PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Managing Director of Downtown Pittsfield Inc. (DPI) Rebecca Brien wants to make North Street diagonal head in parking after a survey found that 60 percent of downtown residents support the reconfiguration.
On Thursday the Traffic Commission referred her petition to the Commissioner of Public Services and Utilities Ricardo Morales and the new City Engineer Tyler Shedd.
"We actually brought a petition to the City Council specifically in regards to a poll and survey that we had put out to our membership but also other businesses, residents, and people who are in the downtown area, and they (had) a 60 percent response supporting a change in parking," Brien explained.
"What we would ideally like to see is the single traffic lanes in each direction, a smaller bike lane that would still service individuals who are on bikes, and the diagonal head in parking to increase the parking spaces in that area."
DPI would like a study conducted to see where it is feasible to do the change without altering any major structures from Park Square to at least Maplewood Avenue or possibly Carr Hardware.
Morales said that there is enough space between the existing single-travel lane and the curb to have 60-degree diagonal parking with a six-foot bike lane.
It would increase parking by around 40 percent.
As far as he knows, bike lanes behind this kind of parking are not the best solution it could work with a single travel lane slowing down traffic.
"It becomes a nonissue, becomes trivial at lower speeds," Morales explained.
"And I think we have proven that single-lane travel on North Street has reduced the speed significantly and reducing that gap will do so even further."
Other factors such as space for deliveries would also have to be considered, as there would have to be designated spaces and would require an analysis to determine where a loading zone could be placed.
The change would likely result in at least a partial resurfacing of the street.
In other news, the commission referred a petition from Ward 1 Councilor Kenneth Warren requesting to resolve excessive traffic and speeding on Cromwell Avenue to police Sargeant Michael Maddalena and Morales.
"As you guys could probably guess traversing the City of Pittsfield if you've ever been in that area it appears that Cromwell is a bypass for the light at Crane (Avenue) and Upper North (Street,)" Warren explained.
"And I've received some complaints."
He would like a study done to determine current conditions and what options are available, adding that police enforcement won't do it alone.
Warren said that it is a two-part problem because drivers speed through the neighborhood and cause backup from the light.
Ideally, he would like to get a report back and work on it in the spring.
The commission also referred a petition from Ward 2 Councilor Charles Kronick to extend a "no parking" zone on Second Street to Morales and Shedd.
He would like to extend the "no parking" area about 200 feet to 208 Second Street from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. to accommodate a child with mobility issues who has difficulty getting off of the school bus when people park in the area.