PITTSFIELD -- The City Council has granted initial approval for two-way traffic on Burbank Street at the site of a proposed Pittsfield Cooperative Bank branch that would face onto North Street.
The approval came after a recent meeting at which councilors expressed concerned about the change from one-way traffic between North and First streets, which had been recommended by the Traffic Commission. Among the concerns were parking issues and the possibility of drivers making left-hand turns when exiting either end of Burbank Street.
Bank officials have said they are seeking some early approvals before committing to final design and planning for the project on a rectangular vacant lot the bank owns between North and First streets. The project, still in the early planning stages, also would require site plan review from the Community Development Board and a special permit for the drive-thru from the City Council.
The project envisions two-way traffic on Burbank Street and a freestanding ATM with drive-thru service and traffic entering and exiting along Burbank.
Asked by Ward 7 Councilor Anthony Simonelli whether parking would continue to be allowed on both sides of Burbank Street, attorney Emil George, representing the bank, said it is expected that the city would ban parking on at least the north side of the street, although the bank has not formally made that request.
Ward 6 Councilor John Krol and Ward 2 Councilor Morandi asked about left turns
Krol suggested that a "no left turn" sign be considered at the First Street intersection.
George said project consultants expect that most drivers would want to make right-hand turns onto First Street to go south and onto North Street to go north and would avoid left-hand turns.
Councilors praised the project and its potential positive effect on the neighborhood, but some expressed concern that two-way traffic might take effect before related parking and left-hand turn safety measures could be implemented. An amendment to the two-way traffic proposal was added to include a parking ban on the north side of Burbank, where the bank drive-thru and parking lot would be located, and the amended proposal passed unanimously.
City Planner C.J. Hoss said the city would likely place the two-way traffic change on hold until the proposed bank branch is imminent.