Nantucket's First Electric Street Sign Is Here. For Now...

Jason Graziadei •

IMG 0299
The electric "speed feedback sign" installed on Milestone Road this week.

A sign like this would go up on the mainland without anyone blinking an eye. But this is Nantucket, so it's a bit of a story.

This island's first electric street sign went up this week on Milestone Road, just before the state highway winds into the Siasconset village. Calling it a "speed feedback sign," town manager Libby Gibson told the Select Board on Wednesday that it was a pilot program to encourage drivers to reduce their speeds to the 25 mph posted limit.

The sign - which is essentially a radar gun that displays the speed of passing vehicles - was attached to a speed limit signpost at the intersection of Milestone Road and New Street.

"It's a state road so it's not subject to our local bylaw about electronic signs," Gibson said. "This sign was requested by the 'Sconset Civic Association over the summer. We've been looking into it and this is going to be a little bit of a pilot program."

The sign, which runs on a battery, will be controlled remotely by Mike Burns, the town's transportation program manager. Burns told the Current the display will be activated today.

"It’s cloud-based and uses cellular communications, so I can change settings from my computer," Burns said. "I’ll set it to display speeds 10 to 45 mph. It’ll also flash the speeds displayed for speeds over 35 mph, and it’ll have a strobe flashing for speeds over 45 mph. I‘ll turn the display on (Friday) morning. It takes a three-hour cycle for the settings to update if changed remotely, so I’ll try to get an early start and have it start displaying speeds by say 10 a.m."

As Gibson mentioned to the Select Board, since Milestone Road is a state-owned highway, the following town bylaw does not apply: 

"The following signs shall not be permitted, constructed, erected, or maintained: Signs with flashing, moving, or intermittent lighting of any kind; for example, such signs displaying time and temperature. This includes signs that are backlit and signs that are electric or neon..."

While the town has utilized mobile, temporary electric signs for various roadwork and construction projects in the past, this is believed to be the island's first fixed, electric street sign.

Judging by a poll we ran asking how our Instagram followers felt about it, there are mixed emotions. Respondents were given three options to describe their reaction to the new electric sign:

  1. About time!
  2. Gross
  3. Who cares?

Here are the results so far, with 1,769 total votes as of 11 p.m. Thursday night:

IMG 0313
Loading Ad
Loading Ad
Loading Ad

Current News