HAVERHILL — South Prospect Street neighbors still have a chance for their road to remain one way — and moving in a direction that would block traffic from busy Route 125.
Mayor James Fiorentini has vetoed the City Council's Sept. 6 vote to reverse the direction of traffic on South Prospect Street.
The 5-4 council vote changed the direction of the one-way street from heading south toward Route 125 (South Main Street) to north. That change would have allowed vehicles from busy South Main Street and the intersection of Kingsbury Avenue to enter South Prospect Street, which residents said would bring too much traffic to the area.
The mayor's veto, unless it is overridden by the council, means the South Prospect Street traffic flow that has been in place since 2002 will remain the same — toward South Main Street. South Prospect Street residents favored that direction because it limits traffic on the relatively narrow road that has families with young children living along it.
The council vote was touted by supporters it as a compromise between those who want to open the street in Bradford to two-way traffic and those who want it to remain one-way.
The council is expected to take up Fiorentini's veto tomorrow night. It takes six votes to overturn a mayoral veto.
Council President Michael Hart said if there are not the six votes to override the mayor's veto, then the council would once again take up the original proposal to open the road to two-way traffic.
Fiorentini said he spoke to police Chief Alan DeNaro, police Traffic Officer Edward Watson, a regional group that advises the city on traffic matters and engineers from the private company that is working on the ongoing Route 125 renovation. Hart said they all told him reversing the direction of South Prospect Street would make the road less safe and is "a bad idea."
"They all feel (reversing direction) would make it more dangerous, more so than if it were a two-way street," the mayor said.
South Prospect Street runs between busy South Main Street and South Elm Street, which connects to the Comeau Bridge, leading to downtown.
Several South Prospect residents who attended the council's Sept. 6 meeting spoke against changing the direction or opening the road to two-way traffic. They said keeping it one-way limits traffic on the street.
South Prospect was a two-way street until construction began on the new Comeau Bridge in 2002. Councilors who favored returning the street to two-way and some other residents said the city promised to reopen the road to two-way traffic after the bridge was finished in 2007, but that never happened.
Currently, drivers on busy Kingsbury Avenue and Route 125 can't get onto South Prospect Street because of the one-way posting. Changing the direction would allow Kingsbury Avenue and Route 125 traffic to use South Prospect Street to get to the Comeau Bridge.
Voting to reverse the direction of South Prospect were councilors Michael Young, Colin LePage, Mary Ellen Daly O'Brien, Sven Amirian and William Macek. A condition of the vote was that the change not take effect for two months.
Voting no to changing the direction of the street were Hart and councilors David Hall, Robert Scatamacchia and William Ryan.
South Prospect residents said too many drivers used the street as a cut-through road when it was open to two-way traffic prior to 2002.
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