Westminster council keeps two-way street

August 09, 1994|By Donna E. Boller | Donna E. Boller,Sun Staff Writer

The Westminster City Council decided last night to keep Manchester Avenue a two-way street.

The council also endorsed an agreement with the Westminster Cemetery Co. that will help solve residents' parking problems, over cost-related objections from Councilman Stephen R. Chapin Sr. and Councilwoman Rebecca A. Orenstein.

Mr. Chapin said a $100,000 cost estimate from a cemetery board member for the city's share of implementing the agreement "is scary to me."

At a public hearing before the council last month, Manchester Avenue and Webster Street residents overwhelmingly opposed making the avenue one way.

The council scheduled the hearing after receiving a petition to make Manchester Avenue one way northbound from East Main Street to Buena Vista Drive.

The agreement that Mayor W. Benjamin Brown worked out with the cemetery board includes a city pledge to install a curb and paving on Manchester Avenue to channel storm water runoff away from cemetery lots that lie below street level.

In return, the board will allow residents who lack off-street parking to park on cemetery property along Manchester Avenue.

The cemetery board also agreed to give the city a right of way for a future turn lane from Ralph Street onto Greenwood Avenue, in exchange for a city promise to share the cost of a fence on the Ralph Street side of the cemetery. Mayor Brown estimated the city's share of the fence cost at $1,500 to $2,000.

Mr. Chapin said his opposition to the agreement was not based on personal preferences -- his backyard faces the cemetery property along Ralph Street.

"As far as a chain link fence behind my property, that doesn't bother me at all," Mr. Chapin said. He criticized the proposed agreement for failing to spell out what percentage of the fencing cost the city is to contribute.

Ms. Orenstein said she was concerned that Manchester Avenue improvements "have suddenly become a capital improvements program priority based on parking."

Other council members countered that the city was promising only to make the improvements as soon as feasible and that they would probably be included in the 1995-1996 budget year.

The council asked Thomas B. Beyard, public works director, to provide project cost estimates within a month.

Hilary Byrne, a Manchester Avenue resident who helped start the petition drive, thanked the mayor and Mr. Beyard for their efforts to provide parking. But she pointed out that the agreement won't help reduce speeding along the street, another concern that sparked the petition drive.

On another street-related issue, the council reversed a decision. Members voted to restore 24th Street, an alley that runs parallel to Webster Street, to two-way traffic.

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