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First Non-Civil Service Test for New Reading Police Position Draws Almost 400 Takers

Green Street to become one way, westbound, from Ash Street.

It was a first. More than 387 people took the test given in Reading as part of the application process for a new police officer position here, the first to be filled locally, rather than through the Civil Service process.  

Almost 150 test-takers – 144 of them – scored 90 or above, Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner told the selectmen Tuesday. Information is being compiled about how many are Reading residents, he said.

The test was given July 14; the town received the results three days later, on July 17, according to information in the selectmen's packet.

“All levels, all ranks of the police department are excited,” the town manager said, about the new police hiring process.

Town Meeting voted this past spring to withdraw from the Civil Service process to hire and promote police officers and superior officers. Police Chief James Cormier; Sgt. Richard Abate, president of the superior officers' association; Officer Chris Picco, president of the patrolman's association and Hechenbleikner strongly recommended that the town withdraw from the Civil Service system for Police Department hiring and promotions.

The new officer’s position is intended to address local substance abuse enforcement, according to information presented at Town Meeting.

In other action, down the road apiece, time-wise, traffic will flow only one way on Green Street – westward, toward the train tracks -- and drivers will have to stop at Ash and Green Streets.

The changes will take effect when the appropriate signage is posted, Cormier told Patch yesterday.

After a public hearing Tuesday, the Board of Selectmen approved making Green Street one way from Ash Street to the train tracks; installing stop signs on Ash Street at Green Street and making the stop sign already on Green Street just east of Ash Street legal and adding a crosswalk at that intersection.

The section of Green Street between Main and Ash Streets is already one way westbound. One-way signs will be posted there, too, according to Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner. People seem to drive down that stretch the wrong way to get to Main Street, according to previous comments from area residents

Some area residents had also asked the town to lower the speed limit on Ash Street to 20 miles per hour. That proposal would have to go to the state, Hechenbleikner said. Based on state review, the speed limit could go down, he said – or up.

You can’t use stop signs to slow traffic, Hechenbleikner said. The justification for the new signs, he said, is poor lines of sight at the intersection.

Area residents requested several traffic changes this past spring. Cars have used Ash Street as a cut through from Main Street, and speeding, since Ash became two-way on the north end, they said.

They also pointed to the narrowness of Green Street.

On the southern end of town, at South Street, engineers have recommended that the lane configuration on South Street eastbound at Main Street be modified to a left turn and through lane and a right turn only lane. The intersection is not functioning properly as is, according to background materials.

On another front, the selectmen voted to name the stretch of roadway between Haven Street and the Brande Court parking lot Atlantic Way, a nod to the former supermarket that started on Haven Street in 1922. The site is now home to the new 30 Haven St. commercial and residential building. Hechenbleikner vetoed naming the road for him.

“I would not wish that name on any place,” he wrote.

Naming a road in Reading occurs very seldom, the town manager noted.

Joe Veno August 24, 2012 at 10:17 AM
I agree, You can not use a stop sign to slow traffic. That is why the Stop signs on Grove St. at Forest St. are illegal. They do not meet State Warrents for a Stop sign.
Karen August 24, 2012 at 12:46 PM
Mass Highway has an outside contractor looking at the other end of South Street for new overpass plans on Rte 93. I'm interested in hearing what the Town if Reading knows about this. This is where those pink paint marks on the side of South Street came from.
Rowen O August 30, 2012 at 01:43 AM
Little off topic here, but what about going south on Main st towards in the center near Haven where the sign tells you right lane for right turn only and everyone crams into the lane going straight? People have no clue they can just take that quick first left and be at the light again, causes complete gridlock. Sign warning of this should be further back. Real fun in the morning.
Kevin August 30, 2012 at 02:09 AM
Rowen, You new in town? Not being rude, just asking. Ive lived in Reading for 30 years. The roadway has been set up and traffic pulling that move since I was a kid. There was talk of adding in the second lane southbound from Haven to Washington when they redid the downtown, but there just wasnt any way to do it. And to cut through the parking lot there is not an answer either. I agree that its pretty driver unfriendly but its been that way forever.
Rowen O August 30, 2012 at 06:38 PM
Honestly, I am not new, but I dont remember that specific traffic pattern before they did the road work in that area. However, I am going towards Stoneham earlier in the morning now. Maybe I am just noticing it more now.....but yes, very driver unfriendly!
Rowen O August 30, 2012 at 08:46 PM
I agree Joe, I go down that street (Grove) most every night, and have wondered how the signs arrived at that location since 3 & 4 way stop signs do not and should not be used to slow traffic, they always cause more problems and they dont appear to meet (any) of the warrant requirements.
Kevin August 31, 2012 at 12:43 AM
Well technically speaking, its only been right turn only since they reconstructed the downtown. But like I said, people have been forced to merge into the single lane southbound from Haven to Wash for as long as I can remember. Only difference now is that people ignore the signs and merge anyhow. Only thing a warning sign further north warning of the right turn only would do is give the driver more room to ignore it. Just one of those things that can only be resolved by putting in the second southbound lane. And since that isnt going to happen for a variety of reasons, just going to be a pain in the arse trafficwise
Joe Veno August 31, 2012 at 01:00 AM
Rowen O you are correct there is one big change that was made to the roadway when they reconstructed the square. Before the traffic going south had an area from Haven St southbound approx 200 ft to merge left into one lane. That has been taken away when they bumped out the sidewalk in that area and there is no merge lane there any more that is why it is painted on the street and a sign installed right turn only lane. I do agree the warning sign is to close to the intersection.

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