Council discusses trash, two-way traffic, speed limits and train whistles

Pulaski logoBy MIKE WILLIAMS

The Patriot

During the council comments portion of last week’s meeting of Pulaski Town Council, several councilmen gave comments on a number of issues, including trash, two-way traffic, speed limits and train whistles.

Councilman Brooks Dawson spoke on the increased visibility local businesses are going to have once the town goes to two-way traffic on what are now one-way streets.

“You can argue anything a hundred different ways, but I truly think that [two-way traffic] is just going to be a huge impact on Main Street,” Dawson said about the sometimes controversial issue of changing from one-way to two-way traffic on Third Street and Main Street.

On trash pickup, Dawson said change can be frustrating.

“People hear different things and rumors and stuff,” Dawson said, noting one part of the trash issue that has the most potential for confusion involves small businesses.

“There is potential there for our small businesses to possibly be unsure of or be confused about the change … will they be able to continue to do what they normally do” with trash pickup.

“I just want to say, contact the town,” Dawson advised. “Don’t listen to someone else. If you’ve gotten information either from a garbage vendor or a neighbor or whoever, if you’re concerned the change is going to impact you in a negative way, contact the town. We have information to make sure you’re taken care of the right way.”

On speed limits throughout the town, Dawson said he personally thinks “the stretch of road – once you get past the hospital – on Route 11 to the elementary school could be looked at to go to 45 mph through that stretch as a transition to going to 55.”

“I think the 35 mph through the hospital and that residential section with its turn-ins and turn-outs is fantastic, but once you get past the hospital there’s only one entrance or exit in that stretch until you get to the church. I know it’s a small stretch of road, but it’s probably an unnecessary stretch in my opinion to be 35,” Dawson said, adding he thinks that should be looked at in the future.

Councilman Jamie Radcliffe remarked that the recent Christmas Parade “was the best I’ve seen in many years.”

Councilman Tyler Clontz noted the parking lots available to shoppers while West Main Street is closed need more visible signage. Town staff has put out more visible signage at the lots including signs that tell walkers the sidewalks along the closed portion of Main Street are still open.

Councilman Michael Reis commented there is probably “going to be some hiccups when it comes to the new garbage collection.”

“Any time you do a new thing there will be hiccups, but I promise the town staff and the folks at GFL will do their best to fix any problems and make it work,” Reis said. “That’s probably not the best thing to say, but it’s the honest thing to say.”

He advised town residents to reach out to the town if they have problems.

Mayor Shannon Collins sked about completing sidewalk work on Ninth Street and Randolph Avenue.

And train whistles…

“There’s a train that goes through at 3 a.m. and blows its whistle EVERY DAY! That can’t be great for anyone staying in the Jackson Park Inn,” Collins said.

On closure of Main Street, Collins said, “We have to remember our businesses on Main Street and support them … and support them like you never have before. We cannot afford to lose any businesses.

“We are moving forward and we’re looking better than we have in a long time, and we’ve got to keep moving forward. But just support our local people – that’s the main thing,” Collins said.

On Collins’ comment concerning the train whistles, Town Manager Darlene Burcham said a representative of the Jackson Park Inn has approached the town about the “horn blowing that occurs in the middle of the night.”

Burcham said Jackson Park Inn had made a request of the town to ask for a “quiet zone” for railroad track from Randolph Avenue to Washington Avenue during the overnight hours.

Burcham said she wanted to bring the request to council before she forwarded it on to Norfolk Southern to see if council is interested in having the request evaluated by NS.

She said the Jackson Park Inn is willing to pay for any study that would be conducted by NS.

Burcham said she had discussed the situation with both the local public safety agencies whose only concern is that the horns do alert certain individuals who choose to walk the train tracks that a train is coming.

Reis remarked he didn’t have a problem asking but felt the railroad would probably reject the request.

Burcham said her research had found that the City of Salem has three or four sections of railroad where they have quiet zones.

Collins noted that walking the train tracks is illegal anyway, since it is the private property of Norfolk Southern.

“That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen,” quipped Town Attorney Spencer Rygas.

Burcham noted that the Dec. 20 meeting of council will be the final one for Councilman Lane Penn. She noted the town will be holding a reception in honor of Penn and his 24 years of service to the town that day from 5 to 6:30 p.m. at the Historic Train Station just prior to his last meeting.

Also, she announced she had received the retirement notification of Town Engineer Bill Pedigo.

His retirement will be effective Jan. 3.

Burcham said the town will also hold a reception in Pedigo’s honor on Dec. 22 at the train station from 2 to 5 p.m.

Both the public and town staff are invited to both receptions.

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