Police Commission Talks Jake Brakes, Rumble Strips
The Police Commission discussed a large number of local traffic issues, as well as the process of getting signage on state roads.
At the commission’s August 3 meeting, resident Peggy Jepsen expressed concerns about trucks using Jake Brakes, also known as compression release engine brakes, along South Main Street. Jepsen complained that the loud barking noises emitted by the brakes was a “frequent” occurrence.
“I like my little town, this is where I live, and the truck drivers should respect the town,” said Jepsen, who said that the use of Jake Brakes should be unnecessary along South Main Street.
Jepsen noted that there is a “No Jake Brakes” sign up in Plainville and inquired with the Police Commission about the possibility of getting one for South Main Street.
Rep Mitch Bolinsky, who was in attendance, said he was attempting to adopt a process to permit communities to post “No Jake Brakes” signage, but it was not taken up during the last legislative session, despite bipartisan support.
He said he was hoping to bring it up again at the next session. Bolinsky said signs like that are seen in Massachusetts because there is a state statute permitting them locally.
Bolinsky asked for the support of the Police Commission in terms of a letter of endorsement to have a “permissive statute where noise is an issue.”
“If truckers see that sign, they’ll know they’re in a residential area and to not use the Jake Brakes,” said Bolinsky.
Bolinsky noted that the town has been “begging for sound walls on Riverside Road for years” due to the fact that portions of that road run parallel to Interstate 84.
“That requires federal intervention and is a harder hill to climb,” said Bolinsky.
Commission Chairman Joel Faxon said that the sound of Jake Brakes are “super annoying and don’t belong in Newtown.”
Police Chief David Kullgren said that officers can receive training to recognize the sound of an unmufflered Jake Brake, which would give the division the ability to locate trucks with unmufflered Jake Brakes and issue tickets, but the department can’t afford to get all the Patrol Division officers trained.
“Our officers are not federally trained and certified,” said Kullgren. “If someone wants to give us money to train and certify them, we’d do it.”
The commission voted unanimously to write a letter of endorsement concerning signage warning against the use of Jake Brakes.
In other commission news, Public Works Director Fred Hurley discussed the installation of rumble strips along the centerlines of various roads, noting that Toddy Hill Road was one area where a rumble strip was installed recently. Work on Riverside Road has also started and the road has been restriped and a rumble strip was put in.
Other roads to receive rumble strips include Bradley Lane, Button Shop Road, Great Quarter, and Parmalee Hill.
“It seems to keep people on their side of the road,” said Hurley, who said that rumble strips have been helping greatly with traffic safety and helps stop head-on collisions. “I support it, and think it works.”
Faxon agreed that rumble striping “slows people down” and “keeps them on their side of the road.”
Roads that are being considered in the future for rumble strips include Hattertown Road and Poverty Hollow Road, as money from the town’s road work line item is being set aside to install rumble striping on roads that are being paved.
Other safety-related roadwork being done includes repainting the speed tables on Key Rock and Queen Streets.
“They’re being repainted with an epoxy paint; hopefully it will last longer,” said Hurley.
Associate Editor Jim Taylor can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.