By Amanda O'Rourke
The Daily Item
SUNBURY — The City Council voted unanimously Monday to forgo a plan that would have eliminated angled parking on Market Street and replaced it with parallel parking.
The original plan, presented at the council's Feb. 23 work session, called for eliminating up to 40 percent of the city's available parking in order to install parallel parking and a center turning lane, all aimed at easing traffic congestion on Market Street.
The new plan, presented by transportation engineer Brian St. John, will maintain angled parking and remove up to 20 parking spaces at the intersections of Market and Fourth and Market and Fifth streets to allow for a wider turn ratio for trucks and a bypass lane for drivers to maneuver past left turns.
The alternate plan was welcomed by Councilmen Mark W. Walberg and John K. Shipman.
"I haven't talked to anyone in favor of the parallel parking," Shipman said. "I think the citizens are pretty clear on what they want."
City businessman Robert Snyder Jr. was relieved the city's downtown will maintain the majority of its parking, but wondered if a problem is to be fixed that doesn't exist.
"I don't see traffic congestion," Snyder said. "I don't see fire trucks not able to get through. I don't see ambulances not able to get through. I wonder if we're responding to a crisis that doesn't exist."
All of the work is part of a joint project between the state Department of Transportation and SEDA-Council of Governments called the Congested Corridor Improvement Program Study, during the course of which it was determined, St. John said, that Sunbury's Market Street is a congested corridor.
Snyder didn't buy it. "In terms of traffic congestion, (Market Street) is nirvana," he said.
Work on Market Street also calls for new traffic signals at Front, Fourth, Fifth and 11th streets. The city opted to splurge for decorative traffic signal poles that, barring other state funding, could run the city as much as $102,000. Standard poles would have been paid for by the state Department of Transportation.
Lara Lapinski, of PennDOT, said work on Market Street will begin next February.