2017-11-08 / Front Page

One-Way in Walton

Street Redesign Proposal Irks Residents
By Lillian Browne

The guide rails on Shepard Street in Walton are not secure, due to bank erosion, officials said. 
Lillian Browne/The Reporter The guide rails on Shepard Street in Walton are not secure, due to bank erosion, officials said. Lillian Browne/The Reporter WALTON - Residents took Walton Village Trustees to task over a proposal to redesign Shepard Street as a one-way street, at enormous expense, at a public hearing on Nov. 6. There was standing room only at the 40 minute hearing in which neighborhood residents alternately argued with one another and trustees, after a petition containing over 120 signatures opposing the redesign was presented to Mayor Ed Snow.

Snow explained the reason for the proposal was at the behest of Delaware Engineering who has estimated a fix at a cost of approximately $180,000. The street currently accommodates two lanes of traffic with on-street parking. However, Snow said, the guide rails on the street are “literally hanging over the cliff.” The bank, he said, has been deteriorating for years.

In particular, Snow said, the area between Burton and Mead streets is most concerning.

Bill Brown of Delaware Engineering outlined a proposed fix which includes stabilizing the bank with a soil-nail system which drills metal rods horizontally into the bank. Once the bank is stabilized, Brown said, a mooring system to anchor guide rails two to three feet toward the street’s interior, is proposed. Additionally, Brown said, the village is eligible for a grant to pay for most of the work, but will be responsible for a portion of the costs.

The proposal elicited many comments and many complaints, including the fact that village department of public works personnel have contributed to bank failure by street sweeping three times per week in the summer months, compounded with the lack of maintenance, other than occasional resurfacing, over the past 30 years, residents said.

Instead of incurring hefty repair costs, residents proposed a number of alternative ideas for addressing the issue, which included prohibiting on-street parking.

Lora Casimano, who owns two properties on the street, one of which is an apartment building, opposed the suggested prohibition of on-street parking, stating there was not enough parking for her tenants now.

Another resident pointed out that on-street parking is currently prohibited between 2 and 6 a.m. for winter snow removal from Nov. 1 through April 1, 2018.

Other residents explained that they must exit their driveways by backing into the street. There is barely enough room to do so safely, without hitting the guide rails in their current location, they said. Moving them an additional two or three feet, will make it nearly impossible, they said.

Other residents suggested posting a weight limit on the street as well as designating it for local traffic only, to minimize further damage.

Bob Pesout suggested directing village crews to shore-up the bank using stone and ditching the interior side of the street, so water drains away from the bank as a fix.

“The village crews can straighten it out and it won’t cost the village any more,” he said.

Creating catch basins would also help resolve further damage, Snow said.

Other suggestions included rehabbing only certain sections of the street and reducing the speed limit on the street.

Trustee Theresa O’Leary seemed to take resident’s suggestions as criticism of the village’s proposed fix, saying, “You complain that we haven’t done anything and now we are suggesting something and you don’t want it.” The comment was met with an uproar from the crowd, with Pesout responding to O’Leary critically, “Just because (the engineer) recommended it, doesn’t mean it has to be done,” he said. Pesout continued, “It’s not rocket science. People slow down when another car is coming,” he said.

He then asked how many traffic accidents have occurred on the street, as a measure of the street’s safety. Police Chief Paul Olsen responded that no accidents have occurred there, that he is aware of.

The board took no action on the issue following the public hearing. Instead, Snow thanked residents for attending the hearing and sharing their ideas, many of which, he said, were good ones.

The board will further discuss the issue before taking action, he said.

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