Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Lincoln Avenue blockade redux

Ed Cutting (left), DPW chief Guilford Mooring (center) who would probably rather be dealing with a Nor' easter, Steve Braun (rt) Committee Chair and Lincoln Ave resident.

Strangely enough the Public Works Committee hearing tonight--postponed by last week's snowstorm--heard more of an earful from folks who do not live on Lincoln Avenue and had no sympathy for folks who would purchase their homes in the shadow of Umass, the largest employer in Western Massachusetts, and then wish to turn their neighborhood into Walden Pond.

Five individuals spoke against, and only three (all residents of Lincoln Avenue) spoke dispassionately in favor of the blockade. One of those opposed, Ed Cutting, is also a Lincoln Avenue resident.

Not surprising I suppose, since the survey I did (see results top right) indicate over 90% of respondents opposed permanently closing one end of Lincoln Avenue--the end abutting Umass.
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MIA: Phil Jackson, lead architect of the blockade, and any Umass External Relations/PR folks, who will have to deal with the tsunami of protest from their workers should the embargo be enacted.

33 comments:

Gavin Andresen said...

I don't live there.

I say close'em.

If you live somewhere where it makes sense to cut through to UMass on those roads, you should be riding your bike to work most days anyway.

Anonymous said...

Considering the hateful comments on this blog alone and on other news publications, I certainly don't blame residents for sitting it out. Never seen such bigotry against a class of people since I lived in the south. Makes me ashamed to live in Amherst. I agree with Gavin.

LarryK4 said...

So they are a "class of people"? (obviously not "working class" who toil at Umass next door)

Anonymous said...

Have you seen what UMass people get paid and their outsized pensions? Boo hoo. Don't start crying that they are working class. They make more than the rest of us. Everyone would love a UMass job.

LarryK4 said...

Oh, I'm sure more than a few would beg to differ.

Anonymous said...

http://www.masslive.com/news/index.ssf/2011/02/umass_employees_lead_roster_of.html

Anonymous said...

So the issue comes down to UMass employees upset that they are not paid enough? Why, then, is this the fault of Lincoln Avenue residents? I think I'm a bit lost.

Anonymous said...

Depends on who you are when you work for UMass. I barely clung to middle class -- even though I had graduated from there, they put me in the clerical track.

Oh well, envy is nothing new.

Caren Rotello said...

It's hard to see what this has to do with bigotry. Or with the size of UMass salaries.

It's also hard to see the sense of just insisting people ride their bikes instead. Sure, that sounds nice. But some people carpool, need a car for specific activities before, during, or after working at UMass, are physically unable to ride a bike, or think that riding a bike in the snow or rain is dangerous.

I work at UMass. I also live in downtown Amherst and commute (carpool) via Lincoln most days. We bought our house with full awareness of the benefits we would gain from the location, as well as the price we would pay (loud student parties). If Lincoln Avenue residents were not able to do their own due diligence before purchasing their house, and somehow failed to notice the large university at the end of the road, I just don't see why their lapse justifies causing traffic jams and increased commute times for the majority of residents.

Lincoln Ave residents' safety arguments don't hold up -- other roads are more dangerous.

The speed arguments don't justify closing the road -- speed bumps have been shown to work in that location.

The volume argument is a non-starter. Blocking a road because it's used a lot simply doesn't make sense (should we close Main St? Route 9? Shays? People live on those roads, too) and it pushes all those cars onto other streets that can't handle any additional volume.

Keep Lincoln open.

Ed said...

There is a very big environmental issue being missed here -- every time you stop a vehicle, you have to again start it. That produces a lot more pollution than if it had been allowed to continue rolling. And every vehicle stuck in traffic (that isn't (a) hybrid and (b) has no heat/lights/radio going) pollutes while waiting to go.

So (a) people aren't going to ride bikes who already aren't and (b) messing up traffic throughout the rest of town will CAUSE MORE AIR POLLUTION!!!!!!!

Aren't we opposed to air pollution?

The cars have to get from South Amherst to UMass somehow -- and I really do like the idea of the Lincoln Corridor Expressway -- four lanes wide, Jersey barrier down the middle, all the other roads blocked off and 65 MPH straight down to the Pike -- with blasting through the notch for grade.

Hey, this is about as sensitive to the needs of others as the asinine wall proposal...

Ed said...

One other thing -- the more difficult it is to get cars to UMass, the more neighborhood "pressure" that UMass gets, the more inclined they are to move jobs where the jobs would be more politically beneficial to them anyway -- Inside I-495 where the legislators are.

Remember the old "dpc" computer jobs that used to be on the first floor of Whitmore and then went to Hadley and now are in Shrewsbury? Anyone playing attention to the "Springfield Initative"?

Wichendon has some lovely houses on roads that have very little traffic on them....

Anonymous said...

Yup, close'em. Have not heard any convincing argument to the contrary - just a bunch of name calling.

Vincent said...

1) In response to Anonymous 10:06, please clarify Close what? UMass?the only name calling I saw was denigration of UMass employees. I'm sure the cafeteria workers and others on campus would be thrilled to learn of their "outsized pensions"

2) One thing I found quite telling at last night's meeting was the Lincoln Avenue resident that was dead-set against closure last year when her house was on the wrong side of the barrier. This year her house is on the right side of the barricade and she is strongly in favor of closure. Her argument for closure was the safety of her children. Since the barrier stopped traffic on both sides of the obstruction, any safety gains would have been felt equally last year. Making the assumption that she hasn't suddenly started caring about her children's safety, one is forced to draw the conclusion that (at least for her) it's not really about safety. I could, of course, be wrong...

Anonymous said...

Lincolne Avenue blockade redux

Larry, not Lincolne too. First Lincoln, now Lincolne, when will the madness stop? Soon it will be Lincolna and Lincolno as well.

LarryK4 said...

Thanks for the copy edit. For some reason Blogger does not spell check headlines (I'm sure at some point they will get to it)

But since President Lincoln was one of my childhood hero's carried over into my current advanced age, still no excuse.

But it was kind of a l-o-n-g day. I was preoccupied with the 'story of the year': Catherine Sanderson changing her mind about running for School Committee; and that started around 5:30 AM.

And I had to run up to Town Hall at 4:55 PM to find out who WAS going to run in the local election (turns out almost nobody.)

Then run to the Bangs Center to cover this debacle at 7:30 PM. And keep in mind I do not get paid for this.

Anonymous said...

Larry, appreciate all you do to keep us informed. Thank you! I often turn to your blog first to find out what is going on in this town. I and many others will be relying on your info and insights even more once that other well-read informative blog shuts down in March.

LarryK4 said...

Thanks. A little appreciation goes a long way.

And I'm hoping (for the sake of the town) the "other well-read informative blog" does NOT shut down on the morning after the election.

Anonymous said...

Catherine has already said she will shut down the blog when she steps down from the School Committee.

LarryK4 said...

Yes. And two weeks ago she said she was going to run to retain her School Committee seat.

Over the next six weeks she may come to realize that her blog was the secret to her success--combined of course with her SC seat--in bringing about much needed, long overdue change.

And even without her "official" title, Catherine Sanderson has built up a following of readers and trusted sources that would be the envy of any MSM journalist/columnist in the country.

Anonymous said...

MSM?

Anonymous said...

MSM: in the context of Sanderson's blog must mean Mainly Sado Macochists.

Anonymous said...

Mainstream Media

Both Rick and Irv used Catherine's blog to reach out to the community after the Super. vote, since they recognize how people tune into it.

Whatever happened with Rick's own blog btw?

To have a successful blog especially one on current events, you have to put a lot of time and effort into it, as you, Larry, and Catherine have done. I guess Rick wasn't up to it.

Anonymous said...

Irv also used the Community Supported Education blog on Monday to reach out to the community. Rick and Irv have both posted on the CSE blog in the past.

Sparky said...

"But since President Lincoln was one of my childhood hero's carried over into my current advanced age, still no excuse."

Translation please?

anon dimwit said...

"Over the next six weeks she may come to realize that her blog was the secret to her success--combined of course with her SC seat--in bringing about much needed, long overdue change."

Quite the opposite. If she's smart, over the next six weeks she will realize that the blog led to her downfall. It was on the blog that she let her most hostile, confrontational colors fly. When others called her on her bad behavior and responded in kind, she ran away and blamed the critics. She ended up looking like a sore loser in the superintended debate. You must be her only public supporter.

anon nitwit said...

"...And keep in mind I do not get paid for this."

Boo hoo. You can always shut the blog down. We won't miss you.

LarryK4 said...

Nah, that would make Cowardly Anon Nitwits like you W-A-Y too happy.

Vincent said...

Getting back to they Lincoln Ave issue, it seems to me like the fix is in, despite overwhelming disapproval for the closure. Does anybody (e.g. Larry) have a copy of the original proposal produced by Phil Jackson? The response from DPW to an FIA request hinted that they would have look hard to find it (indeed!) and then copy it, both expensive propositions. Also, I'm at a loss as to the process used to decide these matters. Finally, is there any way we can actually do something about generating a compromise, e.g. speed bumps that doesn't disrupt a rather large swath of the community while ensuring safety?

Anonymous said...

I still dont understand why we can't just have the police ticketing all speeders there for a few days...set up in the morning and evening rush hours. A few days of that should solve the problem.

Anonymous said...

Because the point is, they don't want the traffic regardless of what speed it is traveling. And for some reason the town feels like obliging them. I don't get it or agree with it. but we've been at this for years with countless hours of the town staff's energy being spent on coming up with solutions to the "problem", not to mention a hefty amount of dollars considering the years of budget cutting we've endured in other areas of "priority". So, we've had several dozen unsolved break ins in town, but we can't afford to add cops to the force. We have pot holes everywhere in town, but we can't afford road work. We have a firefighting and emergency services force stretched to bare bones limits, but can't afford to beef it up. We have an increasing population of needy students in our schools but have had to cut rather than add teachers and support staff. We have numerous MORE busy streets that don't even have sidewalks, yet this street with a safe pedestrian way is deserving of special attention. Clearly it's the squeaky wheel and not the screeching one that gets the grease around here. We all need to speak up, ask for an accounting of what is and has been spent on this endeavor
--both in time and money-- and request an explanation for exactly why THIS as opposed to other priorities are so
deserving of the town's time, attention and dollars.

Anonymous said...

8:14, you really summed it up nicely! I'd love to know exactly how much time/money has been spent on this.

Anonymous said...

That sure would be a public documents request from Larry that I could support.

Anonymous said...

"We have pot holes everywhere in town, but we can't afford road work"
Pine Street!!! (flat tires for all!)

"We have numerous MORE busy streets that don't even have sidewalks, yet this street with a safe pedestrian way is deserving of special attention."

Pine Street!!! (try to walk on it!)