Hadley common parking curbed near restaurant

  • Esselon Cafe in Hadley. STAFF FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 27, 2019

HADLEY — Overflow parking on West Street at the Town Common that has long been used by customers at a Route 9 restaurant is being scaled back by the Select Board after officials received reports of safety concerns for a school bus that picks up and drops off a student.

The board voted unanimously Wednesday to have the Department of Public Works install signs on a section of West Street adjacent to Esselon Cafe, 99 Russell St. One will read “no parking here to corner” on the east side of the road and another will state “no parking between signs” on the west side of the road.

Select Board member Joyce Chunglo said the new signs are the minimum the town can do, on a temporary basis, to improve the bus stop, even though it will mean that customers unable to park in Esselon’s main lot will have a longer walk. 

The decision came following appeals from the schools, including transportation coordinator Patricia Hopf, and the police department due to the number of vehicles parked on the street, considering their proximity to the intersection with the state highway and the new bus stop.

Town bylaws already prohibit vehicles from parking within 20 feet of the intersection.

For Esselon owner Mark Krause, the restriction is not problematic, as he is working on plans to add parking at an adjacent parcel at  97 Russell St., the former Hadley Auto Service building. He is in the process of converting that property into a multi-tenant building.

Jeff Squire, a representative from Berkshire Design Group, told the Planning Board last week that the plans will alleviate pressure on the parking.

Planning Board Chairman James Makismoki said parking along the West Street common has been a concern since the restaurant opened in 2006 and has to end.

He added that he will not vote for site plans for the neighboring building if customers continue to park on the street.

“The owner of Esselon was told that if he wants to use that property he needs to get cars off the Town Common. Period, no excuse,” Maksimoski said.

Although Select Board member John Waskiewicz voted in favor of the new restrictions, he also suggested there should be more restrictions at all four intersections where West Street meets Route 9 to improve safety.

Board member David J. Fill II supported the change, but also said he worries about littering the historic greenspace with more signs. 

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.