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Terry Cowgill
The upper Railroad Street parking lot will be closed Wednesday through Friday of this week so that workers can install lightpost bases and curbing.

Squeeze is on: Upper Railroad Street parking lot to be closed this week; night paving scheduled for next week

By Tuesday, Jun 11, 2019 News 6

At a June 10 meeting, town planner Chris Rembold updated the Great Barrington Selectboard on the soon-to-be-completed downtown sidestreet construction project. Photo: Terry Cowgill

Great Barrington — If you’re looking for a parking spot in downtown Great Barrington, your job will surely become more difficult this week.

Beginning Wednesday, June 12, the parking lot on upper Railroad Street will be closed until Saturday, town planner Chris Rembold told the selectboard Monday night.

The reason for the closing is that, as part of this spring’s downtown sidestreet construction project, light-pole bases and curbing are being installed in preparation for project-wide paving next week. Click here for a comprehensive Edge story on the project, which was funded in part by a $2.1 million MassWorks infrastructure grant.

“So we just want everybody to be aware of that,” Rembold said. “That will be enforced so that we can get the work done quickly and safely. Alternative overnight parking is available here at Town Hall.”

Officials had already started to clear portions of the upper Railroad Street parking lot in Great Barrington Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Terry Cowgill

The upper Railroad Street lot appears to have about 30 spots, the loss of which, even for a few days, will have some denizens of downtown scrambling to find places to park their vehicles. The Railroad Street lot is also one of the few in downtown without a time limit. That lot should be ready to reopen by the end of the day on Friday or early Saturday, Rembold said.

The availability of parking on Railroad Street itself is also hit-or-miss depending on where construction workers are working at any given time. And as part of the project, sidewalks on the south side of Elm Street have been widened, resulting in the permanent loss of half a dozen spots there.

“They will be towing cars who are not moving, particularly those that have been there more than 24 hours,” Rembold said of the upper Railroad Street lot closure. In response to a question from Steve Farina, Rembold added that the closure will not affect the northern part of the Railroad Street lot, which is a gated private lot.

For the rest of the week, there will be 30 fewer parking spots in downtown Great Barrington with the temporary closure of the upper Railroad Street lot. Photo: Terry Cowgill

And next week, paving will start on the rest of the project. Bentley, Bridge, School, Church, Railroad and Elm streets will get new coats of asphalt to go along with the new curbing and sidewalks. The kicker is that the bulk of the paving will take place at night.

“We will have two nights of paving, which is much faster,” Rembold explained. “Fewer cars on the road, hardly anybody parked, and while its loud for those living downtown, it results in a much faster and much more quality product because people aren’t driving on the roads as much.”

The paving sessions will start at midnight Thursday and continue midnight Friday, Rembold said. The Edge has been posting regular updates on the project from the town Department of Public Works.

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