By Sue Ellen Woodcock
Business owners and residents are getting ready for a traffic study that’s going to test the traffic flow with a few changes to the French Square and center in general.
The study will run from Sept. 1 to Oct. 31 and will close Hagman Road, reverse the direction on Adams Street, make Jefferson Street extension a one-way towards Putnam and allow a left-hand turn at the end of Woodside by Cervizzis, to allow vehicles to go up Bartlett Road. The egress at Citizens Bank on Putnam Road will be flipped and jersey barriers will be placed in areas for pedestrian traffic. The Hagman Road parking lot will be redesigned, losing 12 parking spaces along Hagman Road. There are 643 parking spaces in Winthrop Center, which covers an extensive area around the center.
Changing people’s parking habits will take some time. A two-hour parking area may go in and business owners and employees are encouraged to park further away from their businesses.
“There’s going to be a change in parking in the center,” said Town Manager James McKenna.
During the study officials encourage input from those who reside in and do business in the Center District. Officials met last Thursday with Center business owners to continue discussions about the traffic study and other Center work. The town’s master plan, made with the center in mind, is driving this work and now a proposal for a community center has come forward.
“We all have a vested interest in the outcome,” McKenna said. “Parking is always the biggest challenge.”
He noted that the Center Business District work will take the better part of two years. McKenna said he wants business owners to let the town know their needs. One issue was deliveries. It has been discussed to have trucks park in the Pauline Street lot and wheel deliveries into the center. McKenna explained that they need to create people coming and going from the center to create the pedestrian flow everyone is looking for.
“What you have seen with (recent) gas line work is a little sign of what’s to come,” McKenna said. “We have to endure the disturbance of change.”
In order to facilitate this pilot traffic program we are holding an informational meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 15 at 2p.m. and again on Wednesday, Aug. 16 at 7p.m. at the E.B. Newton School Lyceum Room.