2006-11-22 / Front Page

Neighbors ask to limit traffic on narrow Carr Lane

By Dotti Farrington

"Carr Lane is a car lane, not a truck lane," Councilman William Kelly said at the Nov. 13 Town Council meeting, after Alena Caldarone of East Shore Road asked for relief for herself and Carr Lane residents, as well as truckers and others who need to cross the island.

She said she spoke for many residents and also represented the growing concerns of East Passage homeowners, whose curvy, country family development is increasingly invaded by large diesel trucks looking for shortcuts. The councilors agreed that are there are no shortcuts.

Caldarone asked for extension of Eldred Avenue from its Route-138-created stump near East Shore Road to its original through-street connection with North Main Road.

The councilors readily agreed with her about the problem, but brainstormed several lesser methods to give Carr Lane residents relief. They also thought that a big part of the solution could be to encourage the use of Route 138 as the main island crossroad that it is.

Kelly thought that talking with truckers and their bosses could lead to better understanding of the town's road logistics, and more informed decisions to use Route 138 for cross-island journeys. At the least, he projected, they might avoid the Carr neighborhood as a courtesy to the neighbors of their island clients.

Route 138 eliminated Eldred, as well as Weeden Lane, as acceptable crossroads, Caldarone noted. She said she has witnessed the heavy truck traffic develop. She was also a committee member with planners for the Route 138 design and construction. Re-establishing Eldred Avenue would mean spanning the wetland over North Pond reservoir, a major undertaking, she acknowledged.

The councilors were so sure about the existence of heavy traffic that they instantly dismissed the notion that a traffic count might be needed. They each voiced one or more less complex solutions, including traffic-alert signs, notruck traffic regulations, and vehicle weight limits. The councilors dismissed ideas about one-way traffic for Carr Lane, widening it, or re-extending Eldred Avenue. They repeated the wisdom of choosing Route 138 for cross-island trips.

They agreed to refer the matter to the Traffic Committee with a request for priority attention.

"When the cross-island Route 138 was in the planning stages, I was one of the alternate members from Jamestown on the planning committee. Therefore, I am aware why we have, at the center of Conanicut Island, only one on-ramp to go East and only one going West, instead of the usual cloverleaf ramps.

Caldarone wrote to the council early this month that "many wide trucks, delivering lumber, sod, backhoes, water tanks for pools, etc., take up the whole width of Carr Lane. Several times I had to back out onto North Main Road so they could get out of Carr Lane.

"The edges of Carr Lane are so eroded that the town is receiving bills for car repairs due to the road condition. This historic lane was never meant even for passenger cars to pass, and the old stone walls on both sides of the road preclude it from ever being widened," she wrote.

She included her Eldred suggestion and other facts and factors, and then addressed the councilors directly at their last meeting.

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