The Revere Traffic Commission held its regular monthly meeting last Thursday in the City Councillor Joseph A. Del Grosso Council Chambers of Revere City Hall. On hand for the session were City Planner Frank Stringi, who was sitting as the Acting Chairperson because the former chair, Paul Argenzio, is now a member of the City Council to which he was elected in November, Fire Chief Chris Bright, Revere Police Lieut. Sean Randall, and DPW Supt. Don Ciaramella.
The initial item on the agenda was a public hearing on the controversial proposal from HYM, the owner-developer of Suffolk Downs, for significant changes and improvements to alleviate traffic congestion at the interchange of the Revere Beach Parkway, Route 16, and Route 145 (Winthrop Ave.). The piece of the project that has drawn the ire of area residents also calls for making Harris St. (which meets Winthrop Ave. just before the interchange) one-way for its entire length (away from Winthrop Ave.), which will achieve the twin goals of helping to alleviate traffic back-ups by removing cut-through traffic from that neighborhood.
The language of the proposal on the agenda was as follows: “Continued discussion regarding traffic improvements for the Suffolk Downs development in Revere. The following pedestrian and traffic safety improvements will be discussed and voted on:
The length of Harris Street between Winthrop Avenue and Beach Avenue will be converted from two-way to one-way Northbound, and a single block of Sewall Street from Harris Street to Bixby Street will be converted from two-way to one-way Westbound. These changes are proposed to improve signalized intersection operations and reduce neighborhood traffic (Amend Schedule V of Title 10, One Way Streets). The Suffolk Downs development proponent will be installing traffic control signage, deriving from the improvements, at the Harris/Sewall, Harris/Butler, Harris/Beach, and Harris/Eustis intersections and provide the City of Revere an allowance, to be used at the City’s discretion, for potential future traffic improvements in the area.”
The project has been pending before the commission since the fall, but after there was significant community opposition at the first public meeting, HYM agreed to withdraw its proposal. HYM went back to the drawing board and made changes to its initial plan, which presumably was to be voted upon last week. However, Stringi announced at the outset of the meeting that the public hearing, and the commission’s final vote, will be delayed for another month because of additional information that will be forthcoming from the traffic engineers at the commission’s next meeting in February.
The commission also delayed taking action on its next agenda item to establish Hancock Street as a one-way heading towards Mountain Avenue, a proposal that had been put forward by then City Councilor Steven Morabito. However, Argenzio, who is now the Ward 4 Councillor, asked that the matter be taken up in February because he said he wants to send a letter to the residents of Hancock St. to make sure that they are aware of the proposal and to give them an opportunity to give him any feedback. The commission unanimously tabled the matter until its February meeting.
The one item on the agenda on which the commission did take a vote was a request from Ward 2 Councillor Ira Novoselsky to add a stop sign on Shirley Avenue eastbound at Thornton Street. “This is something that’s been talked about for a long time,” said Novoselsky. “The mayor heard complaints about the speeding down Shirley Ave. during the recent campaign. Hopefully, the stop sign will slow people down. This is a public safety issue.”
There were no opponents and the commission unanimously voted to approve installing the new stop sign.
The commission took up a number of requests from City Council President Nicholas Cogliandro. The first items were requests to amend Schedule IV of Title 10 (isolated stop signs) by adding the following stop signs:
— Harris St., northbound traffic at Sewall St.;
— Blaney St., northbound traffic at Constitution Ave.; and
— Cooledge St., southbound traffic at Constitution Ave.
The fourth was a request to amend Schedule VIII of Title 10 (parking restrictions generally) by adding the following: “Sewall St. westerly from Harris St., 50 feet on the southern side along the fence of the housing.”
The commissioners unanimously voted to move all four items to a public hearing at their February meeting, at which time they will take a vote on all four proposals.