Houlton Police Department to close road for Halloween

14 years ago

HOULTON, Maine — Trick or treating in Houlton should be a little bit safer this year thanks to the efforts of the Houlton Police Department.
In an effort to promote public safety on Halloween night, High Street (between Franklin Avenue and Park Street) will be blocked off to through traffic from 4:30-9 p.m. on Oct. 31. Weeks Street will also be blocked off by the Fair Street intersection.
    “Typically, residents in this area see several hundred children during the evening trick or treating and it can become quite congested with vehicles, adults, teenagers, small children and their pets,” said Houlton Police Chief Butch Asselin. “Because children sometimes wear masks, don’t always carry flashlights or wear reflective clothing, the community has been most fortunate over the years not to have had a child injured or knocked down by a slow moving vehicle.”
By listening to people’s concerns, the department sent an officer door-to-door canvassing the impacted area and a message was also posted on the department’s Facebook page to solicit comments. According to the chief, the response has been very good and incredibly positive, so the department felt it was worth trying.
High Street will be blocked off from Franklin Avenue north to the First Congregational Church by the Park Street intersection.
“Unless you are a resident of that street section, parking will be prohibited,” Asselin said. “If they wish, the department has received permission from Pastor Barbara Wright to allow parents to park at the First Congregational Church. The entrance of the church parking lot is “U” shaped which is ideally suited for traffic to enter and exit in one direction. The parking lot has the capacity for only 40 vehicles. Once the parking lot is full, the barricade will be moved to the Park and High street intersection. Parking is also allowed on the adjoining streets.”
Volunteers from the Citizen’s Police Academy will be posted at either end of High Street. The volunteers will move the barricades for emergency vehicles and for the people who reside in that area. The department will have one officer on foot patrol within the enclosed area to assist where needed.
Because of the lack of sidewalks and the width of the street, the south side of Franklin Avenue by Dow’s Market will be posted with “No Parking” signs for 200 feet east and west of the intersection. Parking will be allowed only on one side of the street in that vicinity.
Following Halloween, the department will critique the plan in an effort to improve it for 2011.