Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
Hi 11° | Lo -11°

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

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



Editorial: One Northampton street’s long wait for repair

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Potholes are not a traffic-calming measure. The reaction by some Hinckley Street residents in Northampton to what should be happy news — after 20 years, their pothole-ridden street is on the list for repair — is puzzling to say the least. The city is planning for a $1.5 million reconstruction of the street in the Bay State section. It was …

Legacy Comments7

Theresa1, you missed the point entirely. Of *course* streets should be maintained and repaired. Yes, we all pay taxes toward that end. However, the City of Northampton's past efforts at road construction and repair have not been completed successfully, as expressed in this letter. Therefore, future street and road projects should be viewed cynically by all residents and abutters. Our current DPW is apparently incompetent, as are the civic planners and 'engineers' that should be overseeing these jobs. At this point in time, the 'biggest liability to the city' is City government itself.

The concerns of some, do not want repairs, they want to keep their "intimacy"; they like their potholes ; they are worried about traffic; they do not want to update the water system; they do not see a need for sidewalks. Point taken, the DPW needs oversite; but to scare people from these very needs is unacceptable. The mayor whom the majority voted in, needs to step up and ensure, whether it is the DPW or outside source that the quality control over the contractors is performed to ensure quality results, which needs to be specified contractually. Bottom line is that Hinckley Street in its' current state is a safety hazard and this project needs to be performed.

The DPW is going to do what it's going to do, regardless of public opinion. What's the most irksome thing isn't their arrogantly single-mindedness, it's that they give every appearance of being reasonable, being open to suggestions, and even proactively solicitous of public feedback. The leadership at the DPW does not have the trust of the public. They are so bad at their jobs that they've even left their own workplace in such disrepair that it needs to be torn down. Of course they need new digs! They thoroughly neglected to care for their current location. That same neglect is behind so many of the 'urgent' and 'unforseen' projects that residents are now going to foot the bill for. Let's get some people in that department with technical skills instead of people skills.

Public opinion, the majority want this and have been asking for this street to be repaired for a very long time. How you feel about the DPW is not the issue, These people pay their taxes, and any money whether for Chapter 90 or otherwise is paid by taxpayers, and they deserve it.

Thank you, justcurious, I'm with you all the way. Neglect by the DPW - yes, their own building; the reservoir dam, maybe? The sudden need for a new storm water fee for residents? The culture of neglect at the DPW has apparently been decades long. Something must change, and soon.

How could I have forgotten to mention the astronomical increases in the water and sewer rates for Northampton home owners - said to be necessary to address the 'crumbling infrastructure' currently in place. Negligence, decades long, again.

Hinckley Street is an absolute driving, pedestrian, and biking safety hazard. To not move forward with this repair plan would be a complete disregard to a known safety hazard and is a liability to the city. Imagine if nothing is done, what, do you think the street is going to miraculously repair itself; no it will further deteriorate to the point where it is not passable and the dollars allocated for this repair would have been dispersed elsewhere. The very selfish individuals who are concerned about their "intimacy" are not concerned about safety of others, not to mention emergency vehicles that are responding to calls on this street. "Frankly," it is not your worry about who and when someone uses a sidewalk. This neighborhood has long been established, and is more than deserving of this repair. To even consider not moving forward with these repairs is absurd and would be a total disregard to safety as well as the quality of life.

Post a Comment

You must be registered to comment on stories. Click here to register.