Center Traffic Study Stirs Debate

Friday, September 8, 2017
By Transcript Staff

By Sue Ellen Woodcock

Residents like Steve Paley packed the Town Council meeting Tuesday night to discuss a pilot traffic study in the town center.

Since the Center pilot traffic study began last week, Winthrop Center has been abuzz with what is happening in the center regarding traffic flow and parking.

Tuesday night residents and business owners came to the Town Council meeting and packed the room with about 40 people. Some supported the pilot traffic study, some did not. Most had concerns about parking and the impact on business. (See related story on Hagman Road, Page 3)

Interim Town Manager Terence Delehanty said he received calls throughout the weekend about the center study.

“The goal and desire is to increase business in the center,” he said at his first Town Council meeting in his new role.

“We have to work on alternatives,” said Precinct 5 resident John Vitagliano, who is also a professional transportation planner. “In the master plan, French Square is a jewel that compliments the plan.”

Adams Street resident Steve Paley said changing the direction of Adams Street would have “an extreme impact on the residents.”

Another resident said parking has to be made more obvious and it has to be safer to cross Pauline Street from the ice rink parking-lot.

“I’ve only met two people who think this is a good idea,” said resident Bob DiMento. “You have to pay attention to what the people want.”

“People should give the study a chance and go with the experiment,” said resident Linda Daniels.

Winthrop Center business owner Suzanne Martucci said she is behind the study and wants to see where it goes.

“It’s a step in the process,” she said.

For an hour during the public comment portion of the meeting, people stood and voiced their opinions. The public comment session is just that, and councilors do not engage in back-and-forth conversation. This disappointed a few residents, but later in the meeting, for any of the group that stayed after a recess, the council did address the situation.

At the Oct. 3 Town Council meeting at 7 p.m., there will be a public hearing regarding Hagman Road.

“I’m not asking for a vote, just to let people have their say,” said Councilor James Letterie, who is also a business owner in the center.

Councilor Rich Boyajian said he’d like to wait until the data from the study is collected.

Councilor Heather Engman agreed and wants to see the pilot study go until the planned Nov. 1.

Delehanty said he wants the process to be transparent one and he prefers a public hearing on the report of the pilot study.

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