East Pawtucketville Neighborhood Group meeting report

The East Pawtucketville Neighborhood Group sent along this report from its November 4, 2013 Meeting. The group meets again on December 2, 2013 at 7 pm at the McAvinnue School at 131 Mammoth Road. On the agenda will be the topic of “Healthy Homes.”

[Ed. Note to other neighborhood groups: we welcome the chance to post your meeting notices and any reports on your meetings. Just email them to DickHoweJr@gmail.com and I’ll post them here].

Here’s what happened at the November 4th meeting:

Neighbors met at the McAvinnue Elementary School from 7-8:30 pm to discuss issues facing our community and begin planning for the 2nd annual Franco-American Festival (Saturday–May 2, 2014).

Here are some of the important discussions:

1. Lighting of public streets and public areas:
-concern was expressed that Bourgeois Park and Fells Playground may need better lighting for better night safety and that people crossing University Ave at night are not visible to drivers. Suggestion: better lighting is in the local parks and on University Ave north of Riverside St.

2. University Ave: Why are the police not enforcing the No Parking areas?
-heading North on University Ave, as you cross Riverside St., the road suddenly narrows. Parking is banned on one side of the street, but these signs seem to be ignored. Suggestion: put in new signs with greater visibility and ask police to enforce the parking laws in the area.

3. Illegal pedestrian crossing creates a hazard at the Dunkin Donuts entrance area
-eager coffee drinkers frequently jay walk across the 4 lanes of busy traffic on Riverside Drive so they can get directly to the door of their favorite coffee shop. This creates grave danger for walkers and drivers alike. Suggestion: place a small metal barrier in the sidewalk directly at the step-down out of the entrance to Dunkin Donuts that will deter pedestrians from launching themselves into traffic.

4. Stop Sign at 4th and Avon isn’t needed. Stop sign at White Street and Mt. Hope is greatly needed!
-When St. Jeanne d’Arc was still used, the stop sign at 4th and Avon had considerable value, but with the closing of the church, it has actually become an impediment to reasonable driving. However, there is great need for a stop sign at White Street and Mt. Hope. The steep street grade and the high stone wall there, both impede visibility considerably. There was an accident at the corner recently, and there is potential for more if a stop sign is not placed here.

5. Crowds and noise late at night in the neighborhood.
While much progress has been made on the issues related to noise and partying in the neighborhood—problems still persist:
1) Recently there was a massive party on Mt. Hope Street. Residents were disturbed by noise, drinking, and public urination—why do we have to put up with this? Neighbors called the police and the landlord, but another night of sleep was destroyed.
2) The Greek Houses in the North Campus area have made huge changes in their activities and have lent great support to neighborhood groups. However, there appears to be a trend for young people (high school and college age—who may not be members of the Greek Houses) to hang out in the street area around the Greek Houses late at night. Police presence helps greatly and moves the groups along—can we have more support with this issue?
3) Flash Crowds that gather on University Ave: Example—the Red Sox win. Thanks to texting and tweeting, young people have quick alerts when a gathering is in process. In the words of young people who were there, “hundreds” swarmed around University Ave and there was a potential for something like a riot. While we’ve heard much about the bar problem downtown—do city and University police have a plan to quickly disperse such gatherings on North Campus and insure the safety of the neighborhood?
Suggestion: Continue the Thursday-Sunday extra police patrols in the neighborhood. This has been very effective.

City Manager’s Initiative
Mike Demaras, Coordinator of the Division of Neighborhood Services, was present and provided information about the ongoing work that includes:
-several intersections in the area are being upgraded and will make walking and driving much safer
-the City Manager’s Impact Team is making regular tours of neighborhoods, looking for building violations and other issues that require improvement
-there are $$’s for public art for the Barbell District—discussions are starting around what would be appropriate and where would art pieces be located—the community will be involved.
-the pocket park in Gershlot has been completed; there will be a dedication ceremony this fall

Planning for the Franco-American Festival

Several members of the Greek Houses were present at this meeting. They provided fantastic help for the first festival and have pledged to help with this second festival. They are now experienced with the set-up and take-down of the festival…and various kinds of food sales. They are considering a Bouncey House for this year.

Another great suggestion was a Dunk Tank…would local celebrities be willing to be dunked?

Activities from last year neighbors would like to see continued (or expanded) include: participation of the Lowell Rec Department (great games and kid activities), French food, the Story booth provided by UML students, participation of all the French clubs in the city, participation of the local schools.

We have sent out an invitation to participate in the Franco American Festival to all individuals and groups who participated in last year’s event.

We will soon be setting up a planning meeting for the upcoming festival. If you are interested in taking part in the fun of planning, please contact Eastpawtucketville@gmail.com or leave a message on the facebook page—East Pawtucketville Neighborhood Group.