By K.B. Sherman, Contributing Writer
Grafton – At the Aug. 2 meeting of the Grafton Board of Selectmen, the board discussed with Assistant Town Engineer Brian Szczurko the lack of parking spaces in Grafton center and how to best manage traffic there.
The officials discussed the prior decision to make Jordan Boulevard a one-way street, complete with signs and flashing lights. Several selectmen noted that drivers ignore the one-way street signs and lights and just turn the wrong way from Route 122 to North Street. They then discussed potential parking spaces to be created on Jordan Boulevard and whether that would block traffic.
Selectmen raised the question of how many parking spaces would be created if the street reverted to two-way, and where would those spaces be located?
Szczurko indicated that he had understood there would be nine diagonal parking spaces behind One Grafton Common and across the street from Jordan’s Garage. According to him, there are no laws specifically dealing with parking space numbers or arrangement. Thus, anyone backing out of one of the diagonal spaces risks an accident with traffic, especially drivers who may have a problem with looking over their shoulders.
Selectman Craig Dauphinais interjected that the road should remain one-way, especially since making the road two-way would sacrifice three of the planned parking spaces even though to do so would relieve some traffic at the center of town.
“We have a 33-foot width of the road and people are already parking on the Jordan Garage side. This should be plenty of room,” he said.
He then noted that it was unfortunate that the town did not have access to the Jordan Garage parking lot which, he said, is almost always empty. Selectman Bruce Spinney explained that the lot is actually on railroad property and is being leased to Jordan’s Garage.
Szczurko said 12 to 16 spaces would fit there.
Town Administrator Timothy McInerney noted that the current situation for Jordan Boulevard had required a Town Meeting to create the one-way thoroughfare. Dauphinais countered by saying that if the town had made a mistake in creating a dangerous intersection/turn, a change needed to be considered.
Dauphinais said that the board had to do something “because people are parking all over the place.”
“People park all over North Street, too,” added Szczurko.
According to McInerney, 24 feet is wide enough to accommodate two-way traffic, even with planned diagonal parking. This then again devolved into the idea of using the railroad’s right of way if possible for more parking.
Dauphinais stated that the board had to make some decisions, suggesting that Jordan Boulevard again be made a two-way street with extra parking.
“I think the people in town would appreciate it,” he said.
Selectmen considered options such as purchasing the Jordan Garage for extra space, knocking down the old fire station for parking, and making Jordan Boulevard a two-way road again. They also discussed how to stop wrong-way traffic on the one-way street and if there was a need for more input from the chief of police.
The hearing closed after Szczurko acknowledged that he had enough board input to come up with different recommendations.