Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Swimming with the guppies

One of the nice things about venerable Amherst College is that they annually provide affordable swim lessons for Amherst children; the entire AC Swim Team provides a super-low teacher/student ratio (sometimes simply a private lesson) in the meticulously maintained Pratt Pool.

My eight-year-old has patronized the program for 3 or 4 years now, and even my two-year-old is now participating.

This past year the town of Amherst did not open the outdoor War Memorial Pool for the first time in over fifty years (where lots of swim lessons normally would occur) and the indoor Middle School Pool is no longer available to average citizens (Leisure Services empire is too busy running the Golf Course.)

So this Amherst College program is now even more invaluable.

Score one for Mr. Baseball

It's been a good Autumn for Stan Ziomek: Grand Marshal at Amherst's 250th Parade last Sunday and this nifty new scoreboard in deep left field at, where else, Ziomek field.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tales from the trenches 2

A free, unfettered Lincoln Ave/Fearing St intersection

Okay folks, just doing the job the Daily Hampshire Gazette should do. Got the most recent comments via Public Documents Law from Amherst citizens to town officials concerning the "traffic calming experiment" on Lincoln Avenue. Yikes!

Posted At: Wednesday, September 16, 2009 1:26
To whom it may concern,
I have been traveling Lincoln ave for the last year as a way to get from my first job at Umass to my second job at Amherst College.I only have 30 minutes to get from my office to my car and then drive to Amherst college.Since the Lincoln Ave closure I have been late four times which never happened once in the last year.
I cannot pull out of Fearing street on either end because of the amount of traffic and the fact there is no traffic light.
I am not blaming public works as I know they are just following orders and both the sign crew and highway dept were very helpfull the first day as I stopped and asked thier advice on which way to go.

Posted At: Wednesday, September 16, 2009 5:08

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing in regard to the recent changes to Lincoln Avenue near its intersection with Massachusetts Avenue. I appreciate your efforts ensure optimal traffic patterns around Amherst, however, I feel that blocking access to Massachusetts Avenue has several detrimental effects that may not outweigh the gains achieved.

My primary concern is with pedestrian safety. Traffic that would have used Lincoln Avenue to access the UMass campus now must travel on pedestrian thoroughfares such as N. Pleasant Street and other portions of Massachusetts Ave. Though there are pedestrians on Lincoln Ave, they typically walk in the sidewalk along the east side of the street and, by the nature of residential locations, rarely have need to cross Lincoln Ave. On the other hand, individuals are constantly crossing Massachusetts Ave and N. Pleasant St. By adding more cars to these roads, simply by the nature of traffic volume, it puts pedestrians in greater peril. This issue is of particular relevance as a friend of mine was struck by a car on Massachusetts Avenue (near the intersection with Presidents Drive) last year and is fortunate to still be alive – I do not want others to have to endure the long, painful rehabilitation process that she experienced.

Secondly, traffic will increase on common bus routes (N. Pleasant St. and University Dr.) as a result of being diverted off of Lincoln. Increasing the congestion on these already crowded roads will inhibit PVTA busses from being about to maintain their schedule. They will not be able to move passengers through town as quickly, nor will their posted timetable be accurate. These factors will disincentivize individuals to use public transportation and instead choose to drive or travel by foot/bike. Additional driving would only exacerbate the congestion problem, while foot/bike travel would raise the risk of pedestrian casualties. Furthermore, pushing people toward driving in lieu of public transportation will likely create added carbon emissions, which is a concern for many people in our community.

I am not suggesting that your department was unaware of the aforementioned issues. However, as an Amherst resident, homeowner, and taxpayer, I feel obligated to voice my concern over the externalities that are likely to arise from the road changes. I am sure there are benefits to reducing traffic on Lincoln (e.g., lessen traffic on a residential road, reduce noise pollution for residents, diminish damage to road), but until pedestrians have protected walkways and capacity has been increased on parallel roads, I contend that the dangers and downsides of this particular traffic pattern modification are excessive.

Thank you for your consideration of my thoughts on this issue and your continued efforts to improve the functioning of our town’s roadways.


Posted At: Thursday, September 17, 2009 9:48


I am a resident living on the side of Sunset Avenue closest to the University of
Massachusetts dorms and I am extremely unhappy with the road closures that
prevent me from directly accessing THE ROAD THAT I LIVE ON. It is absolutely
absurd that I should have to cut through the university campus in order to go
through my house. This "experiment" greatly affects anyone who lives on this
end of Sunset and travels by car. As a matter of fact, when searching for
possible houses to rent in April, the main reason that I chose this house was
because of its great location and accessibility from Fearing and Amity. I now
feel that, if I so chose, I could call my landlord and ask to terminate my lease
due to absolutely absurd accessibility issues. If my landlord had an issue with
that I would simply tell him that he must take it up with the town of Amherst.
This conclusion would certainly lead only to bigger problems for the town of
Amherst. If it wasn't for college students, this town would be solely
agricultural and would have far less, if any, business. I think maybe its time
that the town actually did something in the interest of the students instead of
the forever-complaining locals, who's choice it was to live next to a major
college campus. These are the same people who call noise complaints on a daily
basis yet still choose to live next to the most densely populated area of
college kids in the whole country! I really hope I have communicated the
feeling of anger that is raging inside of myself and many other residents and
that something will be done to fix this.
Posted At: Thursday, September 17, 2009 9:59 AM
Posted To: Public Works
Conversation: Lincoln Street closure
Subject: Lincoln Street closure

To Whom It May Concern:

I live south of the UMass campus and the Lincoln Street closure near campus has significantly increased my commute. All traffic is now funneled through a few paths and now gets severely backed up. I live on a street that could be considered an alternate to a main traffic pattern. I knew that when I moved there. Should my street be barricaded as well? That would be great as it might improve my resale value (as an aside, do you plan to raise the assessed values of these properties now?).

I think this action sets a bad precedent and leads to greater strain on the remaining outlets to and from campus, likely increasing the chance of accidents. I suggest the barriers be removed and normal traffic patterns be returned as soon as possible.


Posted At: Thursday, September 17, 2009 12:16
Dear Folks,

I have already sent a letter concerning the blocked roadways, and was trying to be patient since it was only a “two-week study”. I would now like to voice my concern that this will become a permanent situation with dangerous consequences (the potential for which is cited below).

Amherst officials say the installation of partial traffic barriers on Lincoln and Sunset avenues have provided a wealth of data about commuting patterns in town. The diversion will likely stay in place for another 10 days, they say. Commuter traffic to UMass has been rerouted because of the barriers, revealing the need to make change to University Drive, including a reconfiguring of traffic lights at Amity Street, says Guilford Mooring, town highway superintendent. He also says the higher traffic volume on University Drive along with students crossing the road has created new areas of congestion. (Gazette, 9/17/09)

-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Thursday, September 17, 2009 12:25

The traffic changes on Lincoln and Sunset may have helped make it
quieter for folks living on those streets, but it has made it more
dangerous for folks (like me) who work on University Drive.

My office is at University Drive, next to the post office. Traffic
has increased significantly on both University Drive and the internal
parallel road (not sure what it is called). I have noticed drivers
becoming more and more impatient with waiting to turn onto and off of
University Drive; there are way fewer breaks in traffic. Drivers are
increasingly taking more risks by pulling out and accelerating
abruptly onto to the street or by cutting quickly across traffic to
make turns.

I know that University Drive has been a problem area in the past;
these changes have made it worse. Since the roadblock went up on
Lincoln and Sunset, from 2:45 - 5:30pm (at least), traffic is just a
bear on University Drive

I have also noticed a significant increase in traffic in the center of
the town. It used to be relatively simple to go to lunch there. With
this change in place, I am much less likely to go into town and fight
the traffic on North Pleasant and Amity Streets (that intersection has
gotten busier too).

I don't know if this is related, but I went to lunch at Panera Bread
in the Mountain Farms plaza yesterday and it was packed. I wonder if
these changes are having an impact on lunch business in Amherst; it is
certainly affecting my desire to go into town for lunch.

As a taxpayer of the commonwealth I would urge you to figure out a
different way to "calm" traffic on Lincoln and Sunset. Blockading
traffic is not the same as slowing it down and it is making traffic
much worse in other parts of town. I believe everyone would want less
traffic on their street.

While I have some sympathy for residents who have been there for more
than 40 years, Southwest is pretty obvious for anyone buying in that
neighborhood since the 1960s and home prices and values have already
been affected (it is probably a bit cheaper to purchase there because
of Southwest); I am guessing the houses there are still worth a fair

Perhaps blockading Main Street would improve the values of homes there
and make people feel safer? Perhaps blockading the town would do the
same for everyone who lives in town? I suspect it won't help the town
increase its tax base with more business.


Posted At: Thursday, September 17, 2009 1:53

I read that you welcome comments on the traffic calming efforts. Thought I’d add my mine.

I am a regular commuter to and from work via Lincoln Ave to my UMass parking lot. The diversion to other streets makes me realize how much more hazardous they are compared to Lincoln! I tried exiting campus by going out Lincoln and turning down Fearing by SouthWest. The foot of Fearing and University Drive can be a very hectic intersection, with both vehicular and pedestrian traffic. The top of Fearing seems to have fewer pedestrians, but without the light, it is a difficult intersection to move through. My even bigger concern is the effect the diversion of Lincoln traffic seems to have had on the volume of cars moving up and down Mass Ave from N. Pleasant to Comm Ave. With so many pedestrians (and unexpected behaviors – today in front of me a car stopped in the middle of Mass Ave to let two students out!), that short stretch is pretty crazy.

I like the idea of keeping Lincoln open all the way through with two-way traffic AND calming measures. Is there any way to keep traffic at 25 mph (or 30 mph at most)? I hope so.

I agree with your thinking that turning lanes are needed for the intersection of Univ Drive and Amity, and that improvements are needed to the Big Y entrance too.

Thanks for listening – and good luck!

-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Thursday, September 17, 2009 3:49

To whom it may concern,

I currently live on sunset ave and am very upset about the road blocks you have
installed blocking off access to my own house. I understand you don’t want
people speeding down residential streets trying to get to Campus but to block
access off from current residents is completely uncalled for. I live on the
corner of sunset and Fearing and because of the new road blocks in order for me
to get home I need to drive an extra 10 minutes in traffic to get to my house.
To force us to drive completely out of the way and through campus when we are
not even coming from that direction is not fair at all. You treat students like
they do not matter in this town when in fact it is the student population that
keeps this town running. I would like a response to this email explaining to me
the logic behind these road blocks. If you are going to force me to drive an
extra 10 minutes every time I drive home then you should too find the time to
write me back with a thorough explanation.

Thank you
-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Thursday, September 17, 2009


I am an alumni of umass, and I was up visiting this weekend, and couldn't help but notice the new temporary road blocks that have been set up.

Not only do I find them dangerous, but I find that they further complicate traffic, and also divert heavu traffic onto tiny side roads that are filled with cracks and potholes.

I strongly urge that these roadblocks do not remain in place.

Thank you for your time,

-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Thursday, September 17, 2009 4:06

To whom it may concern,

Hello, my name is. I live on Sunset ave, and I cannot deal
with these roadblocks any longer. My street is nearly 100% cut of from the rest
of Amherst, and in order to even make it to my house I have to take University
Dr. to Massachusetts Ave. If I am driving from the middle of Campus, say on
North Pleasant St. where all of my classes are, I have to drive in the most
indirect route to my house, and it is completely outrageous. I understand that
you are trying to cut down traffic through/out of campus, but I am contemplating
exiting my lease because of this horrible inconvenience. I leased my house
because of the location, and now this location is rendered insignificant.
Please remove these roadblocks as soon as possible and not re-post them based on
traffic, you will make residents in this area very fed up and unhappy.

Thank you for you time,

-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Thursday, September 17, 2009 6:01 PM

I live on Sunset Ave and the road block situation is absolutely ridiculous. I
would not have signed a lease to live here if I knew it meant driving half way
around campus through hundreds of students just to get home from getting milk
and bread. I am embarassed and infuriated at the same time. Please remove them
or give me a pass to drive through them. This is unbelievable.

A very displeased,

-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Friday, September 18, 2009 7:59

To Whom It May Concern:

I find it hard to believe that the citizens of Lincoln Ave. have bullied
the Town of Amherst into closing off their street to UMass and the
public. The University has been here since 1863……didn’t these people
realize that they were purchasing homes next to the University? If they
don’t like where they live, then they should move.

The closing of these roads is a major inconvenience to those who travel
to the University every day. If Lincoln Street and/or Sunset Ave. are
permanently closed to “the public” then I will no longer shop in the
Amherst area. And I do a significant amount of shopping during my lunch
hour. I will take my business to a friendlier town. And IF these streets
remain closed, I hope the Town of Amherst has a backbone to stand up to
these selfish individuals and deny them the plowing of their streets in
the winter time. If they want a “private road”, then let them pay for
the upkeep and not use the taxpayer’s money.

Posted At: Friday, September 18, 2009 9:05

Hi - I returned back from lunch last week, using Lincoln Ave to get back to the UMASS building where I work. I diverted to Fearing Street and then tried to turn left on North Pleasant Street to get to campus. Since the removal of the traffic light there, I had to contend with pedestrians, bicyclists and cars going in both directions to try to make the turn. I strongly urge you to remove the barriers ASAP and remind the Lincoln Ave residents that they live on a public street that the public should have access to! Thank you. Most UMASS employees I know do not use the University Drive/Massachusetts Ave route onto campus, due to the high numbers of student pedestrians which cause traffic stand-stills.

Posted At: Friday, September 18, 2009 9:56 AM

I am a UMass employee who uses Lincoln to get to my parking lot (32). The current system is terrible. It takes me an additional 10 minutes to get to my parking lot as I have to go all the way University Drive and up to Lincoln to get to my parking lot.
I have always obeyed the traffic speed laws and am incensed that I now have to drive completely out of my way in order to get to a parking lot that is on the very street you’ve closed.

This plan is very inefficient for all those who use Lincoln St. to park in lot 32.

-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Friday, September 18, 2009 11:21

Dear Sir or Madam:

Like most residents on Lincoln Avenue, we would like to see measures taken to control the excessive traffic on our residential road. The testing measures conducted over the past two weeks, however, controlled traffic in a manner that interfered dramatically with our quality of life, our property value, our personal safety, our peace-of-mind and our carbon footprint. With details of our unpleasant and unacceptable experiences during the traffic calming initiative
provided below, we strongly urge decision-makers involved with this matter to immediately conclude that this experiment was wholly unsuccessful. We urge you to take the boulders down at once.

Significant Property Value Loss

We purchased our house just two years ago, largely prompted by the prestige and history associated with Lincoln Avenue. We also wanted a house in close proximity to Amherst College, one of our employers. We paid $360,000 for a very small single family home at the end of the
road with the assumption that our property was slightly more valuable, prone to appreciation and easier resale due to it being on this esteemed road.

Now, everyone from pizza delivery vehicles to friends, family, home contractors, our landscaping and lawn care company, trash and recycling collectors, electric company/meter readers, heating oil delivery trucks, product delivery trucks and the Boston Globe newspaper carrier have been inconvenienced and forced to venture deep into the private and massive University parking lot simply to access our house. This takes an extra 10 to 20 minutes longer than it had previously, depending on the time of day. (At or around 5 PM on weekdays, this detour can require as much as 40 minutes more than before.)

Were we to sell our home at this point, we would have an extremely difficult time and would suffer from a massive monetary loss, as prospective buyers would need to drive through a parking lot and a private business to access it. It is also no longer connected with the rest of Lincoln Avenue, thus reducing it’s prestige.

Diminished Safety and Security

In the event of an emergency – were someone in the house in danger, the house on fire or being burglarized, to name just a few possible scenarios – emergency vehicles and residents would not be able to get to our house fast enough to respond in an acceptable and reasonable manner. Furthermore, should the University of Massachusetts campus face a lock-down, close roads for any reason or delay snow shoveling, we would have absolutely no access to our house whatsoever. During events, commencement and new student move-in, we are literally
trapped at home with no access to public roads.

Increased Road Rage and Frustration

We come and go frequently throughout the day. We enjoy being close to downtown, shopping and basic conveniences. Simple trips to the library, Amherst College (an employer), grocery stores, doctors, dentists, shops and Amherst Middle School have become major outings,
albeit walking distance from our house. Instead of the previous five minutes needed to reach most in-town destinations, it requires a 20-minute commute deep into the University dodging unpredictable bicycle and pedestrian traffic. Furthermore, there are minimal to no traffic
lights on campus to lessen the stress involved in our commute, with left turns lacking the assistance of any signals or signs to stop oncoming traffic.

Physical and Emotional Disconnect

The current situation leaves the entire household feeling disconnected from the rest of the world. It feels like we’re part of the University of Massachusetts campus, yet we have absolutely no
affiliation with it. We are residents of Amherst, yet we’ve been barricaded into a commercial property zone as if living in a dormitory. We are private citizens paying taxes to enjoy convenient access to the town of Amherst and everything it has to offer. Several people in our household have suffered from intense feelings of isolation, depression and rage since the boulders were installed.

Increase in Traffic Violations and Police Patrol

The concrete boulder placed at the end of Lincoln at Fearing has caused an influx of wrong-way traffic going around it and onto Lincoln Avenue to access the University. Drivers have gone so far as to motion us out of the way so they could enter Lincoln at the Fearing intersection. On one instance, we nearly collided head-on with an oncoming car driving illegally onto Lincoln Avenue while taking our daughter to school in the morning. This has led to increased cost for police presence to monitor and patrol our road.

Detrimental and Unnecessary Environmental Impact

Our carbon footprint has drastically increased as a result of the traffic calming issues: 1.) due to excessive idling while forced to wait for pedestrians and bike traffic to cross multiple crosswalks
within the University on our new commute home, 2.) due to the added 10 to 20 minutes of driving time involved in each and every trip to and from our house with an average of five trips per day per adult driver in our household alone, and 3.) due to the added 10 to 20 minutes of driving time involved for each and every vehicle that needs to access our house including friends, family, deliveries (pizza, packages, newspapers, heating oil), services (electric company/meter readers, contractors, lawn and landscaping, trash and recycling collectors).

As a final note, as tax-paying home owners affected by this major
project, we would like to receive adequate advance notice in the future when projects like this are in the pipeline. We did not know that our road would be closed, as it has been for the past two weeks, until the day the concrete boulders were erected and signs were posted. Not knowing why or for how long this would happen, we searched the Internet and located the announcement on the town website. We do not feel it is too much to ask that property owners be notified via a simple slip of paper in our mailbox and/or letter delivered to the address on property deed records.

We appreciate your consideration to all issues addressed above, your proactive deliberation regarding consequences not yet evident and your continued respect for the needs of all residents on Lincoln Avenue. Please feel free to contact us should you have questions or require further clarification.
Kind regards,

Posted At: Friday, September 18, 2009 4:24

I have forwarded your message. As I understand it, the barriers will be taken down next week. They were put up to study the effect they would have. I believe most commentary has been negative. They are not going to be permanent, so I hope you will not take such drastic steps to hurt your local businesses as to stop using and shopping at them. The loss of business to them will only hurt them and they had nothing to do with the traffic calming project.


----- Original Message -----

Sent: Friday, September 18, 2009 4:03 PM
Subject: Traffic Calming

I am writing to voice my displeasure with the traffic calming project that the town has undertaken. It has created more traffic on both ends of Fearing street, with University Drive seeing long lines of cars backed up at rush hour. Traffic calming is creating more traffic, and doesn't make any sense. Frankly lets call it what it is: you're privitizing public roads under the guise of "traffic calming". You're not calming traffic, you're creating it. As a resident of Amherst, I am strongly opposed to this becoming a permanent fixture. Until it is removed, I will not be frequenting Amherst based businesses, and I will be actively recruiting people to join me. I have already cancelled my membership at a local Amherst gym, been driving into Sunderland, Hadley and Belchertown, for restaurants, and have moved my general shopping out of the Amherst area.

Posted At: Friday, September 18, 2009 4:34 PM
Posted To: Public Works
Conversation: Sunset and Lincoln Traffic Calming
Subject: Sunset and Lincoln Traffic Calming

To Whom It May Concern,
As a resident of Amherst Massachusetts I am deeply concerned with the recent changes to the traffic patterns on Lincoln Avenue, Sunset Avenue, Mclure street, and Sunset Court. As of right now there is only one entrance to my house and with the addition of Mclure street and sunset court there is added stress in leaving my residence. In the two weeks since the barricades have gone up all over my neighborhood my want and ability to leave my house to go shopping or visit the center of town has decreased exponentially.

The traffic all of my neihgborhood has increased ten folds, going up and down Fearing St. as well as on University Drive and Massachusetts Avenue. It is unsafe to continue with the traffic barricades as it creates an unsafe arena for the students to walk across Massachusetts Avenue to get from campus to the southwest area of campus. You are not only creating a hassle for everyone traveling in the neighborhood but also an unsafe traffic pattern for all of the students and other residents who believed the neighborhood was a safe area to walk on foot instead of having to rely solely on fossil fuels to transportation.

Resident of the Town of Amherst
Posted At: Friday, September 18, 2009 8:19 PM

I am appalled with the decision to implement the traffic calming pilot. Not only do I work at MASS Amherst, but I am also a tax paying resident of the Town. Amherst was just rated the best college town....the University contributed to the honor which in turn will bring in business to this community. Instead, the Town decides to close off avenues to reach the school on behalf of a small interest group.

The Lincoln Ave Coalition knew where they were purchasing their home. So now I am held captive to a decision they made. My taxes entitle me to rights and access in this community, just like Lincoln Ave. If Lincoln Ave residents want a private road, then they need to fully support that notion financially and not rely on my tax dollars to set up barricades that jeopardize the safety of 5000 residents who live in the Southwest Area.

I have pulled my business in Amherst and will continue to do so until this fiasco is rectified. Halley will get my financial support.

Please rethink this calming pattern as all I see is a handful of privileged individuals who have raised such an uproar that the town knows no other solution than to keep them quiet at any cost...that cost is the faculty, staff and students (24,000 plus) who make contributions to this community.

Town Resident
Staff Member
Posted At: Saturday, September 19, 2009 9:53

As a 21 year, tax paying resident of E Pleasant St, having NO connection to UMass. Why is my right to travel on Lincoln Ave and Sunset Ave impeded? (In order to avoid all the chaos in the downtown area, Triangle St to Fearing St to Lincoln to Amity St is the safest route)

Amherst roads can not handle the increased traffic the barriers have caused.

Downtown is a mess- especially on Fri afternoons. It was bad before the change- now traffic is backed up in all directions!

Many intersections need to be redesigned to keep traffic moving- separate lanes for traffic turning left are desperately needed (Triangle St/ E Pleasant, University Dr/Amity St)

Traffic lights need to be installed at both ends of Fearing St to assist those turning left.

Route 116 in Hadley needs to be redesigned to handle more traffic. This route is underutilized because it is inefficient. It was built to handle a large volume of cars yet it is always empty.
The traffic light on Route 9 needs to allow more than 10 cars to turn onto Route 116 (it could easily handle a second turn lane) It also needs more exits (and on ramps) for the campus (one directly into the Mullins parking lot area) to help.

Closing roads will only magnify these long standing issues. It is not the solution!

Keep public roads open to the public!

Posted At: Sunday, September 20, 2009 2:48 PM

The past, two-week traffic diversion test off Fearing Street has illustrated a very negative effect for those who reside off Lincoln Ave, North of Fearing street (i.e. the UMASS Lincoln Apartments). Hopefully, the trial results will show that this is not a positive nor permanent solution to limiting traffic on the south side of the UMASS campus.
The diversion simply forces more automobiles to transit through campus on roads highly trafficked by pedestrians and thereby increases the risk of collisions between cars and people. Rather than being able to traffic North on Lincoln Avenue from Route 9, residents must traffic all the way through campus from either N. Pleasant Street or University Drive, and vice versa from leaving the apartments. Instead residents are forced to transit down Fearing Street, a highly trafficked area by pedestrians, rather than being able to leave the area in the most direct manner to Route 9. Many students, or pedestrians in general, walk along N. Pleasant Street, University Drive and Fearing Street to go to and return from the town and shopping areas. Roads like Sunset and Lincoln avenues allow vehicles to move direct routes South to Route 9 and thereby passing these "high pedestrian" areas.
Furthermore, the barriers currently in place during this "traffic calming trial" have not "calmed" traffic or drivers. It has simply enraged them and made driver-behavior more aggitated and aggressive. I have witnessed initial driver reaction to these barriers off Lincoln Ave whereby driver behavior has turned more violent. Hard breaking, peeling out, speeding down Fearing street since drivers were anticipating being able to get to a parking lot in a few seconds suddenly realized it will take them more time to go around campus. Or, drivers have simply gone around the barriers ignoring their intended purpose. Even the Amherst Police have commented that these traffic barriers are "stupid" and have not been enforced during the two-week trial.
If the barriers along Lincoln and Sunset are left in place, then they will continue to increase the probability of pedestrians getting hit by automobiles and commuters and residents will continue to go around them.

Posted At: Monday, September 21, 2009 12:34
To Whom It May Concern:

The redirection of traffic to campus from Lincoln Ave. is a ridiculous experiment. It simply creates more traffic on both of the main roads to campus AND Fearing and McLellan Streets. Because I park on Lot 32, this measure adds to my commute time and cost. I now have to leave a few minutes earlier for work, and I am annoyed at being forced to drive around in circles in an indirect route to get to a large, main campus parking lot on a road to campus that has been traveled for decades. This re-routing has added 1/2 a mile to both my morning and afternoon commute, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a year. So much for trying to conserve fuel and keeping my carbon footprint to a minimum!

I wonder what is really being accomplished in redirecting the paths of so many UMass employees on Lincoln St. at a point where there is only ONE BLOCK left to travel it to arrive at our destination. In addition, I'm curious about how the residents of Fearing and McLellan Streets feel about the increased traffic on their streets - have they been asked for their feedback on this measure???

In summary, whatever issues exist that warranted this type of re-routing experiment probably won't be solved by redirecting traffic from traveling ONE BLOCK further on Lincoln St. It is my sincere hope that the Town of Amherst realizes that more issues will probably arise from such a measure than be solved by it.

Best regards,

-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Monday, September 21, 2009 1:43
To Whom It May Concern:

The redirection of traffic to campus from Lincoln Ave. is a ridiculous
experiment. It simply creates more traffic on either the main roads to
campus AND Fearing and McLellan Streets. Because I park on Lot 32, this
measure adds to my commute time and cost. I now have to leave a few minutes
earlier for work, and I am annoyed at having to drive around in circles in
an indirect route to get to a large, main campus parking lot on a road to
campus that has been traveled for decades. This re-routing has added 1/2 a
mile to both my morning and afternoon commute, 5 days a week, 52 weeks a
year. It is also making more traffic leaving campus especially when there is so
much foot traffice from the school of management. So much for trying to
conserve fuel. Thank you for making my work days even longer!

I wonder what is really being accomplished in redirecting the paths of so
many UMass employees on Lincoln St. at a point where there is only ONE BLOCK
left to travel it to arrive at our destination. In addition, I'm curious
about how the residents of Fearing and McLellan Streets feel about the
increased traffic on their streets - have they been asked for their feedback
on this measure???

Whatever issues exist that warranted this type of re-routing
experiment probably won't be solved by redirecting traffic from traveling
ONE BLOCK further on Lincoln St. It is my sincere hope that the Town of
Amherst realizes that more issues will probably arise from such a measure
than be solved by it.

On another note I will not be patronizing any Amherst businesses anymore since
it is so difficult for travel. Delivery services must also be at a standstill,
so I am boycotting that as well. I have also been doing all of my grocery needs
in Northampton instead of Hadley as well. I use to like to travel to TJ Max on
my lunch hour or after work however I will have to find a new town and new
stores to bring my family of 5 purchases.

My biggest concern as a parent of 2 UMass students: Please reconsider..........
I have a daughter in the dorms directly near these roads, in fact on Sunset.
Can you guarantee to me you have imagined any emergency that could arise in
that area how you would be able to manage the kaos? Has every angle has been
carefully looked at if there is an emergency. Do you have solutions, have you
retrained your police force and fire departments of their protocal if it is
jammed up before you are able to unbaracade your creations. Do you realize how
many students live in that SouthWest Community? What if something happened on
one road like it did in Sunderland a few weeks ago? Is it fair to the parents
of these students? Befroe they enrolled their children were they informed the
town of Amherst would be closing roads and the safety of their children was at
risk because of this. Meanwhile without these students your town wouldn't be
making the #1 town college town in the country.

Please write back to me referencing your plans as to how you would get to my
daughter. Remember this is all about safety!

Thank you,
-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Monday, September 21, 2009 3:14

I work at the University of Massachusetts in the Whitmore Administration
building.. For the last 7 years that I have worked here, I have always
traveled the same way. From N. Pleasant, to Lincoln street to get into
the Whitmore building parking lot 71 (at the other end of Lincoln).
Before I parked there, my parking lot (lot 32) was directly on Lincoln
st. This is why for many years, I am used to getting on and off campus
this way. Now, if it wasn't hard enough to get out of my parking lot
because students crossing, in addition, now I also have to travel down
Massachusetts Ave (main campus road), where I encounter a few more
crosswalks with students crossing. Thats not even the worst of it.
Comiong in in the morning is nothing compared with tyring to get out
(and make it back) for lunch. If I want to leave campus to go to lunch
in Amherst, or run errands in town during lunch, it takes twice as long
to get back on campus. the only routes are to go towards 116 in Hadley,
University drive (which is always busy), and from N. Pleasant to Mass
Ave (also busy at lunch). So this makes it very inconvenient for me to
go to Amherst, and easier to go to Hadley, since there is much less
traffic, and you can come out right by Home Depot. I can now get to the
Hadley mall faster than I can get to Boltwood walk.
So, I do not understand what the point of this is, unless the town of
Amherst is trying to have less UMass staff going to Amherst for lunch,
and instead go to Hadley. I would very much appreciate being able to
use the most convenient roads in order to get to work and travel around
town. If residents didn't want University traffic traveling on their
street, they shouldn't of bought a house there. I would love to have a
house that was that close to campus.

thank you,
-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Monday, September 21, 2009 3:55 PM

To whom it may concern,

The road blocks around campus are making it really hard to get to campus by car. We have to drive all around campus and is really frustrating. I think the road blocks should be taken away.

Posted At: Monday, September 21, 2009 4:02 PM
Posted To: Public Works
Conversation: Road Blocks
Subject: Road Blocks

I would like to file a complaint regarding the blockades on Sunset, Lincoln and surrounding side streets. As a student at UMass who lives off campus in the general area of these blocks (North Pleasant St), I find these blockades to be cumbersome and a general hassle. In addition, I have noticed that traffic at the lights on University Dr. and Mass Ave has increased substantially. I understand why the residents of Amherst would want their streets to be blocked as students are sometimes given a bad reputation when interacting with neighbors. However, punishing every student (as well as some local residents) with this silly inconvenience seems ridiculous. I have noticed in past days that many are ignoring the blocks and simply going around them. This will require extra police force time to monitor which to me is a waste. Please listen to the voices of the students living in your community as we pay upwards of 30,000 to attend university here and add invaluable support your local businesses. If these become permanent, local landlords will have a very difficult time renting their properties on these streets, that is how anxious this is making the student community. Also, I noticed today that Mass Ave will be closed between 1-4 for the Amherst Parade this weekend. Mass Ave is the ONLY way to access the block of Sunset closest to campus at this time. Feel free to contact me for further statements. I have friends living on both Sunset and Lincoln as well as many other streets in the neighborhood. Thank you.
-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Monday, September 21, 2009 4:05 PM
Posted To: Public Works
Conversation: Road Blocks
Subject: Road Blocks

To Whom it May Concern:

I am a student of UMass Amherst and I live in an off campus house on
North Pleasant street. I go to the Chabad Center most days and because
of the road blocks I have a hard time getting to the building. In
addition I must plan ahead an extra 15 minutes due to the increased
traffic that is caused by the road blocks. I understand that residents
are annoyed by students driving by their houses, but we pay thousands
of dollars to come to this university and we are annoyed by the
increased traffic due to the road blocks. In addition I have been late
to many classes that I need to drive to because of the road blocks.
Posted At: Monday, September 21, 2009 4:08 PM
Posted To: Public Works
Conversation: Road Blocks
Subject: Road Blocks


My name is and I am a Senior at Umass Amherst. I live on Sunset Ave and cannot begin to express how terrible these road blocks have been on my roommates, myself and my friends. The extra traffic is clear and the way's to get to my home are now down to one, considering McClure was recently blockaded off as well. As I read a sign on Mass Ave today it said the road will be closed for a portion of the day this weekend for the parade which causes great concern to me as that is the ONLY way left for me to get to my home. On top of the annoyance, extra traffic, extra gas and more, what if there was an emergency? There really isn't much of a route that we could take which would not only cause backup and confusion but a major issue. As someone who is from out of state and pays exorbitant funds to attend this university and I am truly outraged. Had I known these blocks would be in place I really would have reconsidered moving onto Sunset and I know students on Lincoln and McClure who feel the same way. I know when I have called and spoke to people of the town, this is only an experiment and I truly hope the outpouring of students makes it clear how hard this has become on us. I completely understand the way residents of the town of Amherst feel and I think there could be other solutions rather then blocking off streets. I work at a home in Amherst with a family and they too feel terrible for the students and what we are now going through regarding this. I would really love to hear back from the town and I even will give my phone number and talk regarding this situation. I really hope something is done to help this situation that is growing increasingly more difficult.
-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Monday, September 21, 2009 4:13 PM
Posted To: Public Works
Conversation: Road blocks
Subject: Road blocks

I am writing to show my dissatisfaction with the road blocks. Not only does it make getting anywhere impossible for everyone, it also makes more fuel emissions in the air because you have to drive more and makes people spend more money on gas. Whatever problem this is trying to help, it is not. I have only heard complaints about the roadblocks. They help the community in now way. Please consider this message after the road block experiments as it is troublesome to all.
Thank you,
Posted At: Monday, September 21, 2009 4:40 PM

To whom it may concern,
I apologize in advance if this email comes off in a frustrated manner. As a second year student, I am quite familiar with the roads surrounding campus. The road blocks on such streets such as sunset and lincoln are frustrating. It makes it really difficult to commute back and forth from friends houses and in doing so, it creates more traffic on the main streets making the drive take much longer than needed. Please consider getting rid of these road blocks as soon as possible because they are extremely inconvenient for so many students and residents.
Posted At: Monday, September 21, 2009 5:12 PM
Posted To: Public Works
Conversation: Road Blocks
Subject: Road Blocks

To whom it may concern:

As a resident of the town of Amherst, I am truly frustrated at the amount of trouble the new road blocks on Sunset, Lincoln, and McClure have been causing myself and everyone I know that also resides in the area. It is extremely inconvenient and dangerous for there to be such minimal ways to reach these streets and, in my opinion, causes more harm than good. I sincerely hope that these road blocks will be removed in the upcoming months, as they are unbelievably unnecessary and cause there to be more traffic and confusion than help.

Posted At: Monday, September 21, 2009 5:33 PM

My name in and I live at McClellan Street in Amherst.

First off, let me tell you that when this experiment started, I was against it. I thought that since Lincoln naturally went directly to Umass, that blocking it off, seemed like an artificial solution and might very well cause other problems.

After 3 weeks, however, I can see where it is clearly benefiting many neighborhoods around university including McClellan Street. I see less traffic,and less racing down Lincoln and McClellan. Frankly, the traffic appears to be going where it should now, which is on the main arteries going into Umass.

What this translated to is a safer neighborhood environment for many.

I do feel for those that have seen increased traffic, and certainly steps should be taken to help alleviate those concerns. I saw one comment from a woman who was being negatively impacted by rerouting of traffic, indicating that her street did not have sidewalks on both sides. Any street that sees a high volume of traffic like this, should have sidewalks on both sides of street in my opinion.

One other issue that has come up in these discussions is the lack of police presence in and around Umass neighborhoods including McClellan during the school year, I believe this issue still persists with many neighborhoods and really should be addressed by both the University and Town. 

Personally, I believe that instituting a normal patrol on Thurs/Fri/Sa night between 9pm -3 am with hourly police checks would relieve a great deal of these problems. Vandalism and drunk and disorderly conduct commonplace between these hours with little indication of police presence.

I hope this feedback is helpful in your decision process.

Thank you,

Posted At: Monday, September 21, 2009 7:32 PM

I would greatly appreciate if the road blocks on Lincoln and Sunset Aves were removed. I have friends who live on both streets and living on North Pleasant, it's very difficult to get to their homes with the new road blocks. Not only that, but I've noticed excess traffic in town lately that seems to be coming from the road blocks, because people are forced to go all the way through town to get to where they're going. They are terribly inconvenient and are causing back up problems.
Posted At: Monday, September 21, 2009 7:52 PM
Posted To: Public Works

the road blocks at lincoln and sunset ave are unnecessary. all they do is move the traffic elsewhere, not get rid of it. as a resident of lincoln it is extremely inconvenient. PLEASE get rid of them!
-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Monday, September 21, 2009 10:24 PM

Hi there,

As a senior, I moved on Sunset for its convenience. It was close to campus,
close to town, and close to my gym. To my dismay, 2 days following my arrival
on Sunset, extremely annoying road blocks were put up. Had I had known this
prior to move-in, I would honestly not have moved on my street. I am paying a
tremendous amount of money along with my roommates for a house that in order to
arrive at, I literally feel as if I am going through a maze. I, along with many
of my neighbors, will do ANYTHING to remove these signs. I am aware of the
annoyances that the UMass campus in general causes for the town of Amherst,
putting us through these changes, I feel, will only aggravate students to the
utmost degree. With this, I am living on my own this year and have just as
equal rights as any of the other Amherst community members. Please take my
frustrations into consideration when deciding whether or not to keep the signs.

-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Tuesday, September 22, 2009 3:19 PM

I think that your "Traffic Calming" trial is really the latest in absurd
ideas from the town.

Heading south from the campus you just funneled ALL the traffic from a
prior three roadways leaving campus heading south down to two. Take a
look and you will see it. Try going through town at 5pm and see what
you get.

There are plenty of things that could be done if the objective is to
slow traffic on Lincoln.

Heck, why don't you buy a speed checking station that clocks and videos
the traffic. You could send people speeding tickets in the mail and
would likely pay for itself in 6 months time. Hey, lower the speed
limit to 25 or 20 and make even more money.

It could be the Mass Pike for the town of Amherst. All sorts of revenue
well into the future long after it paid for itself. You could probably
afford to fund redoing all the sidewalks throughout the town with bricks
of gold with the revenues.

I have written to the DPW before and exchanged emails with the town
manager about the town not patching dangerous pothole riddled roads.
The attitude that his comments demonstrated represented the
ill-thought-out plan (not to patch the potholes) not unlike this one.

The town spends much time in town meetings, much money on silly things
like tunnels for salamanders. They would do well to spend a few minutes
thinking when it comes to seeking solutions to problems such as this.

Get a clue would you please.

Posted At: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 12:32 PM

I Would like to add my voice to those opposing the "traffic calming" efforts on Lincoln Avenue. Living on Kendrick Place and working at UMass, the re-routing has added significantly to my commute time (and carbon footprint), and has made the commute less predictable due to traffic on Fearing and University. While this increase in commute time is not large by LA standards, it is multiplied by the hundreds of people re-routed every day. Moreover, the traffic is being re-directed over routes that either not appropriate (e.g. S. Prospect) or known to increase hazards (e.g. University and Fearing). In the absence of a demonstration that the barriers enhance the public good (as opposed to the select few that live on Lincoln), I see the result of this experiment being a net negative.


-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 4:32 PM

I am very unhappy with the closing of Lincoln ave. It is adding more
time on to my commute each day.

I have also seen multiple vehicles, driving around the barriers. The
same people that are going to speed and break the law are going to drive
around the barricades when no one is looking. It is the same when the
speed bumps were installed a few years back. That created a situation
where both directions of traffic were going fast down the center of the

It is forcing more traffic onto Mass Ave which has a large amount of
Pedestrian traffic which is creating a more dangerous environment for
the pedestrians. Just today I had someone zip in front of me while I was
in the crosswalk.

People will seek the easiest route from one place to another. Instead
of making one route more difficult, why not make the other avenues into
the University work better by adding in left had turn lanes so that
traffic does not get backed up. The traffic lights need to be adjusted
too. The light at the corner of Mass Ave and N. Pleasant needs to be
adjusted so that people are not sitting and waiting, and no one is going
through the intersection. Triangle and East Pleasant needs more left
hand turn lanes too to allow the traffic wanting to go straight, the
ability to go straight.

This is driving business away from Amherst center. Right now it is
easier for me to go to Hadley for lunch, than Amherst Center for lunch.
I have heard that there are others in the department that have canceled
orders and stopped doing business in Amherst because it is easier to go
into Hadley.


-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Wednesday, September 23, 2009 5:52
According to the press release announcement posted on your website,
traffic calming measures on my road, Lincoln Avenue, were to end today.

"Starting: Tuesday, September 8th, 2009
Ending: Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009"

Yet the boulders remain on my road. Pedestrian and bike traffic
traveling down the middle of my road has grown out-of-hand. I am
extremely frustrated that I am not only forced to dodge thousands of
pedestrians and jay-walkers on the UMass campus multiple times per
day, but am now also unable to safely drive to my house without
dodging pedestrians, joggers and bikers who travel down the middle of
our road.

I am beyond impatient and frustrated with this barricade, and I would
like to have a normal life back. Please let me know why the boulders
have not been removed and when they will be. This weekend, with the
main road on the UMass campus completely closed due to the parade, I
will be unable to get to my home via any streets. We are completely

Thanks for your assistance with this matter.
-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Thursday, September 24, 2009 8:42 AM

DPW & Mr. Shaffer,

I was delighted to be able to return to commuting from my home on
Kendrick Place to my job at UMass via Lincoln Avenue this morning -- at
least, I was delighted until I reached the intersection of Lincoln and
Fearing. At that point, traffic from Lincoln was diverted to Fearing.
Turning off Fearing onto Pleasant St or University Drive can be
difficult because of heavy traffic volume on those roads combined with
the lack of a signal at either end of Fearing. This causes backups and
irritation, both of which are unnecessary.

Given that the disastrous "experiment" with Lincoln traffic ended
yesterday, *when will the remaining barricades be removed from this
public street? * I hope that leaving some barricades in place is not a
ridiculous attempt at compromise. The best solution to the traffic
situation is obvious, and was proven successful last fall: install
speed-bumps on Lincoln (and perhaps Sunset). Make them permanent this
time. I have no sympathy for the complaints of Lincoln residents about
traffic volume, but I support them in their efforts to reduce the speeds
on that road.


-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Thursday, September 24, 2009 9:24 AM

I think "public" streets should be public. Restricting access on Lincoln
makes commutes from South Amherst much longer in distance and time.I feel
like I am being penalized for an infraction I didn't really commit...I
suggest going back to speed bumps if the residents want existing traffic to
be "calmed" and stop the commuting penalty.

Posted At: Thursday, September 24, 2009 6:08 PM

I claim no expertise in calming traffic (or neighbors), but have been living either on (for two years) or in the shadow of Lincoln Avenue for better than fifty years. It is a lovely street, blessed with fine trees, gracious houses, pleasing lawns–though trees have suffered decay or death in some cases. Walking down LIncoln to and from the University in recent weeks has been a new and depressing experience when the concrete barriers come in sight. They are reminiscent of one of the oppressive structures of our time: the Berlin Wall, though on a very small scale. Apart from their contribution to diverting traffic from Lincoln to Fearing (surely a gain to humankind), they spoil the beauty of Lincoln. Good riddance to the barriers.
-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Thursday, September 24, 2009 6:53 PM
Posted To: Public Works
Conversation: Blockades
Subject: Blockades

I am writing to hopefully have some questions answered regarding the new blockades that were put up, blocking access to campus. As a student living off campus, to say that this has made traveling to and from class difficult is an understatement. Not only has it added an extra 10 minutes on to my travel time, it has caused great aggrivation from sitting in traffic. I would really appreciate at least an explanation if not possible removal of these blockades in order to make everyone's life easier.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry
-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Friday, September 25, 2009 10:20 AM

Dear Mr. Shaffer and Mr. Mooring:

Although myself and my Blue Hills Road neighbors had feared that the
temporary barriers on Lincoln and Sunset might adversely affect our
neighborhood, we have been pleasantly surprised. Since the barriers
were installed, traffic volumes on the Blue Hills Road appear to have
decreased markedly; for example, whereas during peak travel period we
used to experience a constant steady flow of cars traveling from Route 9
along the street, now we have very few. (though too many of the
remaining cars still travel at high speeds). It would be interesting
to see if other residential streets near the downtown have had similar

Though the barriers have some rightful critics, this experience has
shown the traffic calming measures can have positive impacts beyond
their immediate location. I hope that the town will continue to move
forward implementing long term traffic calming measures on Lincoln and
Sunset and in other neighborhoods. Hopefully too, the town will
finalize and approve the traffic calming guidelines that the DPW has
drafted for the town. All residential neighborhoods deserve
consideration of their traffic issues, and these guidelines could ensure
that they do. Blue Hills Road, for example, has also been concerned
about traffic volumes and speeds for many years, particularly because
Blue Hills Road has a large number of families and children, a high
level of pedestrians, and no sidewalks to help keep pedestrians and
children safe, and because when Route 9 becomes congested with traffic,
Blue Hills Road is often used as an alternative route.

Thanks for providing an opportunity for public comment on the traffic

Many regards,

-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Sunday, September 27, 2009 10:14 AM

To whom it may concern:

As the experimental closing of Sunset and Lincoln Avenues comes to a
close, I would like to express my opinion on the impact of this

I empathize with the homeowners on Sunset and Lincoln Avenues who
apparently did not realize when they bought their homes that living
adjacent to the University of Massachusetts with its 25,000 students
and a couple thousand more faculty and staff coming and going each day
might create traffic in front of their homes. It is the price one
pays for the convenience of living next to a large, vibrant

I also agree wholeheartedly with the town’s efforts to calm traffic.
Speeding and other violations of traffic laws should never be
tolerated, whether on a residential street in the middle of town or on
a rural highway.

However, the attempt to create a quiet haven for the residents of two
select in-town streets by closing off these streets, did not create
calm. It created chaos, danger, and inconvenience. Furthermore, it
goes against everything that town government should do.

I commute to UMass daily and I park on the north side of campus. I
typically drive by a variety of routes. The ability to have
flexibility to come and go efficiently from campus through the safest
possible route is essential. People use Lincoln Avenue not because
they want to speed through a residential neighborhood. In fact, most
people do not speed, and both these roads have sidewalks (poorly
maintained sidewalks, but sidewalks nonetheless). They drive on
these routes because they are essential parts of the traffic flow and
Lincoln Avenue especially is one of the most direct routes, and also
the safest routes, to approach the north side of campus – particularly
to lots 32 and 71. It avoids dangerous, unregulated intersections at
Fearing and University and Fearing and No. Pleasant and filters
traffic away from Mass. Ave. that runs through the center of campus
where crowded pedestrian crossings are particularly hazardous.

With the barriers in place, everyone heading to campus had to take
University Dr. or No. Pleasant to Mass. Ave., creating enormous
traffic in an already congested area. Was this not foreseen?

We can debate whether the extra commuting time is a mere inconvenience
or something the town should work to prevent.

Something that is not debatable is the real danger caused by the
blockade. More traffic through the center of campus meant more cars
coming in contact with the already dangerous student pedestrian
crossings. I saw close calls literally every single day. We know
there have been accidents before. Some very serious. Some fatal.

The longer, slower commutes for so many drivers also caused more cars
to spend time idling in stop-and-go traffic, spewing pollution into
the air. Is this really the intent of town government?

And what about access by safety vehicles, like fire trucks and
ambulances? Shouldn’t every route be as open as possible?

What happens when the next snow storm hits and UMass closes early, or
has a delayed opening? Both of these scenarios have a history of
creating massive traffic jams, even with the new staggered departure
system now in place for these situations. You can only imagine how
this will be multiplied with some of the main access roads to and from
the campus blocked off. And, again, what happens if a firetruck or
ambulance needs to gain access in the middle of a snowstorm? It’s
happened before.

If speeding is indeed a problem on Lincoln and Sunset, this can and
should be addressed with intelligently-placed speed humps and with
police patrols. While you’re at it, how about patrols to stop people
who run the four-way stop sign at Lincoln and Fearing. This only got
worse during the blockade. And repaving of Lincoln Avenue is
certainly in order as is repair to the sidewalks on both Lincoln and
Sunset. A less pothole- and patch-ridden street will be a quieter
street for its residents.

As I mentioned above, this attempt at calming went against everything
that a town government should do. Government’s mission should be to
act for the greater good of its citizens. This move acted in the
interest of a few “squeaky wheels” out to preserve their
poorly-considered real estate choices, and to the detriment of almost
everyone else in the community.

I hope you will not only forgo any further attempts to close off
access to UMass from Lincoln and Sunset Avenues but also learn from
the valuable lessons that this failed attempt provided.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback.


-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Sunday, September 27, 2009 12:20 PM

the new blockades on sunset ave. have made it very difficult to get to campus
well as have made me late for class.

thank you,
concerned student
-----Original Message-----
Posted At: Sunday, September 27, 2009 9:08 PM
Posted To: Public Works
Conversation: jersey barriers still up?!
Subject: jersey barriers still up?!

Dear Public Works:

I am writing to communicate one more part of my frustration with the
Lincoln Ave "Experiment".

It is now Sunday night, Sept 27 and the barriers are still up.

Your Press release stated that the barriers would be removed on the
23rd of September.

Please.... Take the barriers down.

People have been inconvenienced enough.

Sent: Sat 9/26/2009 1:03 PM
To: Mooring, Guilford
Subject: Traffic Calming
Dear Mr. Mooring, 
Although the experiment is over, I feel compelled to comment on the disastrous closure of Lincoln and Sunset over the course of the past two weeks. I write as one who wears many hats—that of Amherst resident, downtown business owner, runner, swimmer on a UMASS Master’s team, and cyclist. All of these were inconvenienced as I dealt with the road closures. 
Not only were the closures difficult to navigate, causing confusion for drivers, decreased safety for runners and cyclists (myself included), they contributed to a divisiveness and hostility in town that impacts us all. 
I will not go into my particular difficulties with the closure. Suffice to say, the moments I spent idling on my way to swim practice at UMASS felt wasteful both environmentally and in terms of my time. In addition, the idea that people were essentially redirected from my place of business in downtown toward the “big box” stores in Hadley strikes another blow at the movement to support local business. 
I hope that the residents of Lincoln and Sunset can recognize that they live on a vital town artery, warranting the respect drivers should have for all neighborhood roads but requiring fair and unimpeded access for all Amherst residents and those who work here. 
Thank you, 

Sent: Sun 9/27/2009 10:29 AM
To: Select Board; Mooring, Guilford; Shaffer, Larry
Subject: Traffic Calming
Dear Select Board, Town Manager, and Department of Public Works:

Now that the Lincoln/Sunset traffic calming experiment is completed,
please allow me to share my thoughts on its effects and dynamics.

Last weekend my eight-year-old and I rode our bikes into town to pick
up dinner. We traveled down Sunset Ave to Elm St, then across Lincoln
Ave to Amity. What a pleasure it was to travel these streets by bike
with my novice son without worrying about significant traffic. We
wouldn't have ridden into town that day if the experiment hadn't been
in effect, we would have gone a different direction, and if we were to
pick up dinner, I think we would have driven the short distance from
our home.

The Chamber of Commerce voiced concern over traffic calming's effects
on in-town business and UMass employees complained about it taking
longer for them to get to work. Each of these issues cut both ways.
UMass actively works to decrease the number of single driver trips to
campus. Perhaps making it a little less convenient for employees to
get to UMass will encourage those drivers to find other modes. This is
an unpleasant truth to transportation demand management -
inconvenience is one of the most effective tools to change behavior.
Similarly the Chamber would like everyone to use down-town businesses
(and for there to be available parking for all when they get there).
I'd like to think that making our in-town neighborhoods more
walkable/bikeable would help bring commerce w/o the cars. I'm inclined
to think that we've been working to convenience drivers for a long
time and that has not always lead to the development of the kinds of
places we enjoy (think giant parking lots).

I applaud the Town's willingness to consider, and experiment with,
measures that prioritize other values and modes of transportation than
those that revolve around the car. While this or any solution won't be
perfect, neither is the status quo. I hope this experiment will lead
to consideration of town-wide policies in which we start to bend the
preferential treatment for cars back just a bit.

Best regards,

Tales from the trenches Part 1

Monday, September 28, 2009

That's the ticket!

Hint to these two: If you are going to park behind Town Hall in the employee lot you damn well better put money in the meter--especially when you take the Town Manager's spot (even though he's out of the office until next Monday.)

That didn't take long

10:30 AM
The 29 Commemorative flags come down the morning after the Amherst 250th Parade (until Veterans Day). Of course, if some people in the People's Republic had their way the flags would only fly once every 250 years.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

A triumphant Amherst Anniversary Parade

Glad they did not try to put 250 candles on her
Legion and VFW Color Guard leads off
Parade Co-Grand Marshals Barry Roberts, Stephen Puffer, Stan Ziomek
Amherst Animal Control officer Carol Hepburn
Congressman John Olver (serving almost all 250 years now)
There's still time to hit the Big-E
A dancing bear (gotta wonder if it was Cinda Jones)
Old fashioned Undertaker
Dickinson Museum has back to back PR success
Blogging Guru Tommy Devine and friends from the Amherst Survival Center
Gotta have clowns

The Amherst 250th Parade Committee must have channelled Moses as the steady rains parted and gloomy grey skies cleared just long enough for almost the entire 1.5 hour Parade to amble thru town center with all the pomp and circumstance of a Big City parade but that unmistakable feel of a good old fashioned Rockwell small town affair.
Umass Marching Band with Superstar conductor George Parks
Caballos de Paso the dancing horses of Puerto Rico
Those funny men and their flying little machines

Dickinson Homestead renewal

About 100 folks attended the ribbon cutting ceremony yesterday morning on a gorgeous day (much like the day of her funeral) to celebrate the historically accurate grounds makeover for Amherst's deservedly most famous resident, Emily Dickinson.

The $275,000 project paid for by 17 private donors (one of them kicking in a "challenge grant" of $125,000) with a little town seed money to start the planning process ($15,000 in CPA funds which I supported in Town Meeting back in 2005) the entire project required less than a year.

Since Emily Dickinson confined herself to an upstairs room or beloved garden, the Homestead grounds comprised a significant part of her physical world--tended to by Irish servants who later honored Miss Emily's final written request that her white "coffin [was] not driven but carried through fields of buttercups" out the back to a final resting place in West Cemetery.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Make way for the wagon

So as predicted the wondrously beautiful Clydesdale's brought the downtown to a momentary halt as they delivered a case of Bud to business accounts in the downtown.

A Valley with a view

Artwork in progress by Christine Labich

Free at last, free at last!

Thursday 9:00 AM (car from Umass passes across Fearing unfettered on Lincoln Avenue.)

Thank God almighty the "experiment" has ended. The barricades are coming down today although some will be left in place to aid the 250Th Parade on Sunday, but by Monday all traces of the stupidest thing this town has done (since purchasing a Golf Course over 20 years ago for $2.2 million that they could have had for free) will be a distant--malevolent--memory.

Lincoln Avenue: Umass is at your service!
Thursday 9:05 AM (no wonder it will not take long to move them.)

Sent: Monday, September 21, 2009 2:19 PM
To: Mooring, Guilford
Subject: Lincoln Avenue blockade (yikes)

Hey Guilford,

Are they still coming down (or should I say out) on Wednesday? If so about what time (and about how long does it take?)


Yes. They will start coming down on Thursday AM and finish up on Monday. We are leaving the barriers that are blocking access to the UMass Lots until Monday to support the Parade on Sunday.
Once they start coming out it will be quick.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Parade Prep

So in addition to the town hanging red-white-and-blue bunting along the waistline of venerable Town Hall, the state put up these large electronic message signs on the main arteries leading into Amherst Center.

And my wife tells me that we also heard from Town Manger Larry Shaffer this afternoon via the “emergency” call system promoting the Parade.

Sunday, September 27 @ 1:00 PM (no protesters allowed.)

Oh, say can you see

Well I never thought I’d live to see the day: bunting on a town building. What’s next, saying the Pledge of Allegiance in the schools?

Yes BUNTING! That all-American decoration former Select Board Czar Anne Awad (now living in obscurity in South Hadley) used as a term of derision for the 29 Commemorative flags on the night of 9/10/2001, now adorns the People’s Republic of Amherst Town Hall.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

(Over) Riders on the Storm

Hold on to your golf clubs; as President Reagan would say, There they go again!.

Now they want budget builders (Schools, Town, Library) to "coordinate and accelerate their individual budget calenders in preparation for an Override Question on the March 23rd Annual Town Elect Ballot" so as to push/promote hard pressed taxpayers for a Proposition 2.5 Override in the middle of the worst depression since the Great Depression.

Yeah, like we should trust the Budget Coordinating Group!

First shots fired

I'll drink (responsibly) to that!

"Jack", one of ten Clydesdale's (Bud has a total stable of 250), gets groomed.

So after this past weekend's pernicious public safety problem with alcohol and college kids who do not know how to consume it responsibly where Amherst Fire Department actually took the extraordinary measure of issuing a public statement saying they were overwhelmed by ambulance calls, it's unfortunate that those regrettable incidents may reflect badly on these majestic creatures.

The Clydesdales are in town (actually they are stabled in Hadley) for Amherst's 250th Parade on Sunday and this Thursday night will dominate the downtown as they deliver a case of beer to a dozen downtown bars/package stores. And yes, the company is paying for Amherst Police to escort the wagon and do traffic control.

I will be there with both daughters.

Support vehicles

Jada and "Barley" another Budweiser icon.

Silence is golden

Gotta love the body language on Select Board Chair Princess Stephanie (2nd from left) about two minutes into this delay of last night's SB meeting as ACTV (a municipally funded local operation with an annual budget of $250,000) gets it act together.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Deadly reminder

Another Ghost Bike in Amherst

This Ghost Bike marks the area on Montague Road in North Amherst where 21-year-old Blake Goodman was killed the night of September 12 by a hit and driver—the second such fatality this year. Police are still looking for a black Geo Prizm with passenger side damage.

Odd headline but

9:30 AM Update:
Okay now that I've had my coffee I, sort of, get it.

But since alcohol calls (for service) accounted for half the service requests that means non-alcohol calls also accounted for half.

Therefore they could also have simply used the headline "Emergency Ambulance Calls Strain Amherst Fire Department." Either way it underscores how overburdened our professional department is and how ridiculous it is to waste time thinking about going “all volunteer.”

Since some folks don't have a subscription to the Gazette here's the Comment (and if you do have a subscription and read Gazettenet you have to do a search to find today’s front page print article):

Larry Shaffer strikes again. And before we start complaining about Hadley, Leverett, and Shutesbury calls, remember that is 3 out of 48 calls and the town is billing those patients or their insurance company around $1000 each. That is on top of the flat fee each town pays to have the ambulances on call. Umass and Amherst college are also paying six figures to the town for services. Larry Shaffer wants volunteers to handle this? The guy is dangerous. His total lack of understanding of Public Safety and his value of the almighty dollar over the value of human life is disgusting. He should be ashamed of himself! I do not get how Amherst with 45 firefighters can only have 7 per shift on? If you need to staff 1-2 more men per shift on Thursday-Saturday, that would equate to $1,000 per week for maybe 30 weeks a year. The town would make that back up in Ambulance billing by having its own ambulances respond to the emergencies, instead of a mutual aid ambulance, which then gets to bill for its service and the town collects nothing. Amherst has 5 ambulances. On those weekend nights all 5 should be staffed. It does not make sense that Amherst can value money, so much more than life. Especially money that can be recouped by billing out ambulance service. God forbid there is a house fire or a serious motor vehicle accident with traumatic injuries when the department staff is reduced to zero. The consquences would be catastrophic. To the men and women of the Amherst Fire Department; your work is respected and endlessly appreciated by those of us who know. Be proud of the work you do. Chief Stromgren thank you for standing up for your department.

CBS Ch 3 reports (with a headline that makes perfect sense.)

6:15 AM
I'm not sure I get this morning's Gazette front page headline: "Alcohol calls tax Amherst". Maybe they meant "Amherst calls alcohol a tax", or "Alcohol taxes Amherst"?

Either way, it's good to see they are covering stories that happen into the wee hours of Sunday night/morning, although maybe the headline editor needed another cup of coffee.

Of course since the AFD actually issued a public statement Sunday saying they were swamped this weekend and couldn't keep up with ambulance requests--many alcohol related...

Now if citizens really want to lose sleep, imagine what would have happened to your house if a fire broke out while all those firefighters were busy on ambulance runs?