At Thursday’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Gabriella Circosta-Cohee, a senior civil engineer with the town’s Dept of Public Works, presented a proposal for four new parking spaces to serve as a 15-minute loading zone at the ferry access entrance on Arch Street.
As of Thursday’s meeting there was no signage indicating the parking spates were limited to 15 minutes, but as of Monday, the signage was in place.
While the ferries only run seasonally from June to September, the loading zone would remain year round. Ms Circosta-Cohee said in an email Monday that it was anticipated the loading zone would also be used for the many events hosted at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park.
Circosta-Cohee explained to the Selectmen that that the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) project in the Arch Street corridor in nearing completion. The project features the addition of Adaptive Signal Control Technology.
Also, as part of the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality (CMAQ) project, the town looked at adjusting the lane widths on Arch Street and making the area safer for pedestrians.
Arch Street has an average daily traffic volume of approximately 35,000 vehicles per day.
An adaptive traffic signal system modifies traffic signal timing parameters in real-time and in response to changes in traffic flows.
Some may already have noticed changes to the configuration of lanes and the four parking spots on Arch Street.
Also green space has been added on the north side of Arch Street, and an entrance/exit to the Island Beach parking lot was removed after Eversource finished work in the area last year.
Today there is just one entrance/exit for the parking lot.
Previously the travel lanes were very wide, and Circosta-Cohee said drivers tended to speed through the corridor.
She said DPW had met with Parking Services and Parks & Rec to talk about concerns for people loading along Arch Street in front of the ferry entrance. People bring a lot of cargo onto the ferry for overnight stays in particular.
“We are requesting to have this ordinance change to include a loading zone at this location with signage that marks it as 15 minute limit for loading,” Circosta-Cohee said.
The Selectmen mainly asked about enforcement. First Selectman Fred Camillo said it was more of a challenge to enforce 15-minute spots than spots for longer periods of time.
On Thursday Circosta-Cohee said because there was no signage indicating the four spots are a 15-minute loading zone so people were using it to park all day to use the train. (On Monday the signage had been added.)
There will be a second read on the proposal at the March 10 meeting.
In the meantime, the Selectmen invite the public to weigh in on the proposal.