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Upton Board Takes No Action on Warren St. Closing

The Upton Board of Selectmen decided to take no immediate action concerning the closing of Warren St. when the board again discussed the proposal at their March 4 meeting.

To help facilitate the renovations of the Town Hall, Warren St., from just below Nelson St. to where it intersects at Main St., has been shut down since July 2013. Over the past several months, town officials have been pondering the idea of closing the street permanently citing safety reasons and to add additional parking to the Town Hall once construction is complete.

Public Safety officials, including Police Chief Michael Bradley and Fire/EMS Chief Ron Goodale support the idea for safety reasons. According to a report from Bradley, "The intersection at Warren St. and Nelson St. can be dangerous for vehicular and pedestrian traffic due to its limited sight distance and steep incline."

Accident data for the Warren St. intersection at Upton Center reported there were three motor vehicle accidents reported with damage over $1,000 between July 1, 2011 through June 30, 2012 and another three accidents the following year. Since Warren St. has closed, the Police Department has not responded to an accident at the Upton Center intersection thus far.

During the discussion at the March 4 meeting, the Board noted that a number of residents have given their input concerning the possible closing. "All their concerns are important to us," said Selectman Ken Picard, adding that one resident suggested making Warren St. a one-way street. "I'm still in favor of closing Warren St. and allow it strictly for parking. Change is always difficult for some but as we move forward I think it's a progressive way to take care of an unsafe intersection," he said.

Selectman Robert Fleming also stated he received feedback from residents. "I'm not totally convinced that closing the street is going to resolve issues," he said. Fleming noted that closing Warren St. could increase traffic on Church St. where a preschool and United Parish are located. "Another concern is increased traffic on Nelson St. There seems to be some considerable affects to this. My own opinion is I'm not comfortable enough to close the street based on the information we have at this time," Fleming said.

Selectman Chair James Brochu said there were both pros and cons to closing the street. "I think the intent is good but I'm not a proponent of doing it at this time," he said, suggesting that further traffic and design studies be completed first. "We can look at this at a later date," he added.


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