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The Traffic Commission is recommending to the City Council that 60 feet of the south side of East Main be no-parking during weekday business hours to improve visibility.

North Adams Traffic Commission Advises Parking Changes on Several Streets

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Traffic Commission is recommending a no-parking zone weekdays in front of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts alumni offices on East Main Street. 
 
The MCLA Office of Institutional Advancement requested the prohibition because of a number of near accidents caused by poor visibility pulling out of the parking lot.  
 
Matthew Vanheynigen, chief government relations officer, said staff has been urged not to park on the street past the streetlamp "so it's not an obstructed view coming out of our driveway, looking to your left toward the downtown." However, there is no way to stop other motorists from parking there. 
 
He continued that there have been "at least four or five incidents of staff trying to pull out and having near misses with traffic coming up the hill. One was a bicyclist. One was a motorcyclist. And there was another incident involving trucks pulling out of our driveway almost colliding with vehicles coming up at speed up the hill."
 
In the case of the motorcyclist, Vanheynigen said the driver was "inching out" of the driveway when she nearly collided with the motorcycle. She would have been at fault, he said, "but when your view's obstructed you kind of roll the dice pulling out of there."
 
Commission Chair Mary Ann King noted that the south side of East Main had been a state-mandated no-parking zone for decades because it was in front of Notre Dame Church. Faded yellow paint is still visible on the curbing. 
 
But even though it was no-parking in the past, she was concerned about parking options with more students set to attend Colegrove Park Elementary just down the street. There was brief discussion about putting in a convex mirror across the street from the driveway to enhance visibility, but King said the mirrors were frequently the targets of stone-throwing juveniles. 
 
Another option was to limit parking a set distance from driveways. King said there is no ordinance regulating that and putting one in would "open a can of worms."
 
"Do we do this because I know coming out of every driveway is tough up there," she said. "And every driveway has that issue on even thinking, you know, like no-parking within so many feet of the driveway, every driveway up there."
 
Commissioner Bryan Sapienza agreed, "I think if you specify a footage from each driveway, I think you're going to eliminate most of the parking at East Main Street to begin with."
 
He thought a no-parking zone just needed to provide some sight distance for traffic coming up the hill and exiting the driveway. 
 
Commissioner Paul Markland, of the city's Public Services Department, said three parking spaces would be 60 feet. This would run from the west side of the driveway entrance to the edge of the property, about to the streetlight. 
 
King's concern was removing parking along East Main and she suggested limited hours. 
 
"I would prefer that because, like I said again, right across the street you have the apartments and then you've got apartments going in in Notre Dame," she said. 
 
Vanheynigen said about a dozen people work in the building and the hours are 8:30 to 4:30. Most staff park in the parking lot. 
 
The recommendation was 60 feet of no-parking in front of the former rectory building from 8 to 5 p.m. weekdays only. 
 
The commission filed a communication from Commissioner Ian Wilson about a recreational vehicle parked on the side of the street in Mohawk Forest near the intersection with Rich Street. Wilson was concerned that the RV and a short bus that is parked on the opposite side created unsafe conditions.
 
"Coming through there's plenty of space but you don't quite know what's going to be coming the other way and at what speed," he said. "I didn't know if there was a way we could potentially make one side of the street, no parking." 
 
King said she'd spoken with the bus driver, who has parked the short bus there for years and that the camper belongs to someone who had moved in this year but would be moving back to California when school got out. 
 
The commission didn't feel strongly about recommending no-parking zones as there have been no complaints from residents or the housing project's management company. It was voted to file the communication but have King write to the management to see if parking on both sides of the street was a concern. 
 
A third matter about no-parking on West Main Street near the former Brewhaha was also filed. William Shanahan of the Community Development Office had written inform the commission that the Zoning Board of Appeals had received several complaints about crosswalks and parking near 437 West Main during a public hearing on Wish Tree LLC's plans to open a vegan restaurant in the building.
 
King said she had asked for more details regarding the complaints but had not yet received an answer. "I don't really want to work on something that we have no idea what we're doing," she said. 
 
In other business, King had gone through the Chapter 13 traffic ordinances in the city's code. This started with the implementation of a school zone at Hodges Cross Road and the request to remove one on Kemp Avenue. 
 
King also recommended deleting language referring to no-parking during school hours on the west side of Williams Street for the long-shuttered Johnson School; parking for the Registry of Motor Vehicles weekdays on Center Street (which moved years ago), and no parking on the east side of Bank Street, which no longer exists. 
 
She also asked Markland to take down the police-only parking sign on Summer Street that is not in ordinance and which the police no longer use and a 15-minute parking sign at the corner of Houghton and Liberty street for a convenience store that was demolished.
 
Sapienza raised the concept of a "safety zone" at Kemp Avenue that had come up in City Council discussions. The commissioners felt the term was too vague, not specified in state law and that no other sports fields or playgrounds have them. 
 
"I just feel the word safety zone is quite a gray area. It could mean a lot other than a playground," King said. "The only other thing I could suggest is maybe putting like a playground sign up a few feet from the playground."
 
Sapienza asked that she explain how ambiguous the term was in writing so he could take it back to council. 

Tags: parking,   traffic commission,   

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MCLA's Gallery 51: 'Mothering in Migration'

NORTH ADAMS, Mass.— MCLA's MOSAIC announces the upcoming exhibition "Mothering in Migration" and opening reception at Gallery 51.
 
"Mothering in Migration" will be on view from July 26 to August 25 at Gallery 51 with an opening reception on July 26 from 5 to 8 p.m. featuring light snacks and refreshments. A reception will also be held during North Adams' First Friday event on August 2 from 5 to 8 p.m. featuring catering, refreshments, and live music from Yo Soy Arte.
 
"Mothering in Migration" is part of an ongoing collaboration between artist Luiza Folegatti and Latinas413 that aims to strengthen local support for immigrant mothers while using image-making as a tool for community building. Through photography sessions, interviews, and workshops, the families and the artist celebrated their connection to the natural landscape of the Berkshires, the networks of mutual support between friends and colleagues, and the intimacy of the mother-daughter relationship.
 
The show is curated by Carolina Porras-Monroy.
 
According to a press release: 
 
Luiza Folegatti is a Brazilian artist based in North Adams who integrates artistic practice, teaching, and social advocacy work around the rights of women immigrants. Her work focuses on gender and migration through photography, video,  performance, and visual anthropology methods. Folegatti strongly believes in the positive impact generated by projects that combine photography, education, and community building. She has taught photography workshops for several years at nonprofits working with immigrants and is currently a visiting faculty member in photography at Bennington College, part-time residency coordinator at MASS MoCA, and Artists At Work grantee. 
 
To learn more about Latinas413 visit https://www.latinas413.org/.
 
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