SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

November 20, 2013

Dorm plans stir up worries

Salem State neighbors concerned about size of building, parking, noise

(Continued)

Architects are currently working on revised plans that will be unveiled at a Dec. 3 neighborhood meeting.

City officials are hopeful those plans will show the taller, five-story section farther away from neighbors’ homes.

Dominick Pangallo, an aide to Mayor Kim Driscoll, said the mayor has been in talks with Meservey about this and other building issues. Ward 5 City Councilor Josh Turiel and Ward 7 Councilor Joe O’Keefe also have met with the president.

With construction four months away and little time to make major changes, neighbor Ben Anderson said it “feels like we, the neighbors, are being short-changed.”

One woman asked why the college allows so many students to have cars. “You can’t have that many vehicles in that dense an area — it’s math,” Elizabeth Francis said.

A college official said that many students work and need cars for transportation.

College officials tried to allay several concerns.

Residents were told, for example, that plans are underway to build an 800-car parking garage, which should ease some of the parking crunch.

Tom Torello, vice president of Marketing and Communications, said the added dorm rooms should put more students on campus and move students out of apartments in residential neighborhoods near the college, reducing both parking problems and noise.

Several people raised concerns about the increased pedestrian traffic from residence halls. especially along Loring Avenue, and the potential dangers created by students crossing streets while talking on smartphones and ignoring traffic.

“You should really think about having crossing guards for your kids, because they’re going to get killed,” neighbor Jeff Rougvie said.

Tom Dalton can be reached at tdalton@salemnews.com.

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