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Westminster weighs making Manchester Avenue one-way


C Westminster City Council is scheduled tonight to hear from city residents with opposite views on whether Manchester Avenue should be made one-way from East Main Street to Buena Vista Drive.

The council set a public hearing in response to a petition with 58 signatures from Manchester Avenue and Webster Street residents urging city government to bar southbound traffic on Manchester between Buena Vista and East Main. The hearing will be at 7 p.m. in City Hall, Emerald Hill Lane.

Despite the support indicated by the petition, city government workers report receiving telephone calls opposing the proposed one-way street after the public hearing was advertised.

A random sampling of neighbors shows mixed views.

Manchester Avenue resident Kathy Meleo supports a one-way street in the hope that it would improve safety. Cars "literally fly through here," she said, and when city police patrol for speeders, "It's ticket city."

Ms. Meleo said traffic and motorists' unwillingness to wait make getting in and out of her driveway difficult. She worries about her daughter, a less experienced driver, trying to back or pull into the driveway.

Bobby Graham, owner of Graham's Service Center on Manchester Avenue, said he doesn't think his business would be affected by changing the traffic to one-way, but he doesn't understand what it would accomplish.

"I want to know the logic behind the proposal," he said.

Webster Street resident Andrea Zak said she opposes one-way traffic on Manchester Avenue because part of nearby 24th Street became one-way recently. The street is now one-way west from North Colonial Avenue to the Westminster Riding Club property line.

"They shouldn't make all these roads one-way," she said.

The one-way street proposal was presented to the council last month by Manchester Avenue residents Steve Crouse and Hilary Byrne. Mr. Crouse, who has no off-street parking, suggested that if the street were made one-way, the council could allow on-street parking.

City Planning Director Thomas B. Beyard said his recommendation would be against making the street one-way to Buena Vista. He said an earlier suggestion to make Manchester Avenue one-way northbound from Main Street to Winters Alley would be better planning.

The State Highway Administration (SHA) endorsed that proposal, but the council chose not to act after Councilman Damian L. Halstad reported opposition from residents.

Mr. Beyard said that extending one-way traffic to Buena Vista would force trucks to use Webster Street for access to businesses off Manchester Avenue. Drivers using Manchester Avenue from Route 140 would have to turn at Greenwood Avenue, he pointed out. The only option for those who failed to make the turn would be to go up Buena Vista Drive and turn around.

Gene Straub, SHA assistant district engineer for traffic, said one-way traffic on Manchester Avenue between Main Street and Winters Alley would allow the SHA to remove the Manchester Avenue traffic signal.

Removing the signal would reduce waiting time at traffic lights at the East Main Street-Washington Road intersection, he said.

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