By JOHN HOWELL Last week Ward 5 Councilman Ed Ladouceur filled a wheelbarrow with hot asphalt and plugged two neighborhood potholes he's been trying to get the city to address for a year and a half. The administration wasn't happy. For starters they
Last week Ward 5 Councilman Ed Ladouceur filled a wheelbarrow with hot asphalt and plugged two neighborhood potholes he’s been trying to get the city to address for a year and a half.
The administration wasn’t happy. For starters they found fault with the work and said engineers were looking at the road - Main Channel in the Warwick Neck Anglesea neighborhood where Ladouceur lives - and Ladouceur’s patch is not a long-term solution. A spokesperson for the mayor said the Ladouceur patch who have to be dug up.
Ladouceur isn’t phased. He said Friday his constituents aren’t faced with the two potholes for the time being.
But the councilman is battling with the administration over more than potholes.
And on Friday he enlisted the support of Father Robert Marciano, pastor of St. Kevin Church and president of Hendricken High School in his bid for a crosswalk on Sandy Lane. The crosswalk was the subject of a resolution rejected by the council even though it had the support of the Police Department and Fr. Marciano.
The crosswalk gained council approval last November, but when it didn’t happen, Ladouceur turned to his council colleagues to formally call on the administration to do the work. Ward 8 Councilman Anthony Sinapi, who has reasoned Ladouceur’s resolutions to fix problems in his ward is setting a dangerous precedent, argued the crosswalk would require two curb cuts at a cost of $30,000 and that the proposed walk was no more than 100 feet from a crosswalk near St. Kevin School.
Ladouceur found allies including Ward 2 Councilman Jeremy Rix who thought failing to build the crosswalk after it was endorsed by the Police Department opened the city to a liability suit if someone is injured trying to cross Sandy Lane in the vicinity. But the argument wasn’t enough to win the necessary five votes.
The council’s rejection and the administration’s apparent reluctance to build a crosswalk befuddled Fr. Marciano.
In a letter dated Nov. 12 2019, Fr. Marciano requested Ladouceur’s assistance in securing a crosswalk for parishioners and St. Kevin School students living on the south side of Sandy Lane. The letter along with the police recommendation was provided to the administration and the City Council.
Fr. Marcaino said about a half a dozen students live in the neighborhood that would be served by the crosswalk as well an elderly gentleman who is legally bind, an elderly woman and several other parishioners who regularly attend mass.
He said if the taxpayers’ money is the issue, the administration should consider the tens of thousands of dollars St. Kevin School is saving the city.
“They (police) made the recommendation. They said yes. This is a safety issue. Yes, it's necessary…We did a traffic study and we've determined, yes, it's necessary. It's a safety issue,” Ladouceur said Friday morning when he stopped by the church to meet with Fr. Marciano. Ladouceur walked the distance between the proposed crosswalk and the existing one with a measuring wheel. It gave him a reading of more than 400 feet to dispel Sinapi’s argument there is a nearby crosswalk.
Ladouceur also takes issue with the projected cost of the crosswalk. He said he has solicited curb cut estimates from several landscapers who gave him estimates of $1,800 to $2,000. Additionally, the walk would need stripes and three signs in each direction.
Speeding on Sandy Lane is also of concern to Fr. Marciano. He said he brought up this issue with the Avedisian administration and that a speed sled was positioned on the road. He said parents dropping off and picking up their children were found to be many of the offenders. He sent an email to parents urging them to obey the speed limit and informing them police would issue warnings, but on a second stop to issue a violation.
“It's terrible. They come flying in,” Fr. Marciano said of some parents. Fr. Marciano thought a raised crosswalk could serve the dual purpose of a safe crossing and slowing Sandy Lane traffic.
“Now that might cost a couple of bucks,” he said.
“But that's where you get 195 kids and their parents coming every day.”