City’s Transportation Committee Makes Recommendation to Council; Where Walnut & North Street Intersect

Walnut Street - the Subject of Controversy in the Neighborhood

By Carol McCracken (Post # 838)

This afternoon the City’s Transportation Committee voted 2 to 1 to recommend to the city council that the current one-way travel restriction headed up Walnut Street to North Street be removed and returned to the original two way traffic for the length of Walnut Street. The vote for this – Option 1 – was supported by Councilors Dave Marshall and Ed Suslovic. Chair Kevin Donoghue did not support Option 1. Public Services Director Michael J. Bobinsky, presented two options to the Committee for its consideration.

The issue of the intersection surfaced last November 10 at a District l city meeting at East End Community School on North Street. Parents of school age children attending the School expressed concern oversafety for their children walking to school. It was decided at the time to ask the City Council to approve this one-way restriction. It was implemented earlier this year. However, residents of the immediate area objected to this restriction.

Vanna Carmona, a North Street resident, said: “Nobody I know wants a one-way street on Walnut Street.” She also expressed concern about curb extensions and other enhancements available by the City because of the added costs for them and problems with snow removal that could complicate winter driving. Another neighbor, Anna Lansberg, said: “This is winter driving in Maine. Just avoid Walnut Street when necessary.”

Councilor Suslovic asked if there had been any reported accidents at this intersection. Commander Malloch said no. “Maybe we are over reacting,” responded Suslovic. During the public comment time, the Fire Chief said he did not like the proposed Option Two which required a 4 way stop sign at the intersection at the top of the Hill. “It would be a challenge for the trucks to negotiate,” he said. That was the option that Chair Donoghue supported. “This is a path-way to a school,” he said.

For more background information, please visit # 630, dated November 10, 2010.