2017-07-27 / Editorial

East Ferry proves system does work

Although a few minor details need to be ironed out, the town is prepared to move forward with renovations to the East Ferry parking lot. Nobody is 100 percent happy with the design, yet nobody is dead-set against it.

That’s how we know the town aced this test.

When the proposal was rolled out in February, town leadership blessed the idea of moving the Christmas tree and its park toward the waterfront. The revamped layout passed with unanimous support from the councilors.

That’s when the planning commissioners were bombarded with backlash, mainly from Ferry Wharf business owners who wanted to see the traffic circulation remain intact. Hours and hours and hours of debate ensued. In the end, the commission’s take was spot-on.

The functionality of that area is more important than the aesthetics, which can get lost in the shuffle when you’re looking at a pretty blueprint. While the planners certainly did take everything into account, they listened loud and clear to the audience, which seemed like it had the most influence. Without those opponents, we would likely be looking at a relocated tree with experimental traffic circulation.

We credit the councilors for not treating this like the target shooting debate. For that controversy, some had their mind made up from the start. For this issue, there were open ears because it didn’t come with a moral imperative. This was a community decision, not a council one.

Of the few details that are undecided, we believe the triangular park should also be functional, not an area with tall grass. Prettying up heavy-traffic areas never seems to work. We’d rather see trampled-down grass than a lush lawn with sticks and gum wrappers. Also, the new walkways and retaining walls will funnel traffic where it belongs for the most part, so the lawn won’t get as much abuse.

Another plus would be a third entrance point from the easternmost parking spaces to the new waterfront walkway.

Finally, while it’d be ideal to get the exit lane as close to 64 feet as possible, drivers who have trouble maneuvering in a minimum 60-foot lane should relinquish their licenses or at least not travel down to East Ferry.

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