Published in the November 30, 2017 edition.
WAKEFIELD — A program allowing local merchants to place A-frame signs on the sidewalk to promote shopping locally has proven so popular that it has been extended until June 2018. Last August, the Board of Selectmen approved a controlled, limited pilot program that would allow for 50 chalk board, wooden A-frame signs to be placed at brick and mortar Wakefield businesses in the shopping/dining districts of Main Street, Albion Street and Greenwood.
The sign program, called “Experience Wakefield,” is a joint project of Wakefield Main Streets, The Cooperative Bank, The Savings Bank and the Wakefield Merchants group and has been financially supported by donations from the Co-op Bank and The Savings Bank. The total budget for the project was $5,461. The original plan was for the program to run from Sept. 2 to Nov. 25 of this year, with the signs being deployed on Saturdays only.
The 50 merchants who received the signs were chosen by lottery. Other businesses were allowed to participate if they purchased their own signs of the same type as the original 50.
This week, Chairman Paul DiNocco told the selectman that “due to the great response” to the pilot program, he was asking the board to extend it to June 1, 2018. DiNocco stipulated that during the winter months if there were snow banks narrowing the sidewalks, the signs would not be used.
In response to a question from Selectman Brian Falvey, Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio explained that while A-Frame signs are illegal on the public ways of Wakefield, the board did create this limited pilot program, which has proven very popular with local merchants. Maio added that A-frame signs are one of the issues that is currently being examined by the Sign Bylaw Review Committee, which will come back with a recommendation for how these types of signs should be handled going forward.
Board member Ann Santos asked if any thought had been given to allowing merchants to use the signs on additional days of the week, such as Thursday through Saturday. DiNocco said that decision could be made if the A-frame signs become a permanent part of the sign bylaw.
The selectmen this week also approved several recommendations from the Traffic Advisory Committee.
The board approved a recommendation for a “Stop” sign on Dell Avenue where it intersects with Park Avenue. This is a “T” type intersection that currently has no traffic control device. The TAC cited resident reports that there has been an increase in the number of vehicles using this neighborhood as a short cut between Albion Street and Prospect Street.
The board approved a TAC recommendation that two “No Parking” signs be installed on the southbound side of Cedar Street between Prospect Street and the front edge of the driveway at 7 Cedar St. The first sign will be installed approximately 40 feet south of the intersection with Prospect Street and the second sign will be installed near the driveway of 7 Cedar Street. The TAC had received a complaint of vehicles parking on the west side of Cedar Street near the intersection with Prospect Street, restricting the flow of traffic and limiting visibility for southbound traffic on Cedar Street.
The selectmen approved a TAC recommendation for a “No Parking Here to Corner” sign to be installed on the west side of Chapman Road near the edge of the driveway at 3 Chapman Rd. and for a “No Parking Here To Corner” sign to be installed on the east side Chapman Road twenty feet south of the intersection with Salem Street. The TAC was responding to a complaint of vehicles parking on Chapman Road near the intersection with Salem Street, which restricted the width of the roadway making it difficult for vehicles to enter and exit Chapman Road at the same time.
Selectman Peter May has asked for a police officer to be present at the three-way intersection of Farm Street, Nahant Street and Hemlock Road during what he called “prime time” for school traffic during the morning rush. Calling the intersection “a nightmare,” he urged a police presence “before somebody gets hurt or killed.”
Town Administrator Stephen P. Maio said that he would discuss the matter with Police Chief Rick Smith and request input from the Traffic Advisory Committee and the School Committee.
In other business this week, the Board of Selectmen:
• Voted to schedule public hearing under Mass. General Law Chapter 138 (alcoholic beverages) concerning alleged infractions by, and possible discipline of, Harrington’s at 17-19 Water St. for Jan. 8, 2018 at 7 p.m.
• Voted to schedule public hearing under Chapter 138 concerning alleged infractions by, and possible discipline of, Dockside at Wakefield, Inc., 1099 Main St. for Jan. 8, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
• Accepted the resignation of James Lapery from the Charter Review Committee.
• Approved a request from the Wakefield Lions Club to have Santa’s Headquarters be placed on the Common through Dec. 23, 2017 and to have Santa arrive by fire engine on December 9, 2017.