Pittsfield resident challenges plan to lift parking restriction
PITTSFIELD -- City resident Tammy Ives has filed a complaint in Berkshire Superior Court seeking to block removal of "no parking" signs from the west side of her street.
Ives, of 62 Sadler Ave., wants to keep in place signs that were put up last year after she petitioned the City Council for a sign near her house, saying she had trouble exiting her driveway because of vehicles parked on the opposite site of the street.
The matter was referred to the Traffic Commission, which recommended a parking restriction on the west side of the street, and that plan was approved by the council.
However, a number of other residents of Sadler Avenue this year petitioned to have the signs removed, and the council agreed in a 9-1 vote on May 13.
That vote called for the signs to be removed and it rejected a unanimous vote from the Traffic Commission opposing the petition for removal.
Todd Sherman, of 65 Sadler Ave., told councilors May 13 that he and another resident measured nine city streets and found Sadler Avenue the third widest. He added that there were 19 residents of the street in favor of removing the signs.
For now, the signs remain in place. Commissioner Public Utilities Bruce Collingwood said the process would first require a work order for the removal, and one hadn’t yet been received.
"I feel the City Council made a horrible mistake," Ives said recently, commenting on her complaint, which names the council as defendant.
She said the Traffic Commission had correctly determined after an inspection and investigation that the narrowness of Sadler Avenue could cause access problems for emergency vehicles if vehicles were parked on both sides.
That determination was offered again this year, she said, when the commission rejected the citizen petition for removal of the signs.
Ward 4 Councilor Christopher Connell, who is a member of the commission, said he is not supporting Ives in her complaint but agrees that there is a potential safety issue. He said the commission was unanimous and its recommendation followed a visit to the street and advice from City Engineer Matthew Billetter to restrict parking on one side.
"We all have a clear conscience," Connell said of the commission recommendation. We feel we did the right thing."
On May 13, the council voted 9-1, with Connell opposed, to remove the signs, after other Sadler Avenue residents brought forth their own petition and spoke against keeping them.
Residents argued that there have not been problems with emergency vehicles passing along the street and that there are other streets in Pittsfield that are at least as narrow and parking is allowed.
Connell said Tuesday he agrees that other streets in the city are likely narrower than Sadler Avenue, but that the Traffic Commission would not make a recommendation on those unless a complaint was referred to it by the council.
Other streets, he added, are wider than Sadler Avenue and do have parking restrictions.
Ward 1 Councilor Lisa Tully said she hasn’t seen the complaint but that her thought in this case was to follow the wishes of most Sadler Avenue residents. She said she did a survey prior to the council’s vote to remove the signs and most were for removal.
She said she knows of no incidents of emergency vehicles have problems with access to the street.
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