PITTSFIELD -- The City Council has rejected a parking sign recommendation from the Traffic Commission after receiving a petition from residents of the street.
The result is that "no parking" signs installed on a section of Sadler Avenue will be removed. They were posted on the west side of the street after a complaint early last year from Tammy Ives of 62 Sadler Ave. She said vehicles parked across the narrow street made it difficult to back out of her driveway.
Ives later ran for the Ward 1 council seat in the 2013 election but lost in the preliminary September voting. She referred during the campaign to her petition to the city as ultimately leading to her decision to run for the council.
During its subsequent investigation, the Traffic Commission asked for a report from the city engineering office, said member Christopher Connell, the Ward 4 city councilor. Based on that report, the commission determined that the narrowness of the street necessitated parking restrictions on one side to ensure public safety vehicles passage.
Other residents more recently petitioned to have the signs removed, but the commission unanimously recommended to the council that they remain in place.
During the public comment portion of the council meeting Tuesday, Todd Sherman of 65 Sadler Ave. said he and another resident measured nine city streets and found Sadler Avenue the third widest. He said there were 19 residents of Sadler Avenue in favor of removing the signs.
Several councilors said they believe there are a number of narrow streets in Pittsfield but neighbors and drivers have learned to accommodate that restriction and emergency vehicles apparently have as well.
Ward 1 Councilor Lisa Tully expressed a desire to see the signs removed. "I'd like to see the signs come down," Tully said, adding that the original request was for one "no parking" sign, but restricting parking along one side of the street "has disrupted the whole neighborhood."
Connell proposed sending the issue back to the engineer's office for an opinion, but that was rejected. The vote to remove the signs was 9-1 with Connell opposed.
Also on Tuesday, the council endorsed a recommendation from its Public Health and Safety Committee to refer to city Commissioner of Public Utilities Bruce Collingwood a proposed street lighting upgrade for the Tyler Street business district.
Councilor at large Barry Clairmont said he would rather reword the petition to make it an expression of support from the council, rather than a simple referral to the commissioner. He said he wanted to ensure there was follow-through on the proposal.
Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi, chairman of the Public Health and Safety Committee, said Collingwood clearly indicated he already had preliminary engineering lined up for the street and intended to pursue additional funding.
The referral petition was modified to add an expression of support from the council.
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