Berlin Mulling Options For Designated Unloading Spot

Berlin Mulling Options For Designated Unloading Spot
Adding a designated unloading spot to Pitt Street near Main Street is under consideration in Berlin. Photo by Charlene Sharpe

BERLIN – Town officials are exploring the possibility of designating an unloading zone on Pitts Street.

Economic and Community Development Director Ivy Wells asked the town council this week to consider creating an unloading zone for postal delivery trucks on Pitt Street. Though the spot under consideration was initially on the north side of the street, Wells said she’d instead look at a space on the south side at the suggestion of Councilman Zack Tyndall.

“Obviously it takes a long time to figure something like this out,” she said. “Hopefully we’ll get that in place because I know it’s become a safety issue.”

Mayor Gee Williams said town staff recommended setting up an unloading zone so that delivery trucks wouldn’t stop in the middle of Main Street to make postal deliveries as they tended to do now.

“The last four or five years the number of times a UPS-type vehicle has to park in the street to load and unload has increased significantly,” he said.

Wells initially proposed using a space on the north side of Pitts Street, just behind where the horse and carriage typically park, as an unloading area. She said she’d spoken with the UPS driver who served Berlin and he’d supported the idea.

“Our UPS driver is 100% for it,” Wells said.

Councilman Dean Burrell said he thought that while the town was reviewing that zone it should also consider designating a few parking spaces with a time limit for people running quick errands.

“I do believe that there should be some consideration given to those folks that need those services just for a few minutes and provide some type of parking that is restricted for a number of minutes,” Burrell said.

Wells said 15-minute parking would be a great idea, particularly for the space on Commerce Street near Victorian Charm.

Councilman Zack Tyndall expressed concern with the delivery zone as proposed.

“I see a lot of complications in that intersection,” he said.

Wells said the proposed location was the only one that had been determined to be viable so far.

“If you put three vehicles there, that intersection’s already complicated, and then you throw a box truck in the mix and try to send an emergency vehicle down that route I think you’re asking for a recipe for disaster,” Tyndall said.

Williams said he disagreed and said this was a practical solution to the delivery problem.

“We don’t have a town that’s a box,” he said. “It’s every angle except 90 degrees.”

Tyndall said Commerce Street and Jefferson Street would be better options. Councilman Elroy Brittingham pointed out that Commerce Street wasn’t suitable because of the bank drive-through there.

When asked for his opinion, Police Chief Arnold Downing said the key thing was getting the trucks off Main Street.

“What we’re realizing now is they’re not letting two boxes off and leaving,” he said. “We’re talking about one driver doing 80% of all of his work inside of the town of Berlin. You know that they’re going to be constantly here. We have to go ahead and make the best use of space that we can.”

Tyndall suggested considering space on the south side of Pitts Street slightly behind Heart of Gold Kids because it was farther from the intersection.

Wells said she didn’t have a preference regarding location as long as the unloading area was off Main Street. She said she’d work with Downing to verify that the suggested space would work and would present officials with an adjusted proposal at their next meeting.

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.