Beginning in early July, the Dept. of Transportation Wiscasset Traffic monitors have been in operation and they generate a lot of data. The information is important as we work to determine the smart way to relieve the periodic Wiscasset congestion. In the absence of summary data from DOT, I’ve been pulling snapshots of the radar speed data and made 26 such observations on Aug. 16.
Predictably, there was little delay northbound as weekenders traveled south. At the Edgecomb monitoring station between 11 a.m. and noon, there were about 60 minutes of delay where cars slowed to about 30 mph. At the Wiscasset end at the Grover Road station, there were about 10 minutes of delay to 34 mph. For perspective, the speed limit in downtown Wiscasset is 25 mph, and has been that way for a long time.
Southbound, between 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. there were about two hours of delay with an average speed of 12 mph and one hour with average speed of 8 mph. By 2 p.m., the congestion was over, which was surprising to me as Sunday was a beautiful day.
I’ve thought for years that the southbound congestion peaked later in the afternoons on such days as weekenders sought to enjoy their time in Maine in good weather. The beauty of data is that it can challenge our intuitive assumptions.
However, the findings are primitive, as they are based upon 26 snapshots between 6:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m.
Nonetheless, perhaps future congestion can be lessened if travelers can avoid the peak periods, as measured by the monitors. Changing traveling times is only one of the “smart” methods to be used to reduce the periodic Wiscasset congestion, and all methods, including a bridge for pedestrians in Wiscasset and relocating Red’s Eats, ought to be tried before spending $100 million and devastating parts of Wiscasset and Edgecomb for a by-pass.
Morrison Bonpasse, Co-Chair
R.O.A.D. (Route One Alternative Decisions)