Four NP streets to be renamed to meet 911 compliance

Four NP streets to be renamed to meet 911 compliance

Town likely to foot the changeover cost

NORTH PROVIDENCE - Four local streets will get new names as part of a plan to bring them into compliance with the state's emergency 911 system and avoid potential future tragedies if an emergency vehicle is sent to the wrong home.

The changes will come with a hefty cost to the town, not only for new street signs, but for all changes residents of the streets in question will need to make to their personal information, from the deeds on their homes and tax bills, to credit cards, driver's licenses, and return address labels.

It was not clear how many people will be impacted by the street name changes or how much it will cost to change all their personal information to reflect the new names.

Fire Marshal John Horan told members of the Town Council he believes the "onus" for fixing all issues related to the street name changes lies with the town, as it was the fault of town officials in the distant past that the streets were named incorrectly to begin with.

The changes should have been made a year ago when it was discovered that four streets had corresponding streets with the same name, said Horan, as the potential safety hazard had already been allowed to linger for too long. It's time for the town to put its "best foot forward" and fix the problem, he said.

The way the street names are now, said Horan, 911 emergency calls received in Scituate and routed back to North Providence have no built-in mechanism for telling emergency personnel which of the town's two Adams Streets they should go to.

Everything works out if the person calling can tell the dispatchers what street they're off of, said Horan, but what happens if someone who doesn't have that information is making the call on a resident's behalf? What if a child reports a fire that goes unheard because firefighters are responding to the wrong house?

"We can't have that either," he said.

The 911 system is currently flagged to show that there are eight streets posing a potential issue, said Horan, but he said the situation really needs to be fixed once and for all. It was 911 operators who originally notified town officials that there was a problem, he said.

At a Town Council meeting on April 1, Councilor Alice Brady made a motion to send a letter to City Solicitor Anthony Gallone for an estimate on the cost per owner and resident of changing the street names. When that information comes back prior to next month's council meeting, then members will decide on a motion to change the street names, said Brady.

The following are the eight streets up for consideration, according to Horan and Kristen Perrotta, the town's 911 coordinator:

* Adams Street in Greystone, off 232 Waterman Ave., and Adams Street in Marieville, off 1046 Mineral Spring Ave. Officials are recommending changing the name of the Marieville Adams Street to "Adams Road" because it is a shorter street and would impact fewer people.

* Cedar Street in Centredale, off 58 Hobson Ave., and Cedar Street in Woodville, off 53 Hawthorne St. Officials are recommending changing the Woodville Cedar Street to "Cedar Road" because there are no homes on that roadway.

* Hill Street in Centredale, off 28 Morgan Ave., and Hill Street in Woodville, off 77 Tiffany St. Officials are recommending changing the Centredale Hill Street to "Hill Road" because the roadway is shorter and the change would impact fewer people.

* Lee Avenue in Fruit Hill, off 51 Beverly Ann Drive, and Lee Avenue in Woodville, off 1625 Mineral Spring Ave. Officials are recommending changing the Fruit Hill Lee Avenue to Lee Road because there are no houses on that one.

Linda Hirst, of 4 Adams St. off Waterman, questioned town officials at length about their rationale in choosing her street for a name change instead of the other Adams Street, saying residents don't want to have to change all their personal documents.

"You want the rescue to come, right?" Horan responded.

Horan explained that Hirst's Adams Street is a smaller street, with fewer than half of the 30 residences on the other Adams Street, and would mean "less of a financial impact" for the town.

Hirst also wanted to know if residents might be allowed to choose an alternate suffix to "road," like "lane," and Horan said he would have no problem with that.

Council President Kristen Catanzaro apologized "for whatever someone did years ago" in creating the duplicate names, but said for public safety's sake, "we know it has to be done."

Councilor Manny Giusti said he wanted to know how the town will be able to cover the cost of the changes. Horan responded that it will be up to the council to decide on covering the costs, but he doesn't believe residents should have to pay.