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Traffic barriers on Dana Street likely to stay

WARREN — City council’s traffic and safety committee agreed Tuesday to recommend to the full city council that it keep the road barriers in place on Dana Street.

Auto Parkit, the automated parking company that owns several properties on Dana, convinced the city several years ago to install barriers to reduce the likelihood of vandalism, but they cut off public access to the street.

Committee member Councilman John Brown, D-3rd Ward, said early in the meeting he is surprised the city has not been sued because of the barriers, and he could support removing them.

But Auto Parkit owner Christopher Alan has cleaned up some of the properties on Dana. Brown said he believed Nick Frankos, owner of the nearby Buena Vista restaurant had indicated he was OK with the barriers. Frankos, however, told the Tribune Chronicle he would be OK only if and when he sees development and growth at the facility. Until then, he said, the barriers should be removed.

Councilman Larry Larson, who is not a committee member, said he supports keeping the barriers up because if communities such as Lordstown or Youngstown were asked, they would close a road to support a new business.

Brown then said he would be willing to recommend the barriers stay until mid-December.

Committee chairman Mark Forte said he also supports keeping the barriers there and will ask the full council to give them another 90 days.

The city approved legislation in 2017 that requires city council to grant 90-day extensions to keep the barriers in place. The last extension was given March 13, Forte said.

The committee also discussed portable basketball hoops that populate streets and devil strips in some areas of the city.

“Safety of the kids is my overriding priority,” Forte said of raising the issue. A secondary issue is the damage that can occur to trucks trying to navigate a city street narrowed by a basketball hoop.

Law Director Greg Hicks said if a basketball hoop is obstructing traffic, the public could address it with a call to police.

“The hard part is do we send police out and ask people to stop playing basketball at 9 p.m. on a Tuesday night?” He said that could lead to a “major confrontation” with the players.

Hicks said another option if the hoop is not causing an obstruction is to call the city engineering department to have its code enforcement officer explain that no obstruction can be placed in the street, nor can someone play in the street if it obstructs traffic.

erunyan@tribtoday.com

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