Traffic issues in the Ward 6 neighborhoods between Squire Road and Malden Street continue to be a hot-button topic in the city. At Monday night’s meeting, the City Council voted to request Mayor Brian Arrigo to authorize a $25,000 traffic study of the side streets along Squire Road from Washington Avenue to Broadway.
The traffic study stems from a decision the Traffic Commission made in August to institute a 60-day trial changing the directions of one-way traffic on Sigourney Street and Derby Road to help ease traffic issues on those streets. In the wake of that decision, there has been a ripple effect increasing traffic to and from Squire Road on the other residential streets in the neighborhood.
“The Traffic Commission, after hearing from residents, asked that I seek funding from the council in the amount of $25,000,” said Ward 6 Councillor Richard Serino.
Serino said Traffic Commission Chair Paul Argenzio did some research with traffic engineers to arrive at that ballpark figure for the study. “Ultimately, the goal is to create a traffic mitigation strategy for the entire neighborhood that works not only for the residents of Sigourney Street and Derby Road, but also just as importantly, for the residents of Augustus Street, Gore Road, Grover Street and Charger Street,” said Serino.
Ward 3 Councillor Anthony Cogliandro cosponsored the motion calling for the traffic study, since some of the side streets heading toward Broadway are in his ward. “I don’t know what the answer is to provide relief for everybody, but I don’t like to provide relief to one person and then have another person on another street have issues,” said Cogliandro. “I’m not a traffic engineer, but I think this is the right answer for now and, hopefully, we can come up with something that makes everyone happy.”
The 60-day trial period for Derby and Sigourney is scheduled to end on Nov. 1. The Traffic Commission was expected to discuss next steps on either reverting to the original traffic patterns or keeping the changes at its meeting scheduled for Thursday.
At Monday’s City Council meeting, several residents discussed the impact the changes have had on them and their streets. Gennaro Cataldo, who owns homes on Augustus Street and Derby Road, spoke for a number of residents who have been impacted by the ripple effect since the direction changes took effect in September. Cataldo asked the City Council to amend its motion to make the study funding contingent on the Traffic Commission reverting to the original traffic patterns. Serino noted that it is up to the Traffic Commission, and not the City Council, to make the decision on the traffic patterns.
“The reason for our request is based in logic and common sense,” said Cataldo. “The Traffic Commission stated they would revert their action if the decision negatively impacted the community, and there has been no positive impact to any of our 11 community streets from Marshall Street to Charger Street except for the two sections that have changed.”
The changes have positively impacted 43 homes on two half streets, while 349 homes have been negatively impacted, said Cataldo.
Michelle Kelley of Derby Road noted that her road has been dealing with the negative impacts of increasing traffic for decades. “We have been there for over 25 years and knew it was a busier street when we bought the property, but there were nowhere near the businesses that exist now,” said Kelley.
Kelley said the straw that broke the camel’s back was the approval for a Popeye’s drive-through restaurant on Squire Road at Derby Street. “I don’t think any one side street should have to withstand all that traffic,” she said.