Newburyport, Mass., Council to Pay $34K for Traffic Study

The study was approved and will be conducted after the opening of the city's latest parking garage off of Titcomb Street to help look for ways to improve traffic flow. It will come from a parking fund.

by Jack Shea, The Daily News of Newburyport / May 14, 2019

(TNS) — The Newburyport, Mass., City Council approved a $34,500 transfer on Monday to pay for a traffic study that would be conducted after the city's new parking garage opens on Titcomb Street.

The money will be transferred from the city's paid parking fund and pay for a study to analyze the impact of the new garage on traffic flow, according to the request.

Based on the findings, the city's consultant will make recommendations on traffic flow improvements, which could include changing the direction of streets, signaling, technology and other options.

Ward 4 Councilor Charles Tontar explained Monday that the study is necessary for the city to obtain an occupancy permit for the garage, which was recently completed and will open to the public this month.

The council voted 9-2 to approve the transfer, with Councilors Sharif Zeid and Thomas O'Brien in opposition.

Zeid noted that the report from a recently conducted traffic study was released and said he did not think the city was not ready to have another one done so soon.

"The right thing to do would be to get to the point where there is usefulness to the study," he said. "We're spending another $35,000 that's coming from the rest of the parking system and I'm not sure we're prepared to use it."

The recent traffic study, conducted by Tetra Tech, made several suggestions for improving downtown traffic flow, including the possible conversion of Green Street to a two-way road and the addition of traffic lights at Merrimac Street's two intersections with Route 1.

Tetra Tech's report also included drawings for a potential roundabout at the intersection of Green and Merrimac streets, but Mayor Donna Holaday said such a change is "not going to happen."

©2019 The Daily News of Newburyport (Newburyport, Mass.). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.