Pittsfield City Council Rejects Traffic Light at Silver Lake

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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The City Council met Tuesday night with an agenda full of traffic concerns.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council says there are too many traffic lights in the city so they won't be approving  another one at the intersection of East Street and Silver Lake Boulevard.

The Pittsfield Economic Development Authority requested a light or an "alternative solution" to alleviate the current traffic problem.

While councilors agreed the intersection is difficult to maneuver, that whole section of road is expected to be renovated in the future and another signal is approved to be installed at the intersection of Fenn and East streets.

"It's all about safety, but we have so many lights in the city of Pittsfield, it's unbelievable," Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi said, adding that another light in that area would be "overkill."

The councilors rejected the light but forwarded the request to Commissioner of Public Utilities Bruce Collingwood to look into alternative ways to ease traffic congestion.

The intersection has never had a light, even in the heyday when General Electric employed thousands in that area.  PEDA is trying to redevelop the entire area, and MountainOne Finance built a new center near the intersection.

If there are more businesses in the area in the future, and traffic is still an issue, councilors said they can take up the issue again. But for now, there are already traffic projects in the works.

Five years ago, the City Council approved a light at the intersection of Fenn and East streets, which has still not been installed. Vice President Christopher Connell said the light is still two years away from being installed and if another is approved for Silver Lake Boulevard, there will be too many stops.

"I don't want another traffic signal because as soon as you start, you'll be stopping at East Street," he said.

Lights are also being installed at Woodlawn Avenue and those will sync up with Lyman Street.

"I'm concerned about doing things piecemeal rather than doing it in the scope of a larger project," said Ward 5 Councilor Jonathan Lothrop.

A larger project is in the works for the East Street area. The state has already begun designing a project to renovate East Street from Silver Lake Boulevard to Hubbard Avenue and has penned in the construction for 2017 — though the date is very preliminary.

From the Fourth, Elm and East Street intersection, a later construction is poised for a complete redesign. That project, however, faced opposition about widening the road and was shelved. The Berkshire Regional Planning Commission is researching alternative measures for that redesign.

"I go there often and it is not easy getting out of there but there are many factors that go into this," said Councilor at Large Kathleen Amuso of the petition for the traffic light at Silver Lake and East.

In other traffic news, the City Council approved a loading zone in front of 273-297 North St., where developers are planning to construct a new hotel. The zone will use three spaces for valet parking for hotel guests.

• Residents also addressed the council on Tuesday in hopes of improving lighting on Tyler Street.

"We're looking for the lighting through any kind of avenue we can," said Diane Marcella, chairman of the Tyler Street Business Group.

The City Council supported the business group's efforts and suggested looking into installing LED lights on the entire street. Meanwhile, the business group is using that support in seeking grants for the improved lighting.

"I don't think it is a hard fix, but it takes money," Lothrop said.

• The council also approved no-parking signs from 100 Madison Ave. to the corner of Francis Avenue.

• Petitions were filed for proposals to install four-way stop signs at the intersection of Euclid Avenue and Catherine Street and to add speed humps on Schuyler Avenue.

• The council endorsed a petition to "improvements to be made for pedestrian safety" in the area of Columbus Avenue, Center Street, College Drive and Government Drive.

Tags: traffic,   traffic light,   

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