Catasauqua Press

Friday, September 22, 2017

Parking still open issue in Catty

Wednesday, May 10, 2017 by PAUL CMIL Special to The Press in Local News

Two-way Front Street delayed; parking ordinances made for Union Street

Catasauqua Borough Council opened its meeting May 1 with ordinances for parking on Union Street and delaying two-way Front Street. The delay to change Front Street to two way was pushed back to Aug. 17.

As discussed in the workshop session last week, changes needed for the traffic light at Pine Street and Front Street necessitated the change. Pidcock Engineering is requesting the changes to allow time to comply with PennDOT regulations.

Council passed the ordinance unanimously.

A second ordinance banned parking on Union Street. With Front Street moving to two-way traffic, cars on Front Street need to be diverted up Union Street. Front Street remains one way between Union and Race streets.

Councilwoman Christine Weaver reiterated comments made at earlier meetings.

“PennDOT has a plan to install traffic lights at Race and Front streets,” she said.

PennDOT’s plan was devised to reduce congestion at Lehigh and Race streets. The proposal has traffic controls added at Lehigh and Race streets, Front and Race streets and Second and Race streets.

Some residents voiced concern over eliminating parking on Union Street, but council decided it addressed the concerns in prior meetings. In an earlier meeting when parking was discussed, Councilwoman Jessica Kroope asked council to establish a policy of alerting residents prior to voting on parking issues. Kroope asked that council delay implementation until residents could be notified.

Her request was denied by a vote of 4 to 3. Councilmen Brian Bartholomew and Eugene Schlegel joined with Kroope, but the measure to table the ordinance was defeated. In the subsequent vote to restrict parking, Kroope joined with the majority to implement the restrictions.

The new ordinance prohibits parking on the south side of Union Street between Front and Second streets. A loading zone also is deleted. According to council President Vincent Smith, the new restrictions affect only one resident. There are others who park in the area. The borough has one resident with existing paid parking spots in the area and is contemplating adding new areas to supplement parking.

Council looked at an option to expand parking in the business district along Front Street. In a prior meeting, the planning and zoning committee suggested a parking alternative that proposed parking between new islands. Pidcock estimated the cost at $33,000, plus engineering costs.

Recently, the planning and zoning committee looked at a plan to widen the street in the same area.

“We could remove the curb and the grass strip … and make the road wider to allow for parking,” public works Director Jeff MacHose said.

The existing fence would remain intact, and PPL poles would need to be moved.

“The poles were slated for replacement; only one carries any utilities. The others are there for streetlights,” he said.

The project would be done with borough employees.

Bartholomew objected to the idea because it was not reviewed in committee.

“We need to identify what the costs will be for our people and what PPL would charge. They may not be able to get it done before Front Street gets changed to two-way traffic,” he said.

Opposition to the original plan surfaced with the cost.

“We could wind up spending a lot of money for something that a developer might come along and rip out,” Councilman Brian Mc- Kittrick said.

MacHose will delve into the costs.

In the good news category, Mayor Barbara Schlegel presented police Chief Douglas Kish with a check for $13,000 to cover the department’s expenses to bring K-9 Zora on board. The money was raised from residents and other interested donors by the combined efforts of the police department and the borough.