Bump out planned on North Water Street
New London council debates issue
By Robert Cloud
Members of the New London Common Council debated the merits of using a bump out on North Water Street.
Ald. Mike Barrington, chair of the Public Works Board, presented the recommendation at the council’s Jan. 18 meeting.
A bump out widens the sidewalk and extends the curb at an intersection.
New Water Street is scheduled for reconstruction in 2024.
In a Dec. 28 memo, Public Works Director Robert Garske recommended a bump out at the new parking lot to be constructed on North Water Street.
Garske said narrowing the street calms traffic flow because vehicles tend to reduce speed when approaching the bump out. It also provides a shorter and safer crossing for pedestrians.
Garske added that a bump out provides an accent area for downtown by providing possible green space and different lighting options.
Noting concerns about how a bump out would affect snow plowing, Garske said there are “two 12-foot travel lanes at that point so there is enough room to plow that area if the wing is raised.”
The curb at the bump out could also be reinforced.
Ald. Tim Roberts, who owns a downtown business, questioned how the bump out would affect the flow of traffic and how delivery trucks often park on the street to make deliveries.
“Our downtown is not as wide as other communities,” Roberts said.
“What if we get this wrong and the bump outs are disruptive to our city?” he asked. “What kind of backlash are we going to have from the community?”
Roberts also said that the downtown could lose four to six parking spots and many of the businesses in New London have elderly customers.
“Personally, I have some customers who will circle the block three or four times because there’s not a spot right in front of my shop,” Roberts said.
“I don’t think four parking spots are worth a kid’s life,” Ald. Dave Dorsey said. “If we’re going to put a parking lot adross the street, we should have something for them to cross at.”
“We’re approving a bump out, but we don’t know what kind of bump out,” said Ald. BayLynda Croy. “We don’t know how many spots we’re losing or how many we’re going to gain from that new parking facility and which way traffic will flow.”
City Administrator Chad Hoerth said the actual design of the bump out has yet to be determined.
The council and Public Works Board must first review and approve the final design.
Common council voted 6-3 in favor of the bump out recommendation.
Voting against the bump out were Roberts, Croy and Dennis Herter.
Voting in favor were Barrington, Dorsey, Robert Besaw, John Faucher, John Haas and Bernie Ritchie.
Council also voted to discontinue Lincoln Court in order to provide more space for the North Water Street parking lot.
“This would be a discontinuation not an abandonment,” Garske said in a memo. “This means that it will remain part of the city’s right of way.”