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The proposal would remove the two meters to the right to create a wide bike lane.

Traffic Commission Advises Parking Meter Removal for Bike Lane

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Traffic Commission is recommending the removal of two metered parking spots on the north side of the Holiday Inn on American Legion Drive. 
 
The purpose is to develop a bike lane as part of the city's Complete Streets goals. 
 
Initially, the proposal had been to remove the four metered spots in front of the hotel but Chairwoman Mary Ann King was not in favor of the idea. She told the commission on Monday night that she had also spoken with Police Director Michael Cozzaglio, who had concerns. 
 
"I don't feel comfortable taking away something that's actually making revenue for the city," she said. 
 
Plus, those spots are heavily used during the day by people who may have accessibility issues, King said, because the hotel's handicapped parking spaces are in the parking lot and require people to walk aways to the entrance. 
 
"Those first couple lots are used," she said, noting their proximity to professional offices within the building. The 10-hour spots also come in handy for the hotel's overflow and, along with street parking on the east side, for businesses on the west end of Main Street with limited parking. 
 
The city could post a "share the road sign" and other markers to raise awareness of bicyclists along that stretch and then start the lane past the hotel, Commissioner Amanda Chilson said. 
 
Commissioner Steven Rondeau, a cyclist, said the turn onto American Legion Drive from Main is "not always friendly."
 
"They're pushing you against the parked cars, and then if somebody opens a door, which is something a bicyclist is always worried about," he said. "At least if we have the share-the-road thing, it's something."
 
Eammon Coughlin, senior planner with the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission who has been working with the city on the Complete Streets application, said the options were to have the bike lane start after the hotel or, option B, remove the parking on the east side to create a continuous bike lane. 
 
King felt removing the metered parking on the east side of the road raised the same issue of reducing revenues. 
 
"I think bikes will make revenue as well," said Rondeau. "We've got to promote somehow bicycling friendly stuff in the city."
 
The commission compromised by recommending the two parking spaces just after the hotels first entrance be removed. 
 
Coughlin said that would offer a wide bike lane up to Ashland Street. Lanes vary in size but guide is 4-foot wide with no curb, 5-foot with a curb. 
 
"You've probably got a 6-foot lane proposed here, it's a very generous bike lane," he said. 
 
King said the removal of the two meters would have to be done by the City Council through ordinance. 
 
The commission also touched on future agendas related to the city's Complete Street application that has been accepted by the state. The program goals are to consider accessibility for pedestrians, bicycles, automobiles and mass transit needs on transportation projects. 
 
The city's acceptance into the program opens the door to grant funding for approved projects. Chilson said the list priority projects from the city's application will be on the agenda to discuss at the next meeting.  

Tags: bike lane,   complete streets,   parking meters,   

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