Second Street in Turners Falls could change to one-way traffic

  • The Unity Park parking lot in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • The entryway to the Unity Park parking lot in Turners Falls. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

  • Preliminary concept designs for traffic pattern changes to Second Street and Unity Park in Turners Falls. CONTRIBUTED IMAGE

  • Nova Real Estate co-founder Peter Chilton presents preliminary concept designs for traffic pattern changes to Second Street and Unity Park. Highlighted in blue is the portion of Second Street that would receive diagonal parking spaces. CONTRIBUTED IMAGE

Staff Writer
Published: 3/23/2022 4:53:49 PM

MONTAGUE — The Parks and Recreation Commission and Nova Real Estate co-founder Peter Chilton discussed the prospect of converting a portion of Second Street to one-way traffic and implementing additional public parking during a meeting Monday afternoon.

Nova Real Estate is mulling the prospect of constructing a 5,000-square-foot retail building at its half-acre lot adjacent to Unity Park’s baseball field. The idea, developed in conversation with Town Planner Walter Ramsey, is seen as a practical move in anticipation of parking and traffic issues that would be caused, some of which Chilton has already observed with the lot in the vicinity of existing retail space. The traffic pattern change would affect part of the street between Nova Motorcycles and the half-acre lot, both of which are owned by Nova.

Ramsey emphasized that the concept is in early “exploratory” phases, and no decision was made Monday, with the Parks and Recreation Commission opting to hold site observations before reconvening at a later date.

“How does that affect the park?” Chilton asked rhetorically. “How does that affect our businesses? It was something when we worked with an architectural firm early on in this stage to discuss a master plan for what we wanted to do, one of the things they recommended was to switch this to a one-way and it might slow traffic down. … It also might improve traffic flow in the park.”

One of the preliminary graphics presented shows the larger Unity Park lot also converted into one-way traffic where vehicles could enter from First Street or Second Street and drive through the lot clockwise. Speed bumps were also sketched into the design on the side of the lot closest to Williams Way.

Ramsey said while the idea would likely benefit the community as a whole, “a lot of public process” is necessary to move forward.

First, he said, Nova Real Estate should formalize a plan for the proposed new building. Regarding traffic pattern changes specifically, Ramsey said the Selectboard would need to be consulted for approval. Above all, he reiterated, no aspect of what has been discussed is set in stone.

“Since it’s still early,” Ramsey said, “it’s still very subject to change.”

Still, Ramsey continued, Nova’s dedication to pursuing a change that would benefit both its business and the town is admirable.

“It’s encouraging to see private investments in and around Unity Park and around Second Street,” he said, “because the town has invested a lot of money into that section of downtown.”

Reach Julian Mendoza at 413-772-0261, ext. 261 or jmendoza@recorder.com.


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