Mayor Kennedy introduces city councilor-elect Karen Cirillo who has been attending most council meetings this year.
Motion responses (see Mimi Parseghian city council meeting preview post): No discussion on Rte 38/Kittredge Park update.
Regarding chemical road treatments in the winter, trucks have sophisticated devices that control the mixture of materials to be laid on the roads.
Response on snow plow contracts referred to neighborhood subcommittee.
Regarding using one way traffic on various river bridges during peak traffic times, the city met with Mass DOT which felt the negative consequences of doing that would outweigh any benefit from doing it. The city did adjust the light cycles on O’Donnell bridge to attempt to reduce backups on Pawtucket Street.
There is some discussion about the one-year delay in the bridge repairs on the VFW Highway due to the discovery of contaminated soil. There will be an additional delay for at least another year. Councilors are critical of Mass DOT not doing adequate environmental testing prior to starting the project. There is no money in the state budget to remediate this. Councils direct the city manager to discuss this with city’s statehouse delegation to try to expedite funding of this.
Regarding the Rourke Bridge, the report says that it such a major project that it will require substantial funding from the state and federal government. Councilor Belanger is frustrated that elected officials from neighboring communities are not assisting the city in lobbying for money for a replacement bridge since many of the residents of these other communities use this bridge too. Manager Murphy says that the city has requested the necessary funds so it’s a matter of lobbying for it. Councilor Leary points out that even if the Rourke Bridge is improved to carry more traffic, the backups would just get pushed further out to Drum Hill which would become a bottle neck if more traffic came over the bridge. One thing that makes this time-sensitive is that in 2013 there was a feasibility study done. That has to be followed by an environmental study. If there is too much time between the first study and the second study, the first study will have to be redone (and repaid for) because it will have become outdated. This creates a greater sense of urgency to avoid paying for the same study twice. Councilor Elliott suggests the city might hold up the new Market Basket in Pawtucketville until funding for the new bridge is forthcoming from the state as a way of getting the state’s attention.
Vote to authorize Minimum Residential Factor. Referred to Public Hearing on Dec 5, 2017.
Vote to cancel city council meetings on Nov 28, Dec 19, and Dec 26, 2017.
Motion by Councilor Mercier: Req. City Mgr. investigate whether UMass-Lowell would consider putting a university police officer at the Howe Bridge on the Pawtucket Street side to control traffic from 4:30 PM until 6:30 PM while school is in session. Councilor Mercier invites Matt LeLacheur up to speak. He says while campaigning for the city council, he heard from people about the good and the bad of UMass Lowell. He says the traffic there presents a safety issue for students crossing the street while also frustrating drivers. He says the UMass Lowell police station is in University Crossing which is right next to the bridge, so it is an opportunity for the University to strengthen its partnership with the city.
December 5 from 4 to 6 pm will be the Holiday Open House at City Hall. The public is invited.
Meeting adjourns at 7:42 pm