2006-07-27 / News

Council hears traffic and parking matters

By Dotti Farrington

The Town Council Monday directed Town Administrator Bruce Keiser to follow up on several traffic and parking recommendations made by the town Traffic Commission, chaired by Police Chief Thomas Tighe.

In a separate matter, the council praised Tighe and his deputy, Lt. William Donovan, for fast and effective action to obtain a $43,000 grant that will be used to buy a generator for the new emergency shelter being developed at Melrose Avenue School.The traffic recommendations include asking the state Traffic Commission for a sign flashing "school" on North Main Road in the vicinity of Watson Avenue and Valley Street to alert drivers and promote pedestrian safety for students enroute to or from nearby Lawn and Melrose schools. Tighe explained that the commission would have to conduct its own study about needs before making a decision to provide the sign.

The commission urged the council to consider funds in the next fiscal year to extend the sidewalk on the east side of North Main Road between Swinburne and Valley streets across the frontage of the town library as an added safety measure, particularly for students.

Great Creek

The commission recommended that the council ask the state Department of Transportation to determine if improvements can be made on North Main Road in the area of the Great Creek to raise the road elevation relative to the water. Tighe said that "during large storm events, this road must be closed due to water overtopping the surface." It was noted that a DOT study could take two years to process, and then the town would add it to its list of priorities that are reviewed every two years, taking at least seven years before action was taken. "We have to make a start," Tighe said. The road shoulders are adequate for widening and raising, using the existing concrete abutments. It also was noted that raising the road would help for many storms, but the height probably would not be sufficient to avoid road closings in severe storms and hurricanes.

Tighe's commission made several recommendations involving Head's Beach on West Passage of Narragansett Bay in the Jamestown Shores. Resident and non-resident stickers should be issued for parking at the beach parking lot. A "no parking" ordinance should be adopted to prohibit any parking in the boat launching area to allow unloading and loading of boats from vehicles.

The plan calls for an ordinance amendment to prohibit parking on both sides of Seaside Drive, from Frigate Street to a point 1,000 feet north.

Tighe said the sticker and parking rules would be enforced by intermittent patrols, not a stationery staff.

The town administrator said it would take about a month to draft any ordinance and to schedule a public hearing. Councilman Michael Schnack noted that it was too late for this season and there was no urgency or rush.

During open forum, Charlotte Zarlengo, president of the Jamestown Shores Association, observed that sticker and parking rules have been sought for years, and each time the matter was delayed to off-season and then not pursued. She asked the councilors to commit to having the matter resolved soon so it will not be put off again. "Let's do it," she urged.

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