Reservoir Circle residents protest
A family neighborhood is being misused as a construction staging area for East Shore Road property owners who have been directing their contractors to park dump trucks and heavy machinery on Reservoir Circle, according to some 20 residents at Tuesday night’s Traffic Committee meeting.
William Kelly, a Reservoir Circle resident and former councilor, said the road was not designed to handle tractor-trailers and other big vehicles carrying thousands of gallons of water.
Kelly described the neighborhood as one of Jamestown’s best, and said he feels proud to live there. Reservoir Circle, he added, has become a neighborhood “in transition.” According to Kelly, young families are moving into the area, including some people who grew up on Reservoir Circle. They are now starting their own families.
But the street is also turning into a “staging area for construction on some larger homes on East Shore Road,” he said, meaning dump trucks and excavators are parking in front of people’s homes. One day in early July, he said, a truck rolled in from East Shore Road and dumped mulch, then returned repeatedly to cart the mulch back to East Shore Road where workers were spreading it.
“I guess it was inconvenient to dump the mulch on their own property,” he said.
Kelly was in his car, and when he couldn’t get by the truck, the driver shot him a nasty look, he said.
Kelly suggested that the traffic board consider posting signs to control the traffic and parking.
Mary Meagher, who presided over the meeting in the absence of Tom Tighe, told the residents that the committee had received the neighborhood petition. Nonetheless, she said that she still wanted to hear from everyone who wanted to speak.
Clem Napolitano, also a Reser- voir Circle resident, said he wants to go home after work and see “children playing” in his neighborhood.
“Instead, I see oil stains from heavy trucks.”
Napolitano said several of the East Shore Road property owners have service entrances “so the landowner doesn’t have to interface with the working class.”
“I don’t want to feel like I’m taking the service entrance home,” he said.
Neighborhood resident Bob Zimmermann said that when trucks go through the roundabout at the end of the street, they encounter a blind corner where several small children live and could be outside playing. The situation is dangerous, he said.
Neighbor Jane Britton said the situation has been “so upsetting.” One of the East Shore Road houses has a “regular pickup truck” that has appropriated a parking space on her street, she said.
“I sit at the window like an old lady and I see these monstrous trucks drive by all the time.”
Bill Sprague said that he has lived on Reservoir Circle since 1983 and had seen a lot of changes. “I put up with a lot of stuff when an East Shore Road mansion was going up. They drilled three wells; they were going all day long and shaking my lindens.”
Meagher asked residents if they called police. Sharon Reardon said she didn’t want to complain to the police; she wanted to see if the traffic board could help solve the problem first. Other neighborhood residents, however, have called.
Police Sgt. Karen Catlow said the residents have been calling the police to complain about illegally parked trucks. “This is a daily struggle,” she said.
The police department does send a cruiser to respond, but within an hour a different truck will drive down the street and park, she said.
Committeeman David Cain suggested restricting parking for heavy vehicles, using, for example, a limit of 16,000 pounds gross weight. According to Cain, the strategy had worked in Vermont.
“It might be a step in the right direction,” he said.
Meagher asked if making the street one-way would help.
“It is one-way,” the residents replied in unison.
Therefore, Meagher said, the trucks are actually going the wrong way, too.
Town Administrator Andy Nota asked the residents to give him information about their own parking needs so that he could identify options that would not impede the residents ability to park in front of their own homes.
“If we’re going to limit commercial parking, we have to be specific,” he said.
Meagher asked the panel to consider a motion to ask the Town Council to contact the town solicitor about developing an ordinance and establishing regulations. When contractors start to get hit with fines, the problem will disappear.
“Money talks,” she said.
After more discussion, the panel voted unanimously to send the request to the council.