerous,”according to Doug.

Though it’s a quiet city street in the town center, it’s still a state highway and the state made the change in November.

There is confusion, though, about what the speed limit is at various points, as evidenced by Mike’s assertion that it’s still  35 going out of town.

It isn’t supposed to be, says state Traffic Operations Engineer  Steve Bennett and Doug Chamberlain. It’s supposed to be 25 in both directions from just north of the traffic signal at the Navy base entrance to the end of the highway, 35 in both directions from there across the causeway and 50 beyond that. Steve said they’ll check on the signs to see if they’re where they should be.

If Mike really has trouble getting slowed from 35mph to 25 as he comes into town, he may be an example of what prompted the improvement club to seek the reduction.

While I had Doug on the line, I asked about the parking area just outside the Navy base’s old main gate at the highway’s end, about which a reader complained years ago.

It’s narrow, designed for one-way traffic and tapers to the point that a car parked at its end makes it hard for other cars to get past and leave. There’s a “Motorcycles Only” sign at the narrow end but it sometimes isn’t observed.

Doug said the club is aware of it, but has taken no action beyond asking the base to encourage employees to honor the “Motorcycles Only” sign. The state owns the spot but it’s uncertain who put up the sign, Doug said.

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