Friday, August 10, 2012

Not Ready For Prime Time

Yes, the barriers have come down around Atkins Corner and the extensive detour signs have all been covered with black executioner hoods, but the electronic road sign on the busy section of West Street leading into the mess this morning still says "Road Closed Ahead."

When they get around to changing it perhaps "Travel at your own risk" would be a better statement. Because not too far down the road the pavement ends as the stretch of road immediately in front of the main entrance to Hampshire College is still torn up.

The first roundabout was usable a couple months ago and the center greenspace could already use  mowing.

And foot traffic around the new second roundabout? Forget about it.

Yes, after surviving the dusty gauntlet you can still find Atkins Farms Country Market, just don't dawdle in their front yard.

With the masses set to return to our college town in a couple weeks, let's hope Baltazar works double time to "finish" this important project.


Anonymous said...

Not the day to drive South to check it out!

The UMass *Air Raid* Siren system needs some tweaking-

Took awhile for U Mass employees and Amherst residents nearby to learn what the issue was- A friend working at U Mass wasn't able to dicern amy more than I was...

Finally the home page posted a thenderstorm *warning*

Anonymous said... double time to "finish" this important project.

Larry, you're funny.

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:34PM -- Absolutely no one on campus knew what was going on -- and a lot of people, myself included, wondered if radar had just spotted a tornado in the area.

It would have been one thing to say "there is a severe thunderstorm approaching" and presuming that people are adult enough to make their own decisions regarding their personal safety.

Or there is the UMass approach of assuming that the university will make the decisions for you -- and hence "this is an emergency, await further instructions." Heaven forbid they tell anyone what the emergency was....

This is how a mass hysteria gets going. For example, when a tree falls on power lines, the fuses blow and at 8700 volts, they literally explode, it sounds just like a gunshot and there are three of them in most cases. So the thunderstorm brings down tree and people have (a) been told there is an emergency situation and (b) now heard what they thought were gunshots. Everyone has a cell phone, can anyone imagine where this would go real fast???

And then some lost (and soaked to the bone) parent wanders into someone's office and is presumed to be the "active shooter" and then do we see where things go???

I think the Amherst Select Board should ask some very serous questions at their next meeting....

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I didn't hear the UMass warning sirens, but I did hear the "All Clear" tones from AFD. Of course, I had never heard them before and didn't know what it was ... talk about your basic clusterf***. Glad we're improving our public safety communications.

Anonymous said...

Oh, it gets better. Just about the time that UMass was sounding the "all clear" tones, the NWS was issuing a tornado warning and apparently there was a real tornado touchdown with damage near Hartford CT and talk of another near Monson.

This is beyond clusterf*** and getting into criminally stupid.

This is like drunken fratboys yanking fire alarms without realizing that sooner or later, the fire department isn't going to take the alarms seriously anymore and then when they actually have a real fire, no one will notice...

The adult thing to do is to tell everyone what you know and how certain you are of it -- not to assume some sort of parental role where you are making decisions for them...

trussdob said...

Larry, While I support the Atkins Corner project submitted feedback on its less than acceptable opening last week to MassDOT...

Hello there,
I'm writing to comment on recent work done on Rt. 116 in the Town of Amherst, informally known as the Atkins Corner Roundabouts. I realize it is technically a town project but I know there is MassDOT oversight.
First and foremost what an excellent solution to a section of roadway that had been un-safe and deteriorating over the recent years...job well done! The roundabouts on the UMass Amherst campus and on Rt. 9 near Look Park in Northampton have also been great traffic calming success stories. You have my continued support for their use in future projects.

I also wanted to comment on how the Atkins Corner project was opened this past Thursday. While I understand there has been a lot of pressure from area residents due to the closure of 116 and subsequent detours (which added no more than ~8 minutes of travel time in any direction); I think opening them in their current state wasn't the greatest idea. Please let me take a moment to politely explain.

First would be safety, I drove through there this weekend and there was absolutely no signage installed. No yield signs (biggest issue) and no directional signs telling people where to go. I know how to use a roundabout and I'm very directionally oriented so I had no problem at all navigating these......watching other drivers however I quickly realized that there was a lot of confusion. For example, as I approached the south roundabout I prepared to yield and stop as another vehicle in the roundabout was coming around. As I came to a stop to let her continue she stopped completely and started to wave me in. At the same time another driver was coming around behind her almost causing a collsion. As an aside, there were also a lot of road closed and detour signs still up and un-covered in the area. It is expected that drivers will need to "learn" how to use a roundabout.....however there are TWO at this location making the confusion where present even more pronounced and dangerous.

Second, the top-coat of asphalt has not been put down in the roundabouts....the result is a 3-4 inch high vertical "curb" at the truck apron. One driver clipped this on Sunday in the south roundabout and tore open the sidewall of her tire.

Third, the roadway near the Hampshire College Main Entrance is not paved. Usually not a big issue but the surface is unusually bad. When construction resumes on that section (and they have a lot left to do) traffic backups at that location and falling back to the roundabouts will make many area residents extremely frustrated. Safety aside these last two issues will undoubtedly leave an unpleasant feeling with many area drivers in regards to these wonderful new roundabouts......and in a world of NIMBY's this is the last thing you want to happen for the acceptance of future endeavors.

Again, kudos on an excellent design and project regardless; this is in no way a rant.....I really do support this project. I just wish those in charge would've realized a bit of frustration of another week or two of relatively minor detours would've been much less damaging than folks trying to use a truly un-finished project. I hope Atkins wasn't part of that pressure. While I understand they've been losing some business, the "we are hurting" card doesn't fly with me. They RECENTLY built a new warehouse, installed a large photovaltaic array (although I'm not sure if that was a lease agreement), and have immediately started work on renovations and expansion. No pun intended but they can't have their cake and eat it too. If you are hurting for business, you don't embark on capital investments.

I know you can't change the decision to open the roundabouts and may have other reasoning that I'm not aware of; but I hope this is helpful feedback for later projects either way.

Thank you for listening!