The Traffic Commission heard updates on the progress Dunkin' Donuts on First Street has made to its problematic drive-through
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Traffic problems have been virtually eliminated at a popular drive-through at a busy First Street intersection, representatives of the operation told the city's Traffic Commission on Thursday.
Long lines resulting in traffic blockage from cars entering the Dunkin' Donuts location had provoked recurring concerns since a permit for the drive-through was granted in 1998.
Prompted by a complaint from the Police Department in 2011, the city asked Cafua Management, the company which operates the eatery, to take actions to address the problem. These issues have now been almost completely rectified, Cafua told the commission Thursday, following a series of measures taken by the company over the past year.
"All of the mitigation steps have been taken," said attorney Thomas Hamel, representing Cafua, although a snag was encountered with one. Cafua has twice undertaken some recommended painting of lines on First Street. Once weather conditions kept the paint from taking, and the second time it was undone by routine city repaving.
"I've since talked with Commissioner [Bruce] Collingwood and he acknowledges that in fairness, simply, it ought to be a cost to the city to replace it, and he's willing to have that done in the ordinary step of repaving work that's done annually by the city," Hamel told the commission, asking for a continuance to June to complete the process of addressing the complaint. Once the city has accomplished the repaving step, the company will finally undertake a promised traffic study, and return to the commission with it this summer.
According to Pittsfield Police logs, there has been only one traffic complaint regarding the drive-through in the past year, when an officer dispersed a traffic snarl at the location on Nov. 18, 2012.
"I think the biggest step taken by my client really is that inside the facility, logistics and service operations have been a great step in relieving backup," said Hamel.
Commission member Christopher Connell motioned to push back Cafua's return to the commission to its Aug. 22 meeting, to ensure that there was ample time to account for possible delays in the city's paving schedule.
• In other traffic business, the commission voted in support of a petition by Connell to extend "No Parking" restrictions on High Street from Caledonia Street to Thompson Place. The commission agreed with Connell, who serves as city councilor for Ward 4, that the fairly busy residential street is too narrow to allow for parking along this stretch near where High Street intersects with Dawes Avenue. The portion of the street from Dawes to Thompson Place is already restricted, so the recommended action by the commission would expand the parking restriction an additional 500 feet.
"There's [off-street] parking for residents, and visitors," explained Connell, who said that while it might inconvenience some, the restriction was necessary "in order to ensure safety" in the neighborhood.
• The commission also looked favorably on a petition from Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Simonelli to implement a ban on commercial trucks on Highland Avenue and Peck's Road, from the Lanesborough town line to the intersection of Valentine Road and Highland Avenue. Simonelli said he'd had complaints from several Peck's Road residents about increased traffic in trucks, and speculated that more drivers are using this part of town as a way to circumvent heavier traffic in getting from Route 7 to Route 20. Residents were also concerned that these trucks were creating too much wear and tear and degrading the streets more quickly than in the past.
"Without any form of bypass to go through the center of town, more and more heavy trucks are moving toward little residential areas," said Simonelli. "The bottom line is these trucks should not be going through a residential area like this."