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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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Hundreds Still Without Power in North County, Stamford

A new pole is in place for a transformer on Main Road in Stamford. 

Update: The National Weather Service in Albany, N.Y., has issued another severe thunderstorm watch until 8 p.m. for Berkshire County, eastern New York and Southern Vermont. 

STAMFORD, Vt. — Nearly 18 hours after severe thunderstorms pummeled the region, hundreds of customers are without power. 

The latest update estimates is that power will be back on at 2 p.m. in North Berkshire. Green Mountain Power's outage map could not provide an estimate on power restoration.  
Many residents woke up to the sounds of chainsaws and generators on Wednesday morning as clean up from the storm continued.
Stamford was hit hard with trees blocking roads and broken utility poles. Some 499 customers in Stamford and Readsboro were without power.
A post from Stamford's emergency management director said conditions in North Berkshire were delaying power re-energizing in the Vermont town because it's sourced from National Grid in Massachusetts. 
More than 800 customers were without power in Williamstown, Mass., as noon approached. Tree and lines down along Main Street had taken hours for National Grid crews to address and hampered their ability to aid smaller outages in nearby communities. 
Williamstown Police posted on Facebook that because of the extensive damage to the electrical supply lines to town, parts of Williamstown may not see power until later tonight or possibly tomorrow.
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