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Seventh Street parking ban moves again

TURNERS FALLS — At this point it’s probably safest just to watch the signs on Seventh Street.

The street’s parking rules have changed again, for the third time in the last three months, over protests from residents.

The ban has now returned to its former format, which is to say there is no parking on the north side of the street.

Originally implemented to make the street passable during church services and events, which side of the street on which to allow parking became a point of contention between the residents and institutions lining the street.

The latest solution voted by the Board of Selectmen was to split the difference, banning parking on one side for about half the length of the street and then on the alternate side.

On Monday, Police Chief Charles “Chip” Dodge III asked the board to revert to the old arrangement.

The board ultimately voted to do so, over opposition from two street residents and the library director. Church representatives were not present.

Dodge said he had thought the previous move was a good compromise, but had had multiple complaints in the two days the signs were in place and considered the new layout dangerous.

Residents had originally asked the Board of Selectmen for a change, whether to a weekend only daytime ban to prevent the church parking bottleneck or to eliminate parking the other side of the street. The board moved the ban to the other side, then switched to alternating-side parking following protests from the Rev. Stanley Aksamit of Our Lady of Peace church.

Seventh Street resident Charles Choleva said he felt the church had more weight in the discussion than residents.

“I hate to say it this way but you have taxpaying residents on that side of the street and they’re the ones having any kind of parking in front of their houses taken away, whereas the church, they have parking on L Street, parking in the church parking lot, they have parking on T Street,” Choleva said.

The board also instructed the police department, town administrator and Department of Public Works to find a way to create additional parking on Avenue A from the Seventh Street junction to the Greenfield Savings Bank branch, past the Food City parking lot.

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