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Bedford Village Inn owner decries planned traffic turning change at Olde Bedford Way

BEDFORD — Jack Carnevale, owner of the Bedford Village Inn, told the town council he feels singled out, and if the town prohibits left-hand turns at Olde Bedford Way it could adversely affect his business.

Carnevale spoke passionately at the town council’s July 17 public hearing on a proposed no-left-turn ordinance at the intersection of Olde Bedford Way and Route 101.

Carnevale said he owns most of Olde Bedford Way, except for one property, and noted there was no crowd of concerned citizens in the audience.

“To put those restrictions on my property by prohibiting left-hand turns from my building onto 101 is absurd,” he said. “The town keeps holding my feet to the fire.”

Carnevale said about 10 years ago he applied for building permits to expand his inn and had to meet several contingencies. Now, at the nearby Bedford Hills, he said, developers seem to be given full rein to build a 400-unit apartment complex, a Dunkin’ Donuts, a liquor store, a restaurant and a bank — all adding traffic to an already busy intersection. Most of the councilors and Town Manager Jessie Levine said they were unaware of what transpired 10 years ago and that it has no bearing on the present situation.

“There’s nothing punitive here,” said Councilor Bill Dermody. “It’s about safety.”

After about 20 minutes of testimony from Carnevale and two residents who said a no-left turns ordinance should be imposed on Bedford Center Road instead, the council agreed to table the matter for 90 days until Carnevale and the highway safety committee find alternatives.

In her motion to table the issue, Councilor Kelleigh Domaingue said, “There’s never been an accident as a result of a left-hand turn off Olde Bedford Way. Why are we solving problems that don’t exist? Why do we feel the need to legislate a non-issue?”

Carnevale said he is willing to place signs, at his expense, at exits and entrances to the inn suggesting guests use the traffic light on Constitution Drive to enter Route 101.

At the beginning of the meeting, Bedford Police Chief John Bryfonski spoke in support of the restriction, saying 35 accidents have occurred from January 2007 to July 2013 in the corridor that runs from Constitution Drive to Colonial Drive. Accidents, he said, have resulted from left turns from Bedford Center Road and not from Olde Bedford Way.

Bryfonski said the highway safety committee recommended the restriction as a proactive approach.

“The perspective of the committee is that this is a preventative measure to reduce potential problems with traffic at that intersection,” he said. “Most of the collisions are rear end due to congestion on 101, or cars jockeying for position as they merge from two lanes into one.”

Drivers often try to rush through or run the light at Constitution Drive, especially during morning and evening rush hours, Bryfonski said.

Carnevale said he would like to see traffic counts from and to the Bedford Village Inn and other data supporting the need for this ordinance.

He said he doesn’t want to see serious accidents or fatalities at the Olde Bedford Way intersection, but that road is not the problem and the town should look at other intersections along Route 101.

Exiting Bedford Village Shoppes, for example, he makes a left-hand turn crossing two lanes of traffic, he said.

“There’s other businesses that seem to pour more cars onto 101 than the BVI does. I don’t see why we‘re being singled out. I have a hard time understanding why this is happening,” Carnevale said.

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