By Alice Crow
Resident opposition to current construction on Crafton Boulevard and to a proposed fire inspection ordinance were an underlying theme of Crafton's June 8 council meeting.
Steve Puchalski, a recent appointment to the Crafton zoning board, shared his concern for the construction on Crafton Boulevard, especially with the installment of bump-outs.
“They’re going to be a traffic nightmare,” Puchalski told council members.
Alberto Jaquin, project manager for Gateway Engineers, told Pulchalski the road will still have two 10-foot driving lanes and eight-foot parking lanes on either side of the road. The bump-outs are designed to slow vehicles for safety purposes.
“It’s still the same maneuvers, just like we said, we’re just calming traffic,” Jaquin said.
Council member Phillip Levasseur attempted to reassure residents that the project was safely in the hands of engineers.
“We are all going to have to see how the change progresses and I just ask for your patience,” Levasseur said. “It's going to be a change for all of us to get used to the new environment because a lot of you who have been born and raised here are used to this intersection but if you are coming from out of town, it is a very very unusual intersection.”
Resident Reese Smith also commented in opposition to the Crafton Boulevard construction and the proposed fire inspection ordinance. The ordinance would require each commercial, multi-family (three or more units), assembly (churches) and institution (group homes) to pay for an annual inspection to identify and mitigate potential fire hazards.
Smith asked the council if there had been a recent increase in fires within the borough. “This seems to be a solution in search of a problem that isn’t really there,” he said. “I think this is a mistake to do and I would urge you all not to pass it.”
Council members tried to explain the importance of the fire inspection ordinance. Mayor Coletta Perry told Smith this motion was an update to an ordinance that was passed several years ago and Council President John Oliverio noted that a recent fire on Belvidere Street was related to a lack of proper safety inspections.
“We are trying to make sure it is manageable for all property owners but we are also trying to make sure it is in alignment with general good practices and best practices for safety for properties,” said Kristen Compitello, council vice president.
While construction on Crafton Boulevard is already underway, council members are scheduled to vote on the fire inspection ordinance on June 23.
The Crafton Boulevard project will be completed in the next couple of months, with the elementary school parking lot to be finished in August, according to Jaquin.
Final restoration is set to be done in the fall of this year.