Officials discuss going back to two-way traffic on Franklin Street

Officials discuss going back to two-way traffic on Franklin Street

NORTH PROVIDENCE – Residents in the area of Charles Street are complaining about unintended spreading of traffic issues brought on by converting Franklin Street to a one-way street, and officials are now contemplating going back to a full two-way pattern.

The Town Council last week referred the matter back to the subcommittee level after Councilor Stefano Famiglietti said he would like to see Franklin go back to a two-way street.

In a connected matter, the council passed an ordinance prohibiting parking on one side of adjoining Garfield Street after public safety officials investigated and found that emergency vehicles couldn’t get through if cars were parked on both sides.

Residents have complained that recent changes in the area have forced motorists to find other ways in and out of the neighborhood, often speeding even more as drivers try to get to their destination just as quickly as before.

Famiglietti said this week that he intends to put traffic issues in this District 2 neighborhood back on the agenda for the November meeting, including requests by residents for more stop signs on Lojai Boulevard in response to speeding problems there.

The Franklin/Garfield issue was one of numerous traffic matters discussed at the Oct. 1 meeting.

Tina Medeiros, of 61 Garfield St., said she heard nothing from officials prior to the one-way pattern being instituted this year or the no parking plan being put up for approval. These changes, said the 29-year resident, are affecting “multitudes of people.” She said she never saw the claimed problem of cut-through traffic before the one-way was instituted earlier this year, but she said now people are flying around and don’t even know where they are going.

Compounding the parking problem on Garfield, said District 2 Councilor Ken Amoriggi, is that many of the families on the street have grown so large, after living here over so many years, that some homes have four cars.

“That’s why this measure had to be taken,” he explained to Medeiros.

He noted that discussions about changes have been going on for the past year and a half.

Medeiros seemed to accept the explanation on the safety vehicles, and appeared relieved that parking will only be prohibited on one side of Garfield. She said she doesn’t really have a problem with the stop signs added on Garfield, but wants to see Franklin go back to a two-way street.

Officials earlier this year switched back to two-way traffic for a 250-foot stretch of Franklin after complaints that customers were having trouble getting to businesses in the area.

Medeiros said she is now one of those who refuses to drive out to Mineral Spring Avenue to go right on Charles Street, saying she’s instead using Adams Street and Gillen Avenue to get to Charles.

“We’re not solving the traffic problem, we’re just dispersing it elsewhere,” she said.

Local police told The Breeze two weeks ago that they planned to maintain one-way traffic along Franklin as they continued to monitor and assess the neighborhood to gather more data. A petition has been circulating in the neighborhood asking that the changes here be reversed.

Garfield Street resident Jim Peebles is one of the residents who previously complained about speeding vehicles through the neighborhood.

Part of what police say they have been checking into is whether vehicles may be using the stretch from Charles Street to Adams Street as a cut-through, as Medeiros says she does.