Downtown Neighborhood Association meeting notes

Thanks to Jack Moynihan for sending the following summary of last night’s meeting of the LDNA (Lowell Downtown Neighborhood Association):

The Lowell Downtown Neighborhood Association met Tuesday, April 28 at LTC on Market Street. Co-Chair Susan Purdy called the meeting to order at approximately 7:07 p.m. The first speaker of the evening was Eric Eby, City of Lowell Traffic Engineer. Mr. Eby’s purpose was to describe upcoming changes in the city’s downtown traffic plans which will result in Merrimack, Market, and Shattuck Streets being changed from one-way to two-way streets. These changes will be implemented in late summer – after the Lowell Folk Festival. Eby stressed that there would not be significant changes to the roads themselves, but mainly to the traffic signals. Eby explained that that the changes were designed to make the downtown area more user friendly. Two-way traffic slows down automobile speeds which makes things safer for pedestrians – while creating easier means of access to local businesses. Eby displayed maps and examples of how it would be easier and faster for traffic to move around on the two-way streets.

The next speaker was the city’s Eda Matchak who came to discuss voting and election issues. Ms. Matchak started by stressing the importance of filling out and returning census forms as failure to do so could result in being placed on the inactive voter rolls. She emphasized that anyone who knows that he or she will be unable to make it to the polls on Election Day should request an absentee ballot. Matchak also described how some pending legislation at the state level might make the voting experience easier in the future. She also solicited suggestions for alternative polling spots that might be easier to reach for voters with limited mobility, and eagerly recorded these ideas.

The evening’s last speaker was Superintendent Taylor of the Lowell Police Department. Mr. Taylor had been the principle speaker at the February meeting – where he described described his vision of an improved force utilizing Evidence based training, and more of a community based police presence. He returned last night to better explain some concepts using newly developed electronic data, as well as to discuss the impact of increased foot patrols and the use of officers on Segways to patrol parts of the downtown.