PLAINVILLE - Several residents of Pierce Street voiced their opposition to the Farmington Canal Heritage Trail coming through their neighborhood at last week’s council meeting.
Members of the group, including Dorothy Mason, Nancy Blake, Kathy LaBella and Roberta Lauria, shared their concerns about the proposed bike path at the meeting. The town will have a collaborative workshop on the trail Oct. 18 from 6 to 8 p.m. at Plainville High School at 47 Robert Holcomb Way.
“I’m opposed to this plan mostly because of the safety issues,” said Mason. “I can’t imagine with the traffic coming out of the condo complex that someone won’t get hit. I’m always dodging cars coming out of the driveway.”
Town Manager Robert E. Lee previously said that a traffic study was conducted on Pierce Street from late August to early September, which determined that in over a week’s time 615 cars traveled down the road and 449 traveled down it during weekends. He said that these were not significantly high numbers.
“Even if we doubled the numbers there is less than one car every 30 seconds on that road,” said Lee. “We also took speed readings on the road, which has a 25 mph speed limit. Eighty-five percent of vehicles were traveling 30 mph or less and those numbers don’t indicate significant speeding. The average speed was actually 23.5 miles an hour.” LaBella read a letter to the council which claimed that the town’s traffic counter missed several vehicles. She requested that the letter and information in a packet she provided, be included in the public record of the meeting.
“Over 100 vehicles from the Pierce Street condo complexes will have to pass through trail users in order to access the street,” she said. “With full knowledge of this as an issue the town placed a traffic counter in an area on the street where this traffic pattern was minimized. According to a neighborhood hand count, the counter missed 80 vehicles exiting and entering the complexes during a four hour period and missed 112 vehicles on the street overall.”
LaBella also presented the council with information about crashes that have occurred on Pierce Street and other bicycle versus motor vehicle accidents from other communities with trails.
“Is it of any surprise to you that Pierce Street residents are upset?” her letter concluded. “We learned that this location was considered in a 2009 study. It has been under consideration right along during this recent process, yet we were never asked to attend a meeting until our petition. Frankly, the town showed more concern about the impact of the path on the town garage than on the privacy and safety concerns of your Pierce Street constituents.”
Brian M. Johnson can be reached at 860-973-1806 or firstname.lastname@example.org.