HARVARD — Debi Nygren has lived at 68 Littleton Road with her family for more than 10 years. In that time she’s seen numerous accidents and near misses near her home.
She said her children have also seen accidents there. One of them wrote a letter to the Board of Selectmen.
Kiley Nygren handed her letter to Chairman Lucy Wallace. It describes a recent accident in which a neighbor was severely injured.
Grant McLean, a junior at The Bromfield School who lives at 3A Littleton Road, was hit by a motor vehicle while exiting a driveway on his bicycle. He suffered broken bones and other injuries but is recovering.
The outcome could have been much worse, Nygren and others said.
Wallace read some of Kiley’s letter aloud and summarized the rest, thanking the girl for stepping forward.
It’s time something is done about speeding traffic on Littleton Road, said Nygren and others. It’s not safe, they said.
Belinda Friedrich, whose home is near the Poor Farm Road intersection, said signs heralding a speed limit of 45 miles per hour may contribute to the problem. They are “irrational” under the circumstances, she said.
In her view, she said the accident proves the speed limit is too high.
Selectman Timothy Clark, who has created a report that proposes “traffic-calming” techniques, such as warning signs, to address the problem, said the speed limit can’t be reduced without state approval.
It dates back to the 1970s, he said. It’s based on the use of the road, he said, which is designated as a highway access route.
Friedrich suggested replacing speed-limit signs with warning signs.
“If we can’t reduce the speed limit, can’t we at least not encourage that (45 miles per hour) speed?” she asked.
Hands waved and raised voices trembled as several residents shared experiences and told selectmen in no uncertain terms how they feel. Valerie McClellan, of 71 Littleton Road, said she’s lived there for 37 years and was first on the scene when Grant McLean was hit.
“Nobody wants to see what I did three weeks ago,” she said. “I’ll never be the same. That’s a blind corner without traffic control. No one in this room wants to see that happen Rural or historic road or not, those signs are necessary.”
Andrew McLean, Grant’s father, spoke quietly but forcefully. The room went silent. He said he’ll never forget his neighbor’s kindness that day.
“I almost lost my son It’s beyond my comprehension that Lucy (Wallace) called that road scenic,” he said. “What I saw that day was not scenic. If you think signs will spoil the road, reduce the speed limit. It can’t wait.”
“I know you don’t make a law based on one incident, but there are plenty of others,” he said.
For example, poor drainage and freezing at the bottom of Littleton and Oak Hill roads has caused skids and spinouts, said McLean. One teen driver even went off the road into the woods there last winter, he said. He wasn’t hurt, he said, but he could have been.
He also cited the hill coming out of town (Route 111) as a “coaster” with risks of its own.
“People can get going to 50 miles per hour if they don’t brake,” he said.
The selectmen thanked people for coming.
“It’s great that you all came out and said what’s on your minds, especially the children,” said Selectman Robert Eubank. “Your feedback is very important to us.”