Leverett Speed Trap Logo
Inside Amherst Logo
Speed Trap Creation

How the speed trap was created:

In of May of 1973 the town of Leverett made a request to the State of Massachusetts highway Department for the speed limit on their section of Route 63 be reduced to 45 miles-an-hour. At that time the engineer who reviewed their request concluded that he could see no justification for this speed reduction. However, by July of 1973, the town of Leverett did get the speed reduced on a short section of Route 63 despite the fact that none of the guidelines for a reduced speed zone had been met.  And the Leverett Speed Trap was created.  Here find the documentation for these events.

You will need Adobe Acrobat Reader to view these documents. 
If it is not already installed on your machine click this link to download the version for your computer: 

Here is the documentation establishing the original speed limits for State Highway 63 on July 23, 1968. Specifically, establishing the speed through Leverett to be between at 50 and 55 miles-an-hour.

This is a copy of the speed study that was done in May 8, 1968.

Speed Study
Summary Sheets from 1968 Speed Study (These are provided in a separate file because of their 11” x 17” format.)

And the documentation of the original speed limits for Route 63:

Special Speed Regulation No. 419

Here is a letter in reply to the May 4th 1973 Leverett board of Selectman’s request to reduce the speed on Route 63 to 45 miles an hour. This reply uses the phrase “obtain necessary field data to justify the present postings or reductions in speed limits on Route 63”  There is no record of another speed study being done after 1968 for this stretch of road:

Original request

Here is the engineer’s reply to town request offering to do an additional speed study if needed.

Engineer’s Reply

And finally a letter dated July 16, 1973 from the engineer stating that there is no justification for a speed reduction.

Speed Reduction declined

Then, despite the engineer’s recommendation, on October 24, 1973 the town of Leverett was able to have their Speed Trap installed as documented:

Special Speed Regulation No 419-B

According to the Chairwoman of the Leverett Select board the Reduction in speed along Route 63 was accomplished by a petition to the state of Massachusetts signed by owners of every residence along the segment of Route 63 where the speed reduction was requested.

However, when I asked the members of the select board to remove the Leverett Speed Trap, or at least have Reduced Speed Ahead signs installed, their reply was, “We can’t do anything to change the signs on the state highway.”

The Chairwoman’s argument was that they were responsible for the 2000 residents of Leverett.  But this misses the point that the Leverett Speed Trap only effects the approximately 100 residents who live along this part of Route 63, among them Chairwoman of the select board, and not every resident of Leverett.  A much larger effected group is the estimated 8000 motorists who have been ticketed in enforcement of the Leverett Speed Trap during its 31 years of existence.