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.