Stop and go: Residents hope city sees light

With the December 10 re-opening of the Park Street bridge, residents on side streets surrounding Locust Avenue and Park Street are finally smiling as detoured drivers disappeared. But those smiles may soon turn to frowns if the city doesn't "see the light."

"After four months of waiting to pull out of my driveway," says Calhoun Street denizen Sandy DeKay, "I pulled out without seeing a car in sight. It was gorgeous."

But DeKay says disappointment could be in store for her and her neighbors if the city gets rid of the traffic signal at the corner of North Avenue and Park Street.

The signal was intended as a temporary fix for increased traffic at that intersection during bridge construction, but DeKay says members of the Locust Grove Neighborhood Association are pressing to make it permanent.

City spokesman Maurice Jones says a decision will have to wait until sometime in 2004.

"We'll be gathering data on traffic numbers at the beginning of the year," says Jones. "Then we'll evaluate the feasibility of keeping the light."

Park Street resident Frances Walton, however, doesn't think keeping the light is a good idea.

"All you have is more noise, more congestion of traffic, and more pollution," she says.

But Park Street resident Weldon Showalter, who lives directly across from North Avenue (and who festooned his front yard with a "Meadowcreek Parkway Alien" sculpture), says getting in and out of his driveway without the signal was nearly impossible.

"I would do anything," Showalter says, "to keep it there."

The traffic light at North and Park: Should it stay or should it go?