SPRINGFIELD, Vt. – In the Monday, April 25, 2022 meeting of the Springfield Selectboard, the board voted unanimously to change five street names in Springfield, primarily for the purposes of safety concerns. The roads in question are: “Baker Heights,” which will be changed to “Holt Street;” “Cutler Road,” which will be changed to “Slab City Road;” the private road off of Walnut Hill Road, which will be changed to “Cenate Way;” the private road off of Maple Dell Road, which will be changed to “Pluss Drive;” and the trailer park at 258 Fairground Road, which will be changed to “William’s Road.”
While the changes have been greeted with gratitude and relief by several residents on the aforementioned streets, the selectboard stated several concerns regarding whether residents will be willing to change their house numbers in compliance with the ruling. According to the selectboard, the primary reason for changing the street names and numbers is “safety concerns,” namely, the ability of emergency vehicles to find houses quickly.
According to Renee Vondle, Town Planning/Zoning Administrator for the town, “the whole reason we [the Town of Springfield] are doing this is for safety…some people will put their numbers up and some people will leave theirs. So you’ll have a five on one side of the street and a five on the other side of the street.” The problem with this, according to the selectboard, is that in an emergency, it can confuse emergency services, wasting valuable time.
Besides safety concerns, the confusion can also lead to people not getting their mail, said Vondle. Oftentimes, as Vondle said, postal workers do not have the time to differentiate between houses that share numbers, and so they will send the mail back to White River Junction instead of trying to parse out particulars while on the job.
The road name changes are expected to take place during the month of May, but the actual posting of the street signs is dependent on the sign companies contracted by the town. Public Works will erect the signs. The town is hoping for voluntary compliance from Springfield citizens and numbers will be given out at the Springfield Fire Department at a date to be determined.