Sunday, January 30, 2011

Amherst's Berlin Wall: The news spreads

UPDATE (11:15 PM): public hearing Tuesday night has been canceled due to the weather

UPDATE
(10:15 AM) Note poll over on the right. You can only vote once and No, you do not have to live in the People's Republic in order to vote, as you may want to someday drive to Umass, the veritable flagship of our state higher education system.

Springfield Sunday Republican reports (click hotlink to read)

Yeah, the readership of the Sunday paper is probably twice that of other editions. Yikes!

If town officials were smart they would start this "experiment" on April 1st, and then after the deluge of cranky calls, emails and text messages overwhelms the system by the end of the day, nix the project the following day and just attribute the whole thing to an "April Fools Joke".

58 comments:

Anonymous said...

fucking totally wrong. what a buch of crybabies

Anonymous said...

This is a victory for a neighborhood that deserves a better quality of life than being the off-ramp for the university.

LarryK4 said...

What kind of scares me is that town officials already tried this and it was a complete, utter, miserable failure.

Are they that dense to think it will suddenly be a success this time around?

Anonymous said...

To address the speeding vehicle issue, has it ever occurred to the town to post police with radar guns and start a major crackdown on speeders. Speeding is a legitimate concern but there are other ways to address it then blocking access to UMASS.

Begin a very major crackdown. Assign several officers to the street for a number of days to pull over EVERY speeding car. That will have a huge impact on speeders I would think. Then, after the initial effort, every so often, announced, another major effort at speeders. Put the speeders on notice that they speed at their peril. And make enforcement a continual process.

LarryK4 said...

And that way it makes money for the town rather than costing it; and--perhaps more important--will avoid harming downtown businesses who are going to feel the sting when the blockade occurs.

Anonymous said...

I meant to say "unannouced", not "announced" follow-up efforts targeted toward speeders.

I hope someone will bring this up as an option at the hearing that is scheduled. I have another meeting to attend that day and will not be able to attend the hearing.

Anonymous said...

And, also, a crackdown on motorists who speed up going toward pedestrians in a crosswalk! Goodbye deficit!

Anonymous said...

"This is a victory for a neighborhood that deserves a better quality of life than being the off-ramp for the university.

January 30, 2011 7:59 AM"


spoken like an overpriviledged brat.

Anonymous said...

Go ahead and block the street off. Then from that point on, the residents of that street are responsible for the plowing, paving and maintenance of the street and sidewalks. Go for it idiots!

Anonymous said...

You act like this would be the first dead end street in town, doofus. The town is full of them and they all enjoy more peace and quiet than Lincoln Ave.

LarryK4 said...

Umm...except for that 150 years of previous history NOT being a "dead end street".

Anonymous said...

Times change. The Mullins Center, a 10,000 person arena, is only the latest addition to a problem that has been growing for the past 50 years. University Drive was designed to specifically bypass neighborhoods and channel traffic in an efficient way to and from campus, and traffic should be channelled to use it.

Anonymous said...

You gotta love those residents on Lincoln. They sound just like people who buy a house under an airport's traffic pattern, then campaign to get the airport closed because of the noise. What did you think you were buying when you bought there?

Elad Worfner said...

Lincoln, Lincoln what you been drinkin? I don't know but your neighborhoods stinkin!

What will be interesting is how many people will be embarrassed to admit they live on Lincoln Ave. when they run into other folks from town. I'm sure not all the residents on Lincoln Ave. are squeaky wheels.

uninformed local said...

"Are they that dense to think it will suddenly be a success this time around?"

Larry, you should know better than to bother with that rhetorical question.

LarryK4 said...

Yes Anon 2:31 PM times do indeed change. And some visionaries actually figured it out in the late 60s and early 70s.

If the Northeast Bypass had actually passed Town Meeting, we would not now--or I should say "you would not now"--be having this problem.

Naturally, NIMBYs killed THAT idea as well.

Anonymous said...

Could you please post the names and email addresses of town officials we should contact to try to stop this experiment before it begins?

Thanks.

Anonymous said...

There is a bypass. It's called 116, which has an exit that goes straight to UMass. People should use it instead of going through our neighborhood.

Anonymous said...

Yes, Amherst businesses, please note Lincoln residents want UM traffic to all use Route 116--straight to Hadley.....

there's town support

Anonymous said...

As compared to shopping on our street? Be real. Using your own logic this will force more people to go through town where the stores are.

LarryK4 said...

Your street is pretty darn close to the downtown and pretty darn convenient to use to get there from Umass, especially when you only have an hour or less for lunch.

Anonymous said...

NO, people will not go through congested Amherst, in fact people will avoid going there to shop.
That's what happened before. this experiment was tried. You are incorrect in your fantasy

Use logic yourself, there are speeding laws in place. If you were truly worried about the speed of the traffic,you would ask for more police coverage.

Instead you bought on a through street, likely because it made the house affordable for you (again it's likely that a comparable size house in Amherst Woods would have been out of your price range)
Now you want through traffic cut off for your selfish needs (you just want less traffic).


You have sidewalks, other residential streets don't. So other residents' children are more at risk from speeding traffic than your neighborhood's but I take it that doesn't concern you? because you and yours are more important than others?? There is only so much money; we keep wasting money solving your "problem" that isn't real.

The police could monitor, stop speeders, make money. Instead we spend money that could be better spend truly making another area safer.

Ed said...

As to "speeders" -- I am one. The sign says 30 MPH - and anywhere but Amherst, (h..., anywhere but Lincoln rich-spoilt-brat-white-racists-live-there Avenue), that means 30 MPH. (Or two minutes to the mile...)

Not so on Lincoln Avenue -- the bright flashing "speeding" sign went off at 14 MPH -- yep, less than HALF the posted speed, and I was "speeding on Lincoln Avenue" even though anywhere else the cops would have had grounds to stop me for driving so slowly.....

I say we just give the names and phone numbers of the schmucks behind this to the local Klan chapter and tell them that they have friends on Lincoln Avenue...

Ed said...

Larry, I am going to have to oppose your Gateway project on the grounds that UMass isn't going to look out for either its students or its employees, and if the Town is given control over what had been UM land, we might be looking at the same thing on North Pleasant at some point.

What the schmucks running this town fail to understand that absolutely everyone who is a minimum-wage-worker on Beacon Hill is a UM grad. Every one of whom - on either side of the isle, hates Amherst. So when every legislator hears "Amherst Sucks" every day, and Sen Stan goes to become US Rep Stan, then Amherst is going to be totally f*****.....

Can't happen to nicer people. Do I hear a 5000 mil rate for Lincoln Ave properties????

Anonymous said...

My son almost got killed on Lincoln the other day. With all the snow he had to walk in the road and someone that was speeding almost hit him. This road is not built for the traffic and speed that it currently has.

LarryK4 said...

And of course that did not happen on any other street in town over the past week or so...

Anonymous said...

How about installing those annoying speed bumps. Then Licoln Street drivers will have to slow down also.

Anonymous said...

NONE of the residential streets are built for the speed people travel on them. Try walking home along East Pleasant or South East Street, Pine Street, even in the SUMMER with no snow.

Why aren't you residents keeping your SIDEWALKS cleared as you are required by law? Then your children can walk on those.

Our children don't have that luxury.

Anonymous said...

in fact most New England town streets are not built for the amount of traffic

close em all down....

or build sidewalks on all of them and enforce the speed limits

but why is two or three streets more important than others...i.e. getting multiple resources, sidewalks, traffic closing

Taylor said...

This is classic elitist behavior. The rich, intellectual elites that reside on Lincoln Avenue desire to have their exclusive enclave gated from those who work the staff and labor jobs at a lowly publicly funded University. They do want to be associated with the measly peasant class that must travel to their working class jobs each day, and want them banished from their neighborhood forever. They certainly do not want any of those repugnant students anywhere near their property. After all they would never send their children to a lowly public college. They were already rebuffed during 3 different “experiments” including last spring’s utter failure. However like most rich elites, they can not understand how anyone does not think like them and will just keep coming back until they get their way. They are accepting of everybody, unless of course you do not think just like them, then you are turned out until your thinking conforms to their accepted ideology.

The people of Lincoln Avenue are the worst kind of residential inhabitants. The ones who expect the public to do everything for them and at everyone’s expense but theirs. They are vile pigs who live off the public dollar by collecting paychecks at Umass and Amherst College (a tax exempt institution and a receiver of federal aid) but would never want the lowly working class to traverse their neighborhood. They have no understanding of how offensive the idea of creating a private way at tax payer expense is to the substantial majority of taxpayers. They refuse to acknowledge the lack of significant accidents or injuries on Lincoln Avenue over the last 20 years. They do not care about public safety, they only care about themselves. This all about greed and selfishness.

The public hearings will be packed with taxpayers vocally protesting this gross display of wealth and power attempting to oppress the working class. I can promise you, the tax-payers and working class citizens of this area will be well organized and vigorously oppose any attempt to create a private way at taxpayer expense. If greed and evil do win out, the ferocious push-back from those who are disenfranchised will be so loud, so frequent, that the residents of Lincoln Avenue will be wishing they were living on a 4 lane super-highway

Anonymous said...

A very odd post considering that neither UMass or its students pay any taxes to maintain Lincoln Ave. However, we as residents do. And, since the post was clearly written by a student (its immaturity has me believing so) I would point out that public universities are cheaper than private universities solely because they are subsidized by the taxpayers. Thus, we are also paying for a part of your education.

Anonymous said...

UMass students are spoiled brats that have never paid a tax in their lives but want to tell the world how it should be run. Over the years I have seen them riot, overturn cars, smash a bus stop, start bonfires in parking lots, and prove themselves to be a complete nuisance to the adjoining neighborhoods. Never have I head of any of those terrible things happening because of Lincoln Avenue residents. They are to busy working for a living and paying their taxes.

Ed said...

"Times change. The Mullins Center, a 10,000 person arena, is only the latest addition to a problem that has been growing for the past 50 years. "

A problem created by an earlier generation of rich white townie schmucks.

In the 1960s, UMass wanted to buy land (more to the West - but the then-undeveloped corridor all the way to Route 9) and the town went to then-AG Ed Brooke and got him to order UMass to stop its eminent domain expansion. (Ed Brooke then became the US Senator in the seat now held by John Kerry.)

This is all up in the Special Collections in Tower library.

With the 116 bypass built im 1958 and wildly successful (North Pleasant Street had been 116 before that - if you look up in Sunderland, you can see where the powerlines still follow the old roadbed even though there isn't a road there) there was a plan for a Route 9 bypass that would go through Mark's Meadow, have a cloverleaf with the 116 Bypass, and then continue west over a 2nd bridge over the Connecticut and connect to I-91.

And there was a plan to have a third cloverleaf on 116 behind where the Mullins Center is located which would serve the old campus (the existing exit serving the new campus).

The very same mentality that is complaining about Lincoln now complained about all of that then and thus created the very problem of today.

Facts matter, children....

Ed said...

"University Drive was designed to specifically bypass neighborhoods" AND TO HAVE ABSOLUTELY NO DEVELOPMENT (OTHER THAN HOMES) ON IT -- which is why there are only three allowed curb cuts on the West side of it, and why that second access road had to be built.

If there was no commercial development along U-Drive -- which would hurt Amherst -- then it could handle a much higher traffic volume. But Amherst wanted the development....

" and channel traffic in an efficient way to and from campus, and traffic should be channelled to use it" so that we can keep the n*ggers in their place and out of "our" neighborhood.

THIS IS ALL ABOUT RACE & CLASS -- THEY WANT TO MAKE 200 POOR PERSONS OF COLOR DRIVE AN EXTRA 2 MILES TO GET ANYWHERE SO THAT THEY CAN HAVE THEIR ELITIST WHITE'S-ONLY NEIGHBORHOOD. AND THESE PEOPLE ARE LESS DESPICABLE THAN THE KLU KLUX KLAN?!?!?!?!

Where are all the "Social Justice" folk on this????

Ed said...

"My son almost got killed on Lincoln the other day. With all the snow he had to walk in the road and someone that was speeding almost hit him."

That does it.

As a certified K-12 teacher, I am a "mandated reporter" -- the law is not clear about situations I observe outside the course of employment as such, but a report from me is still going to be that of a "mandated reporter."

And the next time I see negligent parenting on Lincoln Avenue -- children being allowed to play in the street (ANY public street) is by definition "negligent parenting", I am going to call whatever Deval has renamed DSS to.

Your child almost got killed because you are a negligent parent and weren't properly supervising him. And were you not a rich white leftist with the proper political connections, you probably would be on the State's radar screen for that.

And why don't you shovel your damn sidewalks, anyway?

Ed said...

NO, people will not go through congested Amherst, in fact people will avoid going there to shop.

Did it ever occur to anyone that much of the traffic on Lincoln Avenue is people seeking a different route to congested downtown Amherst?

For example, when one wants to grab a quick lunch at Antonio's or Subway or even ABC (or the AmLeg), one goes North on Lincoln, turns left onto Amnity and either parks on Amnity or in the old Academy lot. Downtown thus gets the benefit of a lot of customers who never have to drive through downtown.

And what you schmucks don't understand is that the people who access downtown via Lincoln simply aren't going to bother if you close it -- they will use University Drive or the 116 bypass and spend their money in HADLEY.

Larry -- the guy running ABC isn't stupid -- is there more behind his desire to move down to U-Drive? Does he see what I see???

Ed said...

A very odd post considering that neither UMass or its students pay any taxes to maintain Lincoln Ave.

Wrong. I think you will find (and I will ask the DPW guy) that the vast majority of the money used to maintain the road is Title 90 Money which comes from a combined tax of about 60 cents per gallon of gasoline. This is paid by everyone who uses gasoline, as is the tax on tires (excise, not sales) as are quite a few other taxes including that local meals tax.

Furthermore, people who rent apartments (ie your hated students) actually pay MORE in property taxes than you do because of how the town tax system is set up. And even those who live in tax-exempt housing wind up paying indirectly actual money.

But beyond that, if there were no UMass, Amherst would be like Bernardston or Wichendon or Ware. Been to any of those places recently? There are some damn nice houses in Wichendon, but I bet they aren't worth a quarter of the value of your Amherst abodes because there is no traffic there...

You all might get what you asked for...

Ed said...

"I would point out that public universities are cheaper than private universities solely because they are subsidized by the taxpayers."

Not really -- John Silbur makes an excellent point that the cost of public universities is actually quite a bit higher than private universities -- and if you then also look at things like value and the fact it now takes a UM Undergrad the equivalent of 5 years to graduate because they can't get the courses -- UMass is not a bargain.

But take this one step further, which taxpayers are subsidizing UMass -- what percentage of the money that UM gets comes from Amherst and which percentage comes from the taxpayers of the other 350 municipalities?!?

Parents in EASTERN MASSACHUSETTS are paying the vast majority of these taxes -- they, not you -- and then to whom does the money eventually go?

Yep, the people who live in Amherst.

Thus, we are also paying for a part of your education. But I am paying far more to you in subsidies and largess than you ever paid for me.

And the other question is one of intergenerational obligations -- something that will become quite relevant to schmucks like you with both Social Security and the State (UMass) Pension system flirting with insolvency -- should the generation making money be asked to pay for the assistance of those not because they are younger or older than them?

A lot of baby boomers are going to find that the two younger generations, who didn't have a lot of money spent on our educations (UMass is not really a taxpayer supported university anymore) aren't going to be willing to pay for your retirements.

So sorry...

Taylor said...

To the anonymous poster at 11:28 and 11:50 (yes you posted twice) who is obviously as ignorant, as they are arrogant.

I am not a student. I am a resident of Amherst, not an employee of UMASS, and a highly educated professional.

Umass does not pay taxes, yet the salaries they pay, allow many Amherst residents to pay their property taxes that will pay for your exclusive private enclave. The income taxes they pay go to the local aid that Amherst receives from the state. Those students who you detest are the economic engine that drives Amherst's businesses, its residents' incomes, and its tax base. So do not ever lecture me on the the sources of money for the town and the university. I promise you I have an answer each time and if you continue this push, I will publicly humiliate every resident of Lincoln Ave. Think how much the out of town media outlets will love the story of the richest property owners in town, who bought their houses because of its proximity to the town's major employer and its primary business district, now want to use tax payer money to create a publicly maintained private way so as too increase their quality of life at the expense of others and place the traffic burden on other streets where the residents are not affluent enough to bully the town's government into getting their way.

Anonymous said...

Lincoln Avenue residents please understand your quality of life will decrease if you bully the town into accepting your mandate of an exclusive private way for the rich and privileged. We will see to it that you are scorn of the town. Your street will be a blight on the landscape, and each resident will be marked with a Scarlet L,that will subject you to continual ridicule and humiliation. Be careful what you wish for.

Anonymous said...

"THIS IS ALL ABOUT RACE & CLASS -- THEY WANT TO MAKE 200 POOR PERSONS OF COLOR DRIVE AN EXTRA 2 MILES TO GET ANYWHERE SO THAT THEY CAN HAVE THEIR ELITIST WHITE'S-ONLY NEIGHBORHOOD. AND THESE PEOPLE ARE LESS DESPICABLE THAN THE KLU KLUX KLAN?!?!?!?!"

That is the stupidest thing I have ever heard. When you have no factual argument of merit, pull out the race and class card. Absolutely shameless and shameful.

Anonymous said...

the republican article said it isn't about speed, which the bumps solved, but about volume. It also said emergency vehicles will be able to unlock a chain. A chain??? How much will that delay response time? I can't believe the Police and Fire Chiefs will go for that. Or the Select Board when they think about the possible law suits...

Ed said...

neither UMass or its students pay any taxes to maintain Lincoln Ave.

Two other things:

First, you can deduct your property taxes from your Federal Income Tax -- along with mortgage interest. Those of us who rent can do neither.

Second, all of the UMass PILOT payments come directly from the students, who are "taxed" without reference to what we own, and have to borrow to pay these "taxes" with the repaid money not being deducted from future income taxes.

So post your income tax returns before you start claiming how much you pay in property taxes because you only pay the net between what you paid and what you deducted with every other wage earner making up the difference for you....

Anonymous said...

Wow, the hatred is really up a notch on this blog today.

May I suggest yoga?

Anonymous said...

"students, who are "taxed" without reference to what we own"

You are not taxed. You are paying for a service, your education.

Anonymous said...

It's been pointed out that there are other residential streets, that have no sidewalks and their posted speed limits are higher (Pine, East Pleasant, South East, to name three).

Thus the " the barriers are needed to cut down on excessive speed & provide safety argument" is nil. You have a sidewalk.

What's left then?

The owners didn't notice the University was there.

or

They didn't realize that people drive cars in town and to the University.

or

The amount of traffic is more than the property owners want.

I think it's the third and therefore the conclusion is that THEY did not buy wisely.

There's nothing the town or other taxpayers are responsible for. This is a result of the buyers' lack of foresight.


Why do they think it is right for the Amherst taxpayers to subsidize their lack of foresight?


Solution: go buy a house on a cul de sac. You made a mistake; you are not willing to make the trade off for the convenience of living centrally in a university town.

What about a little personal responsibility here???

Anonymous said...

Come on Anon 3:42

Shameless or shameful Get off the fence.

Anonymous said...

Tues, Feb 1st, 7PM: public hearing on proposal to install traffic barriers on Lincoln Ave and N. Hadley Rd as part of an experiment to reduce traffic volume in the precinct 10 neighborhood, scheduling discussion.

Anonymous said...

Any idea if they're switching the meeting date due to the latest snowstorm?

LarryK4 said...

Pretty good chance. I hear the School Committee already rescheduled tomorrow's meeting/interview with Maria Geryk for permanent School Superintendent.

Ed said...

Larry -- any word if they are going to realize that the same folk who want to go to the Maria G meeting want also to go to the Berlin Wall meeting? And maybe not have both at the same time?!?!

BTW -- I really had to try *hard* not to laugh tonight when they were talking about not "walling off" UMass from Amherst...

And I was serious about student transportation home: URI, UConn, the other four UM campii, UNH and USM all have either commuter rail and/or Amtrak service to Boston (where the college kids want to go) and UMaine Orono will have it when Amtrak goes up to Bangor (at least it will only be 10 miles away and the local public transit will take them there).

Yes, Amherst has Amtrak to NYC/DC (I am taking it down to CPAC next week) but there is NO train service to the east, the jobs out here are (a) scarce and (b) usually pay about a third less than the ones they had in high school, and with all the party crackdowns, most of the undergrads are going back to their hometowns to party with their high school friends there.

My point: ALL Amherst streets will have a high traffic volume until there is a divided highway connection to the Mass Pike. (All of the aforementioned universities have one fairly close.)

Maybe we should propose a counter-proposal, the Lincoln Avenue Expressway -- four lanes wide, posted at 55MPH, and extending through the swampland and up through the notch and connecting with US 202 and thus I-90 & I-91...

That would solve a lot of other traffic congestion problems in town....

Anonymous said...

January 31, 2011 7:22 PM

"You are not taxed. You are paying for a service, your education."

Education is not a service, it's a commodity. At least in America. That includes Amherst.

Anonymous said...

Change the name of the blog to "More out of control spew from Ed's pie hole.

Who are you screaming at Ed? In case you haven't noticed, you have verbally assaulted everyone who wrote in here.

Have you ever agreed with anyone?

Go ahead now and disagree with me. I'll bet you can't just sit and keep your mouth shut.

Here's another new name for the blog, a shorter version: Ed's Spew.

Ed said...

Yep, Ed can't stay quiet -- FYI and from Masslive with a Thank You to the APD officer who told me I could find it there (couldn't find it on the town site):

In Amherst, tonight's public hearing on a proposal to close Lincoln Avenue to through traffic has been postponed because of the weather. The hearing has been rescheduled for Feb. 8.

Anonymous said...

Gazette:
AMHERST - A hearing on a strategy to prevent Lincoln and Sunset avenues from being used by commuters to get to the University of Massachusetts, scheduled for tonight, has been postponed due to the snowstorm.

The Public Works Committee meeting is rescheduled for Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Pole Room at the Bangs Community Center.

Department of Public Works Superintendent Guilford Mooring said the hearing on the plans, which include installing barriers at the northern end of Lincoln and Sunset avenues near Massachusetts Avenue this spring, will begin at 7:15 p.m.

The proposed project would be the third experiment since 2007 aimed at slowing vehicles and cutting into the number of them using the streets on weekday mornings and afternoons to get to UMass.

LarryK4 said...

Kind of ironic that such a hot public meeting gets canceled because of snow.

Yeah, I think Mr. Mooring has far better things to do this week anyway.

Ed said...

Larry --

Why is a UMass truck plowing Lincoln Avenue?

Just wondering....

LarryK4 said...

Positive PR?