Concerns Raised About Traffic From Innes Construction

Several City Councilors are concerned about the traffic impacts of the Innes Development project.

At last week’s meeting, District 6 Councilor Giovanni Recupero introduced an order requesting Interim City Manager Ned Keefe update the council on the demolition of the American Biltrite building and the Innes Complex in the area of Willow Street, Central Street, and Marginal due to the ongoing traffic issues in the area.

“They knocked down all the housing projects, now they are knocking down all Biltrite, the old American Biltrite company, it’s coming down all over the place,” said Recupero. “So now, there’s lots more traffic, and Highland is a small street.”

Although there is a sign in the area, Recupero said there should be more measures to help with traffic.

“I would like the people in the area to know the situation, what’s going on, because every day I see it, I see school buses go through there, I see everything go through there and it’s too small,” said Recupero. “Maybe there should be some sort of supervision so people are watching when these buildings come down there is plenty of room for all the cars to move around. They are going all over the place because they can’t go the old-fashioned way because everything is coming down.”

Councilor-at-Large Damali Vidot said the construction and demolition has had a huge impact on residents of that community.

“From residents not being able to get nurses or deliveries coming to their street because the street is blocked on two sides, to the noise, to they feel that their houses are shaking,” said Vidot. “I know that we needed to invest in this project and this project had to happen in order to preserve the 96 affordable units that were there, that is no question. But I think that there is something that we can learn here about the next time we have a major project happening in a residential area to better inform the abutters of what is to be expected.”

Vidot said she thinks a lot of people were excited about the investment in the Innes Development, but didn’t realize the long-term impact it was going to have on them.

“I think this is a learning experience for us for the next time we have these projects,” said Vidot. “It’s great to have abutters meetings to get them on board, but also to have realistic expectations for what is down the road and how this is going to affect their quality of life. I think it was a blind spot going into that project.”

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