PITTSFIELD -- Three public parking spaces on North Street could be reserved as a loading zone for valet parking for a proposed luxury hotel.
The Pittsfield Traffic Commission on Thursday night endorsed a request by Laurie and David Tierney, owners of two historic buildings at 273 to 297 North St. The couple wants a 65-foot valet parking area in front of the buildings, where the 45-room Hotel on the North is expected to open in 2015.
"We think that valet parking is a necessary component of this type of service," said Michele A. Butler, of Cain Hibbard & Myers, who represented the Tierneys.
Convinced such a move would have little impact to the surrounding area, the commission unanimously backed the request. The City Council still needs to sign off on the proposal.
The Tierneys expect to invest an estimated $8 million into the buildings over the course of the project, and anticipate engaging the Main Street Hospitality Group -- who operate The Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge and the Porches in North Adams -- as hotel managers.
The commission also approved a plan that seeks to better regulate traffic flow on East Street near Silver Lake Boulevard during prime hours.
Heavy afternoon traffic has been causing problems for customers leaving the MountainOne Financial Center, according to Corydon L. Thurston, executive director of the Pittsfield Economic Development Authority. MountainOne is located at 111 Silver Lake Blvd.
Thurston thought better coordination of existing East Street traffic lights at Woodlawn Avenue and Lyman Street might do the trick.
"I think if there were an opportunity, at least in certain times of the day, to operate those in sync, we could get a break in traffic to allow [customers to exit MountainOne]," Thurston said.
But city Commissioner of Public Utilities Bruce Collingwood said the Woodlawn light isn't automated and activating it would likely cause public outcry.
Collingwood said the commission could look into better coordinating the lights at Lyman and Fourth and Elm streets, but that "it's probably going to continue overall to be a difficult left turn out of [MountainOne]."
Nonetheless, the commission voted unanimously to look into the coordination of these existing lights.
Collingwood also pointed out that East Street is due for a redesign sometime in the coming three years.
Improving the street from Fourth and Elm streets to Silver Lake Boulevard will be the city's responsibility, and according to existing plans, a new traffic light is desired at the intersection of East and Fenn streets.
The state Department of Transportation will design and perform improvements on the section of East Street between Silver Lake Boulevard and Merrill Road.
To reach Phil Demers:
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