"You never know what you're going to get"... and forcasts are difficult to predict in New England.
So, how can the Governor be so sure that he can decree that ALL the state's roads were closed (with the threat of jail time), when some locations hadn't even received any snow yet?
Why should all the roads be closed based on just a forecast? What other future "emergencies" can be declared ahead of time to establish a power-grabbing precident?...now I'm just being cynical...;) View Comment
Thank you for your thorough and thoughtful answer. "Lame" maybe wasn't the best word for me to use as it is very subjective depending on the age and ability of the person using the playground. Your answer certainly makes me feel more confident about this project. View Comment
Does the whole playground have to be ADA accesible, or just part of it? I want all kinds of kids to have fun play activities, but will items be excluded to be "fair"?
When I was a kid, I went to play on an accesible playground, and it was inclusive but frankly LAME. A lot of it was just ramps. How do we strike that balance of being inclusive, but still inviting and challenging for kids of all abilities?
Also, I tend to think of "town needs" as the things that should get public funding. This to me seems like a great idea, but honestly a "nice-to-have". Why can't it be built by donations and donated labor? I helped build a community playground like the Superpark when I was a kid. I just don't see why it has to be a regular old tax-funded, contractor built project. The old donation-style method builds a playground and community at the same time.
I think it does cut it... the current parks are fine. Kids have imaginations, or at least they used to. It might not look like much to us adults, but it doesn't need to. Parents might be impressed by toys that flash or talk, but my son likes a plain old stuffed animal or blocks just as much.
I think the best thing about the current parks is that they are spread out so that residents can walk to their neighborhood park. I think that encourages physical activity and could help strengthen community connections. I've only seen the playgrounds in North Grafton, though, so I can't speak for the rest of the town. View Comment
Figuring out projected ridership would definitely be important.
I had to take the train to Boston for a few months, and it drove me nuts that I would have to pay $4/day to park my car 4 mi from my house! If there were a connecting sidewalk, I could have walked, and if there were a bus, I could have taken that (as long as it turned out being cheaper than commuter parking).
If the bus is cheaper than commuter parking, would people be tempted to park at nearby businesses for free, and then take the bus? Again, this could be an opportunity for businesses... maybe they could set up some kind of validation system...just brainstorming here. View Comment
$$$... I think talking about shelters might be premature. If bus service is consistent and reliable, then people shouldn't have to wait long.
This is also a business opportunity. If you're going to have people waiting, then put stops near appropriate local businesses where the people could wait. Convenience stores, cafes, and restaurants are already built. Waiting passengers would be much warmer in there than a shelter, and they might even buy a cup of coffee and a paper to support the business.
For example, West Concord commuter rail station has an old depot that is a cafe now. When it's cold out, waiting passengers often take refuge in there, and they buy food and drinks. The passengers are warmer than they would be if they stood in an unheated shelter, and the business gets a captive clientelle. View Comment
Oh yeah, better sidewalks could also help more people take advantage of a bus. There are a few places in town where fixing some some short missing links could make a big difference. (Maybe just some simple asphalt on the side of the road for starters).
There's probably no budget for sidewalks, right? What about a fundraisers or even a 5k to support sidewalk construction in town (afterall, the runners/walkers would probably love to support that)? View Comment
Nice. Oooh, wouldn't it be cool if the WRTA bus line from Millbury (near Rte. 20 and 122) got extended east a few miles, too. Then we could have a transfer stop right over by Post Office Pub. That would be nice for business growth, maybe(?). View Comment
You're right, traffic engineers are good at figuring this stuff out. I work with some. HOWEVER, it IS very important that the context and needs of the town are respected and properly taken into account. Sometimes engineers can design a solution that will technically work great, but it is not the most context-sensitive solution to the site.
That said, I believe that since Graves Engineering is a small local firm, they may have a good feel for the site.
We as a town just need to make sure our needs are effectively conveyed; so, we get the end product we want. They can't design what we want if we don't let them know. View Comment
I also like the town center the way it is. It might be a good thing that traffic slows through the center (many towns are artificially building traffic calming measures to achieve this). What is the priority? Is it to have a pleasant, walkable, calm town center or is it to have smooth flow through the center? Shrewsbury has newer signals and smooth traffic flow as does Northborough, but honestly, I wouldn't want to go walking there. The focus in those areas seems to have been pushed more to movement of cars. I like the Grafton center village feel, and that is part of why I moved here 2 years ago (and not Shrewsbury or Northborough).
Personally, I feel that having better access control and consolidating some of the access points and driveways on the Dunkin Donuts to Stop&Shop stretch of Rte.122/140 would help improve traffic flow greatly.
The relatively calm traffic around the common is condusive to the denser, walkable-style development that is become increasingly more appreciated, I feel.
That said, there probably are still some opportunities for pedestrian-friendly improvements and reduction of ambiguity around the common. Perhaps there is a balance to be struck between traffic flow and calm traffic, but there are many extreme examples of past traffic flow improvements (decades ago) that actually destroyed the potential for vibrant activity in town centers. Fortunately, I think today's designers and planners are a little more sensative to the context of the area. Let's hope we make these needs and desires clear as a town, so that the end project fits our needs. View Comment
I also enjoyed staying inside, and I'm glad that most people did. However...
If the threat of jail time was to "get it through peoples heads", what happens when people realize that the law is not really going to be enforced the next time? Does the threat have to be increased? How far will it go?
Why aren't we first cracking down on drunk driving, unlicensed driving, and people like Lt. Gov. Murray who feel that it's OK to go 108 MPH? View Comment
It was a good idea to close the roads, but do you really need to threaten a year in jail? I had no plans of going on the roads, and if the employers pressure is the issue, the state should deal with the employers directly.
The reason I'm so annoyed about this thing IS because of everyone's freedom. You're saying that because some people are idiots and don't know when to stay off the roads, everyone should be threatened with jail time?
The governor did not need to threaten a year in jail to keep the roads clear. He could have just threatened tickets or license suspension (of course that would not have deterred the "undocumented" people from driving). View Comment
Oppressive leaders==>People get used to taking orders==>people stop thinking for themselves==>people forget how to think==>people need to re-elect oppressive leaders to tell them what to think==>people aren't allowed to think for themselves anymore for their own 'protection'. View Comment
At the time it was declared, there was nothing more than a forecast (which could be wrong) and 1-2" of snow...hardly an emergency.
Why not just say that state roads are closed with a suggestion from the Gov that towns follow suit? Why the threat of jail time? In my view it's a sign of a poor leader resorting to heavy-handed threats. View Comment
As far as suger and ozone...It's called hyperbole, and it's to make a point. Driving is a privelege, but freedom is a right. To threaten to take away someone's freedom, even if they are acting prudently and following the state's driving laws is wrong.
The ban was put in effect based on a forecast. So now anytime a forcast model says a storm is coming, driving will be forbidden ahead of time?
The statehouse likes to have a state full of "sheeple" or "useful idiots" who are easilly led around. It's great because they vote you in continually, but the downside is that they can no longer make common sense decisions for themselves. So, when there's a big storm, you have to actually dictate that they stay off the roads, whereas they used to be able to come to that conclusion on their own.
I wouldn't have gone out driving with or without the ban. Common sense dictates that. The consequences set for violation of this ban were too heavy-handed, and if you disagree you might be one of the "sheeple" holding up the nanny state. (that's the general "you", referring to everyone in the state, btw.)
I like the way the Coast Guard does it. I think he should have said, "anyone that goes out during this time is doing so at their own risk, and any rescue effort if they get stuck will be paid for by them personally with the understanding that rescuers may not be able to get to them immediately."
...and now before you call me a heartless monster about the woman in RI, answer this: Would it have not had the same effect in MA if the roads had been closed with a threat of license suspension or citation? Why did the jail-time get thrown on there? View Comment
It was good that people were off the roads... but I'm not a fan of the over-the-top totalitarian approach.
Coming up next: Gov. Deval doesn't like that you eat sugar...anyone caught eating a donut, whether responsibly or not could be thrown in jail.
...or... "It's forecast to be an O-zone alert day tomorrow, so anyone caught on the roads will be jailed and/or fined."
Just because it worked to protect people doen't mean it's the right approach. It sets a terrible precedent, and frankly, it didn't save that boy in Boston from CO poisoning. View Comment