PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council needs the city solicitor's advice on multiple traffic questions.
Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi wants to install speed limit signs on Kellogg Street but isn't sure of the legality. He said since the reopening of the Woodlawn Avenue bridge he has received multiple complaints about the increased traffic and there are no speed limit signs. He said there are some 10 to 15 children living in the area.
There has never been an order in place for any speed limit signs on Kellogg Street," Morandi said. "That is a real safety issue and a concern."
However, if there are no signs then the speed limit is automatically 30 mph in such a thickly settled business district. Morandi wanted the speed limit signs to read 25 mph. Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Connell warned that the likelihood would be that a new speed study would be needed, and that may not work to Morandi's benefit if a higher speed limit is chosen.
"You are kind of locked in. You could end up with a bigger problem than you already have," Connell said.
The same questions reside on Springside Avenue, where Morandi and Ward 1 Councilor Lisa Tully are looking to reduce the speed limit to 25 mph between Grove Street and North Street, an area that borders Springside Park where there are playgrounds and ball fields. Tully said she has requested information about making such a change from City Solicitor Richard Dohoney but has not yet heard back with information about the process.
Both petitions were sent to Dohoney and the City Council is asking him to come before it at the next meeting.
Meanwhile, Morandi has filed another petition that calls for the restoration of a loading zone in front of a North Street business. The loading zone at 656 North Street, near the intersection with Orchard, was removed during the streetscape project. The renovation of North Street eliminated the loading zone and put in a bicycle lane.
Morandi said since then two businesses, a market and a laundry mat, had closed because of a lack of parking and loading zone. The landlord is asking for the loading zone back to help entice another business to occupy the storefronts, he said. That petition was referred to the Traffic Committee.
In other business, Mayor Linda Tyer proclaimed the week of Oct. 9 through 15 as Fire Prevention Safety Week and presented the citation to Deputy Fire Chief Daniel Garner. Garner said the department is holding an open house this weekend and invites residents to stop by and learn about fire safety, smoke detector placement, and meet Sparky the Fire Dog.
• Councilor at Large Melissa Mazzeo expressed frustration with Waterstone Realty's unwillingness to hold a public forum on Oct. 19. Mazzeo said she had attempted to get the company representatives to come to a public forum but they said no despite holding other forums since announcing plans to construct a Walmart Supercenter at the William Stanley Business Park.
Mazzeo wanted another forum and had filed a petition asking the council to request one. The full council rejected the plan and sent the request to the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority.
After not hearing from PEDA, Mazzeo reached out to Waterstone herself but she says the company thought such a session was "premature." Councilors had as well because the developers had not yet filed for permits.
Waterstone has, however, attended two forums — one it held at Hotel on North and another organized by Tully and Morandi — and has a Facebook page promoting the Woodlawn Crossings project. Mazzeo feels the company is avoiding her questions about the project as it attempts to sway public opinion before facing the scrutiny of the permitting process.
"I want people to hear all of the information before they make up their minds, not after," Mazzeo said.
• The City Council also accepted a $64,000 grant from the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission revolving loan fund to work toward the cleanup of hazardous contamination on Dewey Avenue in Pittsfield. That grant is on top of $253,424 already granted for the work. The money is eyed to implement soil remediation on city-owned parcels on Dewey Avenue.
The cleanup is one more step toward creating the Westside Riverway Park, which officials have been slowly working toward for a number of years.
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