Vol. III No. 21 11/1/2022
Notes from the Special Select Board Meeting, October 17, Hybrid meeting
- Patrick White, Chair
- Chuck Cardillo
- Jamie Minacci
- Michael Canales
- 38 people present via Zoom
- Approximately 50 attending in person
- Chair called the meeting to order and introduced the single item on the agenda: Main Street Redesign
- Three possibilities were suggested
- Do nothing beyond required maintenance ($150,000)
- The "oval" and raised crosswalks with flower beds ($550,000)
- The roundabout ($3million plus taking private property, and reconfiguring the corner)
- Canales explained option #b was the preferred plan and option #c was eliminated as too costly and too radical a change. Also, there were expense and problems attendant on the Town taking private property.
- Consultant engineer Van K. explained option #b in detail. He also explained the crosswalk plan including removing the crosswalk at Minkler's Insurance. It would add a crosswalk at Red Lion Corner (from Pine Street to Judy Abdalla's). The crosswalks would be raised
- White opened the meeting to public comment — 20 people spoke
- Mark Mills — opposed to removal of crosswalk (at Minkler's). Preferred roundabout. Asked consultant if the two remaining crosswalks were too far apart? Consultant: No. Asked about eliminating #c. Consultant said it was too expensive and there was not enough room for it — would have to take land from three of four corners to meet state requirements.
- Cardillo suggested taking out crosswalk at Minkler's "try it" and put it back if doesn't work.
- White asked, "Do we have to remove the crosswalk?" Canales "It could be a liability issue as it does not comply with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulations. It is risk/reward."
- Fred Rutberg stated his opinion that option #b is not an improvement. He wants the roundabout and is opposed to removal of crosswalk
- Joanne Conroy opposed to the additional crosswalk at Pine and Main (at Abdulla's)
- Paul Sundberg wanted to do nothing until after testing whether removing the one stop sign at Pine and Main solves the problem
- Tom LaBelle wanted a "citizen board" — a study committee of residents familiar with the corner to suggest options. Also asked if Planning Board and Historic Commission were asked to comment
- Shelby Marshall suggested arrows and signage to direct traffic (direct all in one direction like a roundabout?)
- Ron Brouker, Chair ConCom, feared some of the lines suggested to be drawn on pavement looked like parking area to tourists. Tourists were parking there this summer. Brouker was also concerned that raised oval at corner of Pine and Main and raised crosswalks would interfering with plowing.
- Pat Flinn asked how many parking spaces would be lost by moving rather than eliminating crosswalk at Minkler's — she calculated 3 total. Canales confirmed — 3. She likes the oval on the pavement and thinks it is effective as long as folks use it properly. Cardillo agreed. He said driver should always keep diagram (painted oval) on driver's left as proceed into intersection, "DO NOT DRIVE OVER IT"
- Louise Gachet believed jaywalking would increase if crosswalk removed. She also asked if the crash stats changed after speed limit reduced from 25 to 20mph Consultant said no. Consultant added Red Lion corner is NOT deemed a dangerous corner by DOT. Number of accidents were only 7-8/year and in 2022 3-4. In all cases low severity. White explained that by state law, Stockbridge has to return speed limit to 25 mph (Stockbridge only has choice between 25 and 30 mph)
- Someone else predicted that if crosswalk removed, everyone would jaywalk
- Matt Chase Vanasse, Hangen, Brustlin, Inc (VHB) said raised surfaces slowed traffic. Also shared that the roundabout impossible given MA regulations for the size of a roundabout and space available at that intersection
- Roxanne McCaffrey, who worked on the plan during her term on Select Board, spoke on behalf of the preferred option #b as the best to ease traffic and preserve Stockbridge Main Street made famous by Norman Rockwell and the fame and charm of the village that supports our tourist industry
- Bronley Boyd was concerned that tractor trailers that might be 70 feet long make the turn onto Main Street from South Street without going into oncoming traffic lane.
- Keith Raftery suggested any accidents were not a function of the corner itself but were due to distracted driving. Suggested signage with clear information so drivers not trying to drive and read GPS simultaneously
- John Hart suggested remove the stop sign which many believe causes the problem
- Anita Schwerner asked about a police presence directing traffic at the corner as there used to be. Cardillo was adamant "no police officer"
- Kate Fletcher, Chair of Planning Board, had several questions for consultant and then suggested that we abandon all three choices and proceed incrementally
- Jim Finnerty said $550,000 was real money and we should think before spending it. Finnerty agreed with John Beacco's letter: do nothing construction wise. Finnerty also opposed to removing center crosswalk.
- Mary Hart adamantly opposed removing center crosswalk
- Mark Mills asked if center oval was made longer? Consultant: No. It is actually smaller
- White thanked everyone for coming and for their "good ideas and civility"
Photo: Lionel Delevingne