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Rep. Mark to attend forum on Munson St. issues


Greenfield Recorder 11/06/2014, Page C03

By ANITA FRITZ Recorder Staff

GREENFIELD — Now that town officials and Munson Street residents have brainstormed some ideas and solutions for the increase in traffic along Munson Street, it’s the state’s turn.

Rep. Paul Mark will meet with residents and town officials next Monday from 6 to 8 p.m. in Robbins Memorial Church at 55 Munson St. to talk about how the state might be able to help.

Town Council Vice President Karen “Rudy” Renaud, who lives on Munson Street and represents Precinct 7, said the council’s Community Relations and Education Committee will also join in the conversation.

The follow- up discussion from Oct. 7 will continue to discuss issues like speeding — the speed limit is 30 mph on Munson Street and residents there claim some motorists travel at between 40 and 45 mph — increased vehicular and pedestrian traffic and safety fears of some of the neighbors.

Residents on Munson Street say they are not only afraid for the safety of those who walk along the street with young children to get to the courthouse or social service agencies, but for themselves and their properties.

Some of the residents who live closest to the courthouse have said they are concerned about break-ins and about a pedestrian getting hit by a speeding car.

Traffic has increased quite a bit since the courthouse moved to Munson Street, they say.

Some suggestions are to put a speed wagon along the stretch of Munson Street from Fairview Street West to the Greenfield Corporate Center, where the courthouse will be located until reconstruction of a new facility is complete on Hope Street.

Residents would also like to see stop signs made brighter and more visible and would like the town to turn the threeway stop at the top of Fairview into a four-way stop.

Greenfield Police Chief Robert Haigh said he will increase patrols in that area, but can’t promise how often. He said another option would be for residents to start a neighborhood watch like the one in the Hillside Park area.

Other suggestions have included getting the court and social service agencies involved to help educate people about bus routes to the corporate center, as well as subsidized fares.

Munson Street residents said they are particularly concerned about winter conditions, when an already narrow road becomes even tighter.

They have also expressed concern about strangers going into their mailboxes and cigarette butts being left on lawns. Litter is another complaint.

The town has discussed the possibility of spending about $125,000 to install a sidewalk on one side of Munson Street from Fairview to the corporate center, but residents are not keen on that idea, they said.

Mayor William Martin said he believes many of the pedestrians traveling along Munson Street are homeless individuals and families headed to the courthouse and social service agencies for help.

Martin said some of the behavioral problems seen up on Munson Street over the past few months won’t be controlled by installing a sidewalk, but isn’t sure what might control them.

He said many of the residents there, some of whom are seniors, don’t want a sidewalk because it will take some of their property and they will have to shovel it, which they’ve never had to do in the past.