Traffic concerns top issue in District 3 council race

Traffic concerns top issue in District 3 council race

CUMBERLAND – Both Democrats in the Town Council District 3 primary used their final news release of the campaign to highlight traffic concerns in the district and across town.

The primary next Wednesday, Sept. 12, will decide the seat, since there is no announced challenger in November’s general election.

Incumbent Lisa Beaulieu emphasized some of the steps officials have already taken to address traffic issues, adding, “there’s no debating the fact that there is more work to do.”

“The council, over the last two years, has dedicated attention and resources toward speeding issues,” she said. “Some of the issues raised by my opposition – like the inaccurate statement that we cut $25,000 from the traffic calming budget – simply aren’t true.”

Challenger Tim McCann says police need to be given adequate resources to enforce local laws, saying Beaulieu’s suggestions of making changes “is a bunch of fluffy.”

“There is an old saying, if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem,’” he said.

The Breeze previously reported criticism from McCann on the council’s cut of $5,000 to the police department’s traffic enforcement budget. McCann initially said that amount was $25,000. Chief John Desmarais later confirmed the lower amount but said he’s looking to have the $5,000, plus additional funding, put back into the budget next year.

“If the council really believed traffic and speeding was an issue, they should be increasing the budget not reducing it,” said McCann this week.

Over the last two years, says Beaulieu, she and other council members have expressed concerns related to speeding through neighborhoods and traffic-related issues such as the left-turn issues at Seasons Corner Market on Chapel Four Corners. The new box painted on the pavement at the Bear Hill exit of Seasons was originally part of the later stages of the roundabout project, but was advanced to the start of the project to allow monitoring to determine if it is a viable solution to keeping exiting cars from blocking the lane.

The council also authorized the addition of three police officers to the budget to begin to address traffic problems, an issue that “is far from being fully addressed,” said Beaulieu.

Explaining the $5,000 cut again, she said there had been no expenditure from that line item for five years, and Desmarais had confirmed that any reduction of the item would not impact police efforts at traffic control.

A vacant traffic control position was filled in 2018, said Beaulieu.

She noted that an informal survey she ran in 2016 resulted in 250 responses, with the number one issue reported as speeding.

“We should be evaluating successes in other communities to identify what would work for Cumberland,” she said. “Residents deserve to see how we are and will address the speeding issues.”

McCann said he’s not really sure what Beaulieu is saying with her claims of action steps taken to date “other than acknowledging that there is a problem in the town with speeding.”

“As I walk and talk to people in the district, I’m amazed at how many people don’t know who she is, and the ones that do don’t think she’s aligned with the wants and needs of the residents,” he said.

McCann said it’s clear his opponent’s agenda is the schools, “and that is fine, we need to invest in our schools,” but said town officials also need to ensure that local students in those schools get to and from school safely.

 

Meet the Democrats running in the Cumberland Town Council District 3 primary:

Lisa Beaulieu

Address: 196 Hines Road

Age: 52

Resident of Cumberland: 26 years

Employment: Principal quality analyst at Medtronic

Education: Bachelor’s in computer science, Northeastern University

Community activities: Cumberland High School Boys Lacrosse booster parent

Public Service: 2016-2018 Cumberland Town Council, finance chairwoman; 2006-2016 Cumberland School Committee, four years as chairwoman, two years vice chair; 2015 Rhode Island Association of School Committees’ Howard Kay Award for Outstanding Leadership; 2015 Rhode Island House of Representatives Fair Funding Formula Study Commission; 2014 Rhode Island Senate Task Force on School Housing Aid

Family: Married to Rick, three boys, Forrest, 24, Chandler, 22, and Henry, 16

Timothy McCann

Address: 164 Bear Hill Road, Unit 30

Age: 52

Resident of Cumberland: 52 years

Employment: Hasbro Inc. from 1985 to March 2018; owner of McT’S Tavern in Cumberland since 2014

Education: Graduated Bryant College with a degree in business administration

Community activities: Former member of executive board at Cumberland/Lincoln Boys & Girls Club; active sponsor of Bikers Against Child Abuse; active sponsor of the Jon Partington Memorial Golf Tournament, which will be held Sept. 29. Also sponsored many fundraising events at McT’S Tavern, including Relay for Life, Roland Paquette Foundation, The Tammy Desmarais fundraiser and Wounded Warriors, raising more than $100,000 for people and groups in need.

Family: “Proud father” of Kayla Fournier. “Pop” to Keigan, 3, and Parker, 1, Fournier and future “Pops” to Lila Biddle. “Married to the beautiful” Sandi Iwuc, who is mom to Kristen and Stephen Iwuc.