Chances dwindling for Kittanning residents’ feedback on Jefferson Street changes
Next week will be the last chance for Kittanning residents and business owners to weigh in about traffic changes on Jefferson Street.
Though plans to change the street from one-way to two-way traffic with the next phase of Kittanning’s Downtown Revitalization are nearly set in stone, officials want to make sure all have the chance to speak up at borough council’s next meeting.
“It is something that will be discussed,” said Council President Randy Cloak. “If they have strong feelings one way or another, they should come and let their voice be heard because I do not feel there will be another opportunity to change it.”
A year ago, a traffic study commissioned by the borough recommended opening Jefferson and McKean streets to two-way traffic. The borough is moving to make such a change on McKean Street.
Cloak believes that it is a positive step for the town, one that will actually increase business, he said.
“I definitely like the idea of two-way traffic,” he said. “I think it opens up town to be better traversed by people who come into the borough.”
A Nov. 18 town hall meeting invited residents and business owners to give input on the changes. About 10 turned out to discuss the situation, with some business owners worried about whether two-way traffic would impact loading areas, Cloak said.
“Are there some concerns with loading and unloading? Yes. But I don’t think they are insurmountable,” he said. “There are communities with streets more narrow than Kittanning’s and they still have a thriving business community getting deliveries.”
But some business owners, like Jeff Bowser of Bugsy’s Pizza, have their doubts. Two-way traffic may mean more potential customers, but he wonders if Jefferson is ready for such a change.
He is concerned not only about the loading zones but whether vehicles will have enough room to make it down both sides of the street.
“Now, you’re going to have cars against curbs,” he said. “But I think it’s a done deal. It’s basically signed, sealed and delivered.”
Cloak does not believe there is much opposition to the change.
“I’m not discounting those folks who are opposed to it,” he said. “But if people were concerned, they would have been there or reached out to council to express their concerns. This isn’t a project that just started in the past six months.”
Julie E. Martin is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1315 or [email protected].