Traffic Flow an Issue in Two Reading Neighborhoods
Ash and Green Streets and South Street and Jacob Way are the problem streets.
Two groups of residents from different Reading neighborhoods are unhappy with the traffic flow in their neighborhoods.
Some residents of the Ash and Green Street area want more traffic controls.
Some in the South Street area are concerned about the new, curving intersection that is supposed to deter cut-through traffic from their neighborhood.
More drivers are taking upper Ash Street since it became two-way to avoid the traffic lights on Main Street, Pamela Adrian told the selectmen Tuesday night and driving fast -- as fast as on Main Street.
Adding to the problem: the width – or rather, the narrowness -- of Green Street, 19 feet at its most narrow, she said, for two lanes of traffic and parking. Further, with no sidewalks, some residents’ walkways quickly end in the street, according to the discussion.
This group wants, she said, to protect property, residents and pedestrians in that area.
They want a four-way stop sign at Ash and Green Streets, with painted crosswalks; curb painted yellow where parking is illegal; studying whether to make Green Street one way between Ash and High Streets; and traffic enforcement, Adrian said, especially on the one-way section of Green Street between Main and Ash Streets. Or make that section two-way, Adrian suggested.
None of these suggestions are expensive, she said.
Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner said he would take those issues to a town task force which was scheduled to meet Wednesday.
Installing a stop sign would require a hearing, he said. Selectman Stephen Goldy said he was “amazed” the long stretch of Green Street is two-way.
After Adrian’s presentation, several of the roughly 10 area residents and the selectmen also talked about delivery trucks parking on Ash Street, impeding the flow of traffic.
Goldy said the group would be invited back to a selectmen’s meeting to follow up on the issues raised Tuesday.
At the south edge of town, the intersection of South Street and Jacob Way was changed last week so South Street curves toward Jacob Way and then back, rather than running straight. Why? To reduce cut-through traffic, according to several selectmen.
The selectmen held a hearing on putting stop signs at Jacob Way northbound, the exit from the Reading Woods condominium development, where it meets South Street, and on South Street east at the same intersection. A stop sign cannot be legally installed until the selectmen approve it, according to the discussion.
The selectmen had already approved the intersection in concept, Hechenbleikner said. The state Department of Transportation said “no” to a stop sign for drivers westbound on South Street at the intersection, Hechenbleikner said, because it might back traffic up onto Main Street.
At issue for some residents was the new configuration of the intersection.
Both pushed-out sides of the new curve may be pulled back a bit, according to the conversation. One of the town’s fire trucks cannot maneuver straight through the new curve, according to the discussion.
The new road configuration is confusing, according to some of the 12 residents who attended the hearing, especially for drivers heading east on South Street, toward Main, who don’t know whether drivers heading west on South Street will turn into Reading Woods or continue down South Street.
The developer of Reading Woods would have preferred to leave the intersection of Jacob Way and South Street as it was, Hechenbleikner said. A “preponderance” of area residents wanted the roadway configuration changed, he said, to reduce cut-through traffic and vehicles’ speed.
The selectmen voted to make the stop signs permanent.