Berlin Will Add Caution Signs To Address Safety Concerns

Berlin Will Add Caution Signs To Address Safety Concerns
Berlin Will Add

BERLIN – In response to concerns about pedestrian safety in the area of Venable’s Cleaners, town officials agreed this week to install caution signs in the area.

The mayor and council agreed Monday to purchase caution signs for the area of William Street near Venable’s Cleaners to advise motorists to be on the lookout for pedestrians and bicyclists. The decision came after some residents spoke out against the on-the-sidewalk parking in front of the dry cleaners.

“To me this is a practical thing to do,” Mayor Gee Williams said. “I think this is a fair way of dealing with the concern.”

William Street residents Tracy and David Albrecht, who live directly across the street from the dry cleaners, say every day they see pedestrians forced into the street by vehicles parked on the depressed area of sidewalk in front of Venable’s. They’re worried one of those pedestrians will eventually be struck by a vehicle.

The couple has advocated for the elimination of the parking space, citing the fact that Venable’s Cleaners has a parking lot adjacent to the building.

“I couldn’t tell you how many times I’ve watched kids almost get hit,” Tracy Albrecht said last week.

At a meeting of the town council Monday, Williams suggested erecting caution signs in the area. He said there had been no accidents in the area and he didn’t see the need to get rid of the parking space that had been there since 1970.

“I’m sure their intent is very well considered,” Williams said. “They genuinely are worried about the potential of an accident but there’s potential for accidents all over the place.”

He said regular customers of Venable’s knew to be cautious when they pulled in and out of the space in front of the store. Signs, however, wouldn’t hurt, he added.

“It’ll be a reminder to folks like myself that have been going there since at least 1970,” Williams said, “and hopefully a good way to bring awareness to newcomers in the area.”

Williams said the town would purchase the signs and get permission from Venable’s Cleaners to install them on the property. One would be placed on each end so that drivers exiting the parking space from either direction would seem them.

“I think this a fair way of dealing with the concern and not overkill,” Williams said.

Bill Venable, owner of the dry cleaners, did not object to the proposal.

“I think it’s fine,” he said.

The Albrechts, however, maintain that it’s illegal to block the sidewalk and that the parking space should not be permitted. They don’t believe signs will increase safety.

“The signs are a joke,” David Albrecht said. “Nothing’s going to change. It’s not going to make a difference.”

About The Author: Charlene Sharpe

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Charlene Sharpe has been with The Dispatch since 2014. A graduate of Stephen Decatur High School and the University of Richmond, she spent seven years with the Delmarva Media Group before joining the team at The Dispatch.