PITTSFIELD -- Residents living on the northern end of Brown Street have petitioned the City Council for road-safety improvements and paving.
"It is just a mess for us," said Greg Martinez of 240 Brown St., describing the last section of the dead-end street, which borders Spring side Park.
Delivery trucks and other vehicles sometimes get stuck trying to turn around at a wide muddy area at the end of the street, Martinez and others told councilors.
In addition, residents on the east side of the narrow street, with homes on a slope, said coming down their driveways in bad weather can be hazardous. Citing concerns that vehicles could slide across the street and over a steep bank on the opposite side.
The bank drops about 30 feet toward a small stream in the park.
Paving ends at 223 Brown St., and a half dozen homes are located from there to the end of the street, at 240 Brown St. Six residents signed the petition to the council.
One short section is gravel, and on Wednesday it had standing water pools and a series of small, wave-like mounds. Beyond that is gravel with a black granular material apparently spread over the top. A circular turnaround area at the end was uneven and mostly mud with a half-buried culvert pipe in the middle.
The issue is complicated in that that section of street is not an accepted city way. Homes were developed without going through the process of having the section formally accepted.
Commissioner of Public Utilities Bruce Collingwood said Wednesday he would have preferred the residents "call the office directly rather than go the petition route," but he said the safety issues might be addressed fairly quickly.
"The highway foreman has been up there, and I plan to go back with him to look at it this week," Collingwood said.
As for paving, the area will have to "go into the pot with other requests for paving" around the city, which depend upon available funding and other factors.
Being an unaccepted way would not prevent it from being paved or otherwise treated, he said, as the city has some 20 miles of unaccepted roads and has to consider how much to do to maintain them. There are also other situations that have drawn complaints from residents, he said.
"We would maintain them for safety reasons and to make sure public safety vehicles can make it through," Collingwood said.
In this situation, he said a possibility would be guard rails to prevent vehicles from sliding over the embankment. As for improving the road surface, oil and stone, "cold paving" methods or regular asphalt are possible, subject to funding and city priorities.
The council referred the citizen petition to its Public Works and Utilities Com mittee for review.
To reach Jim Therrien:
or (413) 496-6247
On Twitter: @BE_therrien