Speeding among issues at Conimicut Village meeting
Mayor Scott Avedisian got some knowing laughs when he told a Conimicut Village town meeting Wednesday night that there are two words Rhode Island drivers haven’t learned yet…yield and merge.
He made the comment in reference to the Apponaug Circulator and its series of five roundabouts. But it was another word – speeding, even drag racing – that concerned many of the more than 50 neighbors who turned out to hear the mayor at the William Shields Post. Of particular concern is speeding on Point Avenue, the straight half-mile long access road to Conimicut Point Park that at sections has residential homes on both sides of the road.
Other topics raised at the 90-minute town meeting included the condition of playground equipment at the park, the appearance of many streets with weeds growing out of sidewalk and curb cracks; the maintenance of rights-of-way to the shore line; the lack of a contract with the Warwick Teachers Union; and hours that Conimicut Point Park should be open. It was suggested speed bumps, even a stop sign, could deter Point Avenue speeding, with estimates of speeds in excess of 70 mph late at night.
“People ignore them if they have them at every corner,” Avedisian said of stop signs.
Bumps, he said, are restricted to crossings, usually in the vicinity of schools. Closing the park gate at 9 p.m. instead of 11 p.m. was suggested, but the mayor noted this would impede night patrols of the park and that people wanting to congregate there would do so by parking in the neighborhood and walking in. That raised the issue of beach parking fees that the City Council has voted to implement beginning next year.
“We have seen a real increase in trash and that is a part of what we’re going through now by charging,” Avedisian said.
Ward 4 Councilman Joseph Solomon pointed out that increased radar patrols in an effort to deal with speeding in other parts of the city frequently end up with many of the area residents receiving citations. He said much of controlling speeds is conditioning people to the neighborhood. He also called on area residents to be vigilant and report plate numbers of offenders to the police.
Erecting cameras was a suggestion, but Solomon and Avedisian noted that has raised issues of invasion of privacy. Furthermore, Avedisian said under a Department of Transportation directive, the city is limited to five locations for cameras.
Village Association president Ginny Barham noted that the 154-member group takes a great deal of pride in the village and is responsible for maintaining its upkeep by the weeding of sidewalk growth and sweeping the gutters and beautification with hanging flowers, wreaths and flags at different times of the year.
“We’re not afraid to work,” she said.
In his opening remarks, Avedisian talked in broad terms about the city observing that the runway expansion project at Green is completed and the airport issues that have consumed so much energy over the past 24 years is behind us. He said the “airport is going to listen to us.” He said new airlines and service at Green “is good for us and the economy.”
Leslie Derrig, who served as moderator, quickly brought the focus on village issues reading questions that had been prepared and submitted by members. The appearance of West Shore Road beyond the village was raised. Avedisian noted the road is state owned and the DOT’s responsibility.
Resident Jane Flanders asked about rights-of-way to the shoreline and what the city could do to maintain and improve them. The mayor said city maintenance of the rights-of-way would require Coastal Resources Management Council approval.