Bristol residents want safer walk to creemee stand

BRISTOL — Getting creemees at the Village Creeme Stand is almost synonymous with summer in Bristol.
But crossing busy West Street to get to that Dreamy Creeme cookie sandwich or classic kiddie-size vanilla-and-chocolate-twist cone with rainbow sprinkles has become a concern for many, given that the destination is among Bristol’s top summer kid magnets.
“The town is working with creemee stand owner Tom Wallace to find a solution that works,” said Town Administrator Therese Kirby.
Kirby explained that in past years the town has simply painted a crosswalk in the middle of the street from the gas station to the creemee stand, but that crosswalk has not met state standards for a legal crosswalk.
And for the town, that painted but not truly legal crosswalk installed in past summers itself created issues around public safety.
“That  crosswalk could have given young children, especially, a false sense of security,” said Kirby. “People were parking on either side of that crosswalk, and they could back up over the crosswalk. But because it wasn’t a legal crosswalk it would have been difficult to give someone a ticket. If you have a young child and they’re walking up past a car, the car could back up.”
A legal crosswalk, said Kirby, must go from crosswalk to crosswalk or sidewalk to sidewalk.
The challenge is that no sidewalk connects to the Village Creeme Stand. The nearest crosswalk across West Street is blocks away at the west end of the town park between St. Ambrose Church and Howden Hall, but the sidewalk along the south side of West Street dead-ends at Paige and Campbell Insurance Agency and so doesn’t connect to the Village Creeme Stand. To the west of the stand, the sidewalk on the north side of West Street doesn’t have any crosswalks to the south side.
 Kirby visited the location a week ago along with Road Foreman Peter Bouvier and road crew member Eric Cota to look at possible solutions. And on Tuesday, she met with Wallace.
“It’s private property, so the town would work with Tom,” Kirby said. “We’re willing to paint the crosswalk, but he would have to install the sidewalk, the actual concrete and truncated domes.”
A “truncated dome” is the official name for the textured surface that lets blind or visually impaired pedestrians know where a sidewalk meets a street and is required for a crosswalk to be installed legally.
The town suggests that Wallace install a concrete pad with a truncated dome at the east end of his property and that the town paint a crosswalk connecting this “sidewalk” on the creemee stand side of the road to the sidewalk at the east end of the Maplefields/Irving gas station property, near the corner of West and Maple streets.
At a meeting this past Monday, the selectboard also discussed the possibility of applying for a grant to extend the sidewalk on the south side of West Street from where it ends at Paige and Campbell to as far as the creemee stand, but Kirby pointed out that that would be a possible solution for 2017 but not for this summer.
“There’s going to be a bunch of aggravated, angry parents here at the next meeting if we don’t decide to do something,” said Selectman Ted Lylis. “I’m going to stay on it. I don’t like the lack of safety. I particularly don’t like the lack of safety for the people who need to be using the crosswalk, who are little kids.”
Reporter Gaen Murphree is at [email protected].

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