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Upton Town Officials Contemplating Closing Warren St.

Upton Selectmen are contemplating permanently closing Warren St. The street is currently closed due to the renovation of Upton Town Hall. Jane Bigda photo

The Upton Board of Selectmen began preliminary discussions during a January 21 meeting concerning permanently closing down Warren St.; the road has been closed since the Town Hall renovation project began last summer.

According to Town Manager Blythe Robinson, the idea of closing the road had been brought up recently at a staff meeting for safety reasons and in an effort to possibly add additional parking spaces to the Town Hall.

"We are not making a decision this evening," affirmed Selectman Chair James Brochu. "We do want to at least start the conversation with respect to if we want to reallocate this area to something associated with the Town Hall and then include that within the project schedule."

Robinson told the Board that Police Chief Michael Bradley had assessed the traffic patterns since the Warren St. closure and recommended leaving the section closed off for the future. Fire/EMS Chief Ron Goodale also agreed stating that reducing the area to a four-way intersection instead of five has helped to reduce accidents.

Selectman Ken Picard noted that the idea had been brought up previously. "I know a previous DPW Director was an advocate for closing Warren St.," he said. "He thought it would be appropriate for the safety of the intersection." The Planning Board also believed it would be a smart thing to do.

Robinson acknowledged the road closure would cause interruption for a number of residents in the area and wanted to make certain everything was thoroughly thought through before a decision was made. She added it was unlikely the road would be discontinued but instead some type of barrier or gate put up in order for public safety officials to access it in the case of an emergency.

"I know it may not be popular with some residents but it's hard to argue the safety and logical aspect of it," said Selectman Robert Fleming. Brochu agreed. "It truly is a safety issue and think it is worth exploring," he said, but adding it was important to reach out to residents to hear their concerns too.

In addition to safety reasons, Robinson said the Town Hall architect stated there was the possibility of adding more parking with the street closure. "Not a lot, but some." She then suggested the architect complete design plans for the parking and inquire if a price change would occur to which the Board agreed.


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