Kennedy Street traffic will begin traveling from Main Street to Boylston Street Friday.
The response to this change is mostly positive, although concerns remain and a few wrinkles will most likely need worked out in the near future.
For Bradford City Police, the change means better traffic flow. Meanwhile, it means more work for at least a little while, giving out warnings to those who forget the traffic flow has changed.
“The majority of the police department is looking forward to the change, as most of our travel comes from the Main Street direction,” said Bradford City Police Chief Chris Lucco. “We encourage motorists to be on the lookout for people going the wrong way.
“We will probably just issue warnings to the people going the wrong way.”
Lucco explained there will be signs at Boylston Street warning motorists that there is no entry from that direction, and there will also be warnings painted on the roadway.
He noted that most area residents catch on to these changes quickly, but at this point there are still people who travel on Kennedy in the wrong direction. The segment of the street between Main and Boylston streets changed from a two-way thoroughfare to a one-way in October of 2010.
“I have only had one person voice a complaint about the proposed change to Kennedy Street. I have had numerous people — from residents to people visiting the businesses on Kennedy Street — say they are looking forward to having the traffic go away from Main Street,” said City of Bradford Mayor Tom Riel. “The traffic signal is already in place, so the change is not a big deal. We have to put up some signage and make changes to the meters.”
One concern for business owners on the street was the loading and unloading of tractor trailers bringing in orders.
“The area for unloading and loading tractor trailers will remain the same. It may be tougher to pull in there, so we may need to remove a parking spot or two to facilitate that,” Riel explained. That is an issue that will be addressed as needed once the change is in place.
For Kennedy Street Cafe owner Jim Derx, the upcoming change is a new chapter in a story he’s already well aware of. Derx was a key figure in the efforts to address parking issues on Kennedy Street in 2010 when streetscape construction led to a reduction in the street width in the area.
“I crusaded the change to a one-way street. What happened was, when they came through and had to redo the sidewalks, it took 11 inches from both sides and expanded the sidewalks. There were a limited number of parking spaces, and five parking spaces on Kennedy was not nearly enough. At the time, we had the dance studio, Cavallero’s, the florist (and Kennedy Street Cafe), and it wasn’t enough parking,” Derx said. “The way I looked at it, and the police station supported it, making the street one-way was the lesser of evils.
“It would have been better to keep the road wider to have two-way traffic, but the only way to have parking on both sides is to have traffic one-way.”
Derx explained the change is getting mixed reactions from his customers, and as a business owner, he can see the benefits and at least one drawback from the change to traffic flow.
“My customers, I would say, are a 50/50 split. A lot of people don’t really like change, the others I just think they really don’t care — but after they get used to it, I think it will be better,” Derx said. “Right now, it is pretty dangerous trying to pull out on Main Street from Kennedy; you really have to get out there to see the traffic coming. Safety-wise, the change will be better.
“For me personally, it will be a little tougher for catering. My doors to the catering van will be toward the street, not toward the sidewalk, and that makes it more dangerous for loading/unloading the van.”