Tracey and David Culver: Northampton residents have reason to be leery of road projects

Saturday, March 01, 2014
To the editor:

Frankly, we understand neighbors’ concerns about a paving project on Hinckley Street in Northampton (editorial, Feb. 24). North Maple Street in Florence was recently repaved. The result? The drains are either too high or the road surface is incorrectly cambered — water floods the sides of the street, turning to black ice in the winter.

City officials must be aware of this, but nothing has been done to fix it. The contractor that did the work should have been called on to fix the problem immediately.

Again, the road that runs through the middle of St. Mary’s Cemetery off Bridge Road recently had a sidewalk installed. We travel that road at least four times a day and have never observed a single pedestrian. The drainage on that road surface was also done incorrectly, and now the road is covered in water and black ice in the winter.

Where are the city engineers who should be overseeing these projects? And why are sidewalks “essential to vibrant neighborhoods,” as stated at a recent meeting? In vibrant neighborhoods, folks walking down the sides of the road are no different than the same folks walking down the sides of the road elevated by 6 inches — not a rational argument for installing sidewalks, especially considering that at the recent public hearing, one city leader said the project would be “a nightmare.” But they also promise that “when it’s done, you’re going to love it.”

Ask the folks who live on North Maple Street in Florence how much they love the “improvements.” Ask Northampton commuters what they think of the icing and water problems on city roads. Any road project should be looked upon with fear and loathing by citizens impacted by the construction — and anyone else who drives these roads on a daily basis.

Tracey and David Culver