Hadley police increase patrols on Rocky Hill Road to reduce speeding

  • Hadley K-9 Unit Officer Douglas Costa works a speed limit enforcement detail on Rocky Hill Road in July 2018. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Friday, May 31, 2019

HADLEY — Complaints about speeding vehicles on Rocky Hill Road, a residential street that has a large volume of weekday traffic as people commute to and from the University of Massachusetts campus, is prompting Hadley Police to increase patrols in that part of town.

“These things are not going unheeded. We’re not ignoring them,” Police Chief Michael Mason told the Select Board at its May 15 meeting.

Mason said that he has issued a new directive to make sure that officers are doing daily patrols, for at least one hour, on Rocky Hill.

“We have increased activity on that road,” Mason said.

Several residents at the Select Board’s May 1 meeting told officials that speeding has been a serious problem and wondered whether speed humps or some kind of permanent alteration to the road could limit the volume of vehicles and lower their speeds.

Mason said his hope is to do appropriate traffic enforcement on all town roads.

Police Lt. Mitchell Kuc told the board that most complaints about speeding or erratic vehicles come from Route 9, the busiest road in town.

For town-maintained roads, Rocky Hill is at the top for enforcement.

Since Jan. 1, Rocky Hill received the most attention, Kuc said, with 135 traffic stops. The next busiest roads were Bay Road, where 82 vehicles were pulled over, Hockanum Road, with 41 stops and River Drive, with about 40 stops 

Kuc said the preference is always to get voluntary compliance from drivers.

“There’s not one officer in the department who enjoys handing out speeding tickets,” Kuc said.

In addition to having unmarked and semi-marked cruisers doing speed patrols and other enforcement, the department has focused attention on the Hadley Elementary School on River Drive, where two speed boards purchased by UMass were recently set up to remind drivers of the 30 mph speed limit.

Those speed boards also collect data, Mason said, which allows the department to determine where to prioritize its resources.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.