Commonwealth Journal

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November 27, 2013

Council postpones street closure

Residents want section of College St. to stay open

Somerset —

Somerset officials are post-poning a partial closure of a downtown street after hearing from a few affected residents.
Somerset City Council on Monday unanimously agreed — minus absent councilors Mike New, Jerry Wheeldon and Donna Hunley — to postpone the second reading of Ordinance 13-21, which would have closed the portion of South College Street that runs beside Food Fair in downtown Somerset. 
The decision came after several residents in the area voiced their concerns about the move. 
“Not only does it affect me ... but it also affects a lot of people who don’t have cars and can’t drive to the store, that walk to the store,” said Rosewood Avenue resident Virginia Burkett. “It’s going to make it inconvenient for those of us who have to go clear all the way around the block (to get home).”
Somerset Mayor Eddie Girdler said the closing wouldn’t negatively affect pedestrian traffic there, but Woodland Drive resident Patricia Rucker said the closing would make a big difference to those who use the road as a short-cut from East Mt. Vernon to the streets behind Food Fair, such as Market, Rosewood, Crawford, and more. 
“I use that road a lot,” said Rucker. “ ... I have some concerns both for the citizens that live there and for us as travelers that use that road.” 
And several city councilors spoke up and said they also use that section of College Street, which runs right beside the Food Fair building off of East Mt. Vernon. 
“I use it (South College Street) every day,” said Councilor Jim Mitchell, who lives on South Central Avenue. “I don’t want it closed, to be honest with you.”
“I use it at least two or three times a week,” said Councilor Jim Rutherford, who also noted he’d like to see a study done on that section of roadway to determine exactly how many people use it throughout the day. 

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