AUGUSTA — Maple Street residents upset by the speed of traffic coming to and from an apartment complex under construction at the end of their street angrily accused the mayor, city councilors and other city officials of ignoring their pleas for help.

City officials, meanwhile, said they’re not ignoring neighbors’ concerns. In fact, they agreed it would be beneficial to have an alternative way of getting to developable city-owned property now accessed via Maple Street. But they said city police have monitored traffic on Maple Street, which is on the east side of the city off Willow Street, and found that nearly none of it was speeding.

Joyce Grondin, who circulated a petition signed by two dozen residents of the roughly 1,000-foot-long Maple Street seeking help from the city, said the changes to her neighborhood have made her life there miserable. She vowed to do the same for city councilors she said have ignored the neighborhood’s concerns. She also accused Mayor David Rollins of bad-mouthing her to her own sister.

“If this continues I’m just going to have to sell my house,” Grondin told city councilors Thursday. “I’ve lived there 19 years and I’m not going to put up with this.”

She said she contacted multiple at-large councilors and none of them called her back or came to her house to see what she said is a problem with motorists driving too fast.

“You ought to be ashamed of yourselves, really. You have no care or interest for the people who live on this street,” Grondin said. “I will be here to make your lives miserable, because you’ve done that to me.”


Multiple city councilors said they had indeed gone to Maple Street in response to residents’ concerns, but didn’t see traffic that appeared to be speeding when they were there.

The petition from 24 Maple Street residents asked to have the speed limit lowered and speed bumps added to the street. They also want the city to dedicate tax revenues generated from the apartment complex toward building a new access road into the site.

Police Chief Jared Mills said police twice conducted speed surveys on the street — including use of monitoring devices that wouldn’t be noticeable to passing motorists — and found that nearly no speeding was taking place on the street, which has a 25-mile-per-hour speed limit.

He said the first survey showed an average speed of motorists on the street of just 19 miles per hour, though one motorist had reached more than 40 miles per hour on the street one night during the survey. Mills said speeds that low don’t warrant, under city policy, adding speed bumps or speed tables to the road to slow traffic.

He said lowering the speed limit would be up to the state Department of Transportation, but he talked with a traffic engineer with the DOT who said it was unlikely the state would reduce the speed limit lower than the 25 it is now. Mills said the engineer looked at crash data for the last five years, which could help justify lowering the speed limit, that indicated there hadn’t been any traffic accidents on the street in that time period.

Mills said the city’s Traffic Calming Committee — which considers requests for speed-reducing options on city streets and is made up of members of the city’s police, fire and public works departments — looked into the matter but decided unanimously that neither speed tables nor reducing the speed limit were warranted on the street.


City Manager William Bridgeo said speed tables can present problems for ambulances, because they could jostle patients, and snowplows that would have to slow down while they are trying to clear streets of snow.

Maple Street resident Sandy Folsom said she saw a lot of cars speeding on the road as recently as Wednesday night, and said it needs to be stopped before someone gets hurt. And Grondin said a neighbor on the street has video footage of motorists speeding up and down the street.

Mills did agree that police would conduct another speed survey on the street after the Augusta Housing Authority’s 29-unit apartment complex under construction on Maple Street is complete, to see if motorists are speeding then.

Rollins said the city would continue to monitor the situation on Maple Street and suggested residents be respectful in their discussions about the issue.

Residents said the speeding traffic has been workers going to and from the Augusta Housing Authority’s construction project in which contractor Portland Builders is putting in an apartment complex. Residents of Maple Street spoke out against the apartment complex during the city process, which ultimately approved of the project.

Amanda Olson, the housing authority’s executive director, said when she heard a complaint about speeding on the street she was upset and took immediate steps to make sure construction workers didn’t speed, including requiring all subcontractors on the job to travel below the speed limit, or risk being kicked off the site.


Jeremy Somes, of Portland Builders, said during the peak of construction as many as 60 workers were coming in to work at the site. He said they expect to be done with construction by Thanksgiving.

The petition also asks the city to set aside tax revenues expected to result from the apartment complex development in order to build a new entrance to city property just beyond the end of Maple Street, including the apartment complex, which could also be used to access city-owned land city officials hope to see developed, like the former Statler mill property the city has renamed Kennebec Lockes.

However Bridgeo said tax revenues from the apartment complex will only accumulate over many years and building a new entrance into the site could cost $1 million or more. He said city councilors could designate the funds the development generates toward a new access road if they wish. He said currently it is designated for street and sidewalk improvements in the Maple Street neighborhood.

At-large Councilor Marci Alexander said the apartment complex could hopefully just be the beginning of development at the site and that additional development could result in a new road being built into the property.

Bridgeo said the city is also looking into using the Drum Barker Road, off Bangor Street, to access the site as it was previously used to get to the former Statler mill. But he said there are legal questions that need to be resolved regarding ownership of that now unused road.

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