It’s now time to reopen Dana Street

It’s about time that someone is calling for Warren’s Dana Street — blocked by concrete barriers to vehicle traffic for more than a year now — to be reopened.

Residents are complaining that there has been no activity for several months outside the former Packard Electric site that had been targeted for use as a manufacturing site for a business owned by Warren native Christopher Alan.

Alan initially had asked city leaders to block access to the street, claiming closing it would deter vandals who had been damaging the facility. Alan had intended to use the site to expand his California-based automated hydraulic lift parking system business, Auto Parkit. However, since announcing those plans, Alan instead has secured the neighboring General Electric site where work inside now is progressing.

For the sake of economic development, Warren Safety Service Director Enzo Cantalamessa agreed to close the road upon Alan’s request. Several months later, in November, the “temporary” road closure was acted upon officially by city council.

Despite what may have been good intentions, residents have complained that the barriers are now to blame for illegal dumping and possible delays in access by emergency vehicles responding to the neighborhood. The closure also has triggered an increase of car, truck and tractor trailer traffic traveling on nearby residential streets, including Bank and Forest streets and Paige Avenue.

That’s not to mention the serious injuries sustained by a man who crashed an ATV into one of the barriers Sept. 16 at a force so significant it split the concrete barrier.

Residents in the neighborhood have every right to demand action. Undoubtedly economic development is critical to Warren’s future, but no more critical than the right by tax-paying residents to have public access to the streets in their neighborhoods and to ensure public safety vehicles have quick, direct routes to their homes in the event of an emergency.

Councilman Alford Novak, D-2nd Ward, now has introduced legislation calling for the street to be reopened. We urge residents who feel strongly to speak up before second reading at the next Warren City Council meeting, and then we urge council members to support the measure and ensure the street is reopened.