Proposed Improvements for Charlestown Beach Road

George C. Tremblay
George Tremblay

The report of this meeting on proposed road improvements was provided by Town Council member George Tremblay in response to a question sent to our e-mail account. That question follows this post.

The Public Workshop held by the Town Council on Monday 5 August generated several creative ideas for reducing traffic hazards along Charlestown Beach Rd.  These were summarized by Councilor Tremblay (text below) and distributed to the Town Council by the Town Administrator, who is now coordinating a review of the proposals by the relevant department heads and Councilors Gentz and Tremblay.  Meetings are expected to begin next week, and the reviewers will report their findings to the Town Council.

While restructuring the road to separately accommodate pedestrian and bicycle traffic appears beyond current means, suggestions by residents do offer the opportunity to make incremental progress toward an improved and safer roadway to the beach.  Suggestions, each with its own promise for incremental progress, are:

1.  Install a 3-way stop sign at the intersection of Charlestown Beach Road and Matunuck School House Rd.  The stop sign will serve to slow traffic along Matunuck School House Rd, which provides access to several businesses that also front on Charlestown Beach Road.  Stopped traffic also favors slow entry onto Charlestown Beach Road, and increased vigilance to ingress and egress by vehicles patronizing the businesses located at this busy intersection.

2. Install a crosswalk at the most southerly site on Charlestown Beach Road of the businesses located at this intersection.  The more southerly the site, the less disruptive pedestrian crossings will be to vehicular traffic at the intersection.  At the intersection of Robinson St with Main St in Wakefield, red flags for pedestrian use are kept in containers at each end of the crosswalk.   Pedestrians carrying the red flag appear to more readily be granted the right of way by motorists.  We might consider this safety measure at crosswalks on Charlestown Beach Road.

3.  It was suggested that a 3-way stop sign be installed at the intersection of Charlestown Beach Road and Nancy Lane, which is located just before the curve on Charlestown Beach Road.  This would slow traffic at a difficult intersection with reduced visibility, further compromised by plantings close to the road.  Another resident who jogs and bicycles along Charlestown Beach Road confirmed the hazard at this intersection, and the need for measures to improve safety at this site.

4.  Crosswalks were recommended for Charlestown Beach Road at The Arches, Johnny Angels, and the beach parking lot.  It was also suggested that signage be installed at the first and last of these crosswalks to remind drivers that pedestrians have the right of way.

5.  Prepare a mailer reminding residents that pedestrians, joggers, bicyclists, and children have the right of way over motor vehicles.  Send this mailer to all residents of Charlestown Beach Road at the start of each summer season, and provide copies to area rental agencies for distribution to their clients.

6.  Placement of police “speed indicator” trailer at a most appropriate spot along Charlestown Beach Road.

The above measures would improve safety along Charlestown Beach Road at modest expense to the Town.


7.  Installation of removable speed bumps at appropriate locations along Charlestown Beach Road.

8.  Several property owners responded favorably to the inquiry of whether they might be willing to provide an easement to relieve traffic congestion.  The observation was made that the density of buildings and utility poles is significantly greater on the east side of Charlestown Beach Road, and that any increases in road width should be made on the west side.  At this time, it appears easements to allow a wider road along the entire length of Charlestown Beach Road is outside the realm of possibility.  However, it was suggested that safety could be improved if pull-outs were located along the west side of the road, at locations property owners consented to make available for such use.  Essentially, the road would be widened at these sites, and congestion would be relieved as drivers pulled their vehicles off the main lanes to allow larger vehicles (e.g., towed camper units) to pass.