SHIRLEY -- One way, no way, which way? Those are the conundrums selectmen have been struggling with to deal with the Frost Street problem. Now, it's solved.
It all started with a resident's complaint about a traffic ticket. Apparently, a police officer tagged the driver for driving through the restricted area of Frost Street that runs behind Town Hall and the police station.
Frost Street forms a loop from Front Street, skirting Briarwood Trailer Park and the two municipal buildings to emerge on Hospital Road, which in turn leads back to Front Street in one direction and toward Devens in the other.
Chairman David Swain had suggesting closing the road to through traffic, but it's the area behind the police station that concerns Police Chief J. Gregory Massak.
Posted as a restricted zone for years, it is off limits for vehicles other than police cars, he told the selectmen at a previous meeting. But some drivers using Frost Street as a cut-through end up back there anyway, sometimes parking to talk on their cell phones.
Monday night, the selectmen discussed the issue again.
After hearing Massak's take, they arrived at a workable solution. Removing existing signs that label the entire street a restricted area and substituting new signs that target only the area behind the police station would settle the matter, they said.
But the ticket still stands, despite a plea from Selectman Andy Deveau to "forgive" it.
Massak said he
Deveau noted reasonable assumptions by the driver, who stated that the vehicle entered Frost Street at the trailer park and that the road is not restricted at that point.
But the chief said that technically, it was at that time, with a sign that said so. Anyway, it would be illegal to squelch the ticket, he said, citing a "no fix" statute.
That kind of mix-up won't happen again, however.
Massak agreed the message is clear. The only section of the road that's off limits now is behind the police station. People should not be discouraged from using Frost Street to access Town Hall, but drivers can't use it as a cut-through to Hospital Road, either. Strategically posted signs should clear up any confusion about the restricted area, he said.
And Mass Development has no objection.
Although the municipal complex is technically within Devens' borders, the town purchased the land and according to agency officials, has jurisdiction over it.
The board authorized Massak and Chief Administrative Officer Dave Berry to consult with Mass Development's Executive Vice President for Devens, George Ramirez, who in turn brought in the DPW director and a DEC engineer to weigh in on the situation.
The upshot was that Frost Street is a Town Meeting-accepted roadway and therefore under the town's control. "Whatever the town decides to do ...we have MassDevelopment's blessing," Massak said. "But if we block it off, they want to know."