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The Board of Police Commissioners (BOPC) on June 10 took a first step toward helping to remedy some of the congestion issues in the Grove and Commerce streets area, while also telling the public that more meetings are on the way.
Commerce and Grove streets are two two-way streets that meet to form a triangle near the town marina. Two popular restaurants, Lobster Landing and Shanks, are located at the intersection. There is substantial activity in the area, particularly during the summer months, and what consultant planner John Guszkowski called “a relatively poorly controlled parking and circulation plan.”
As a result, some residents have expressed concern over safety and parking issues. When the parking spots are full, some visitors park on the side of the roads, which can make navigating the streets unsafe, and has led to damage to the yards of some houses.
As a first step at finding a solution, the police commission voted to lower the speed limit in the area to 25 mph from 30 mph, effective immediately. Police Chief Vincent DeMaio said there was no logical reason for the speed limit to be 30 mph in the area.
BOPC Chairman Peter Niles said that remedying the issue had so far “defied simple solutions.” An informal proposal to make one of the roads one way received pushback from some in the area when it was discussed earlier in the spring. Additionally, Niles said the Harbor Commission was wary of any plans that could limit the spaces available for boat trailers.
“The more people you talk to, [the more] it gets complicated,” Niles said.
Niles said the commission had to balance a desire to bring visitors to the area, and to support the businesses, with respecting the residential atmosphere of the neighborhood.
“We want the commerce, it’s good for the community, but at the same time respect the residents. We want the neighborhood to be safe,” DeMaio said.
The commission will seek solutions that would have a low cost to the town, such as adding more “No Parking” signage to the area to help the property owners in the area.
While the issues may be complicated, Niles said he did sense the commission, the residents, and the business owners were willing to work together to find a solution acceptable to all parties.
“We’re going to try and get something done before the season is out,” Niles said.
DeMaio said there would be another meeting with neighborhood stakeholders to further discuss the issue on Wednesday, June 26 at 6 p.m. in the Police Department community room.
“We really take a stock in what the stakeholders who live in that area think,” DeMaio said.
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