Wednesday, July 6, 2011

I'll be the roundabout...

The roundabout nearest Atkins Market will allow easy access to West Bay Road (and the Market)

Atkins Corner roundabouts are starting to take shape. Although Baltazar Contractors, the low bidder at $6 million, was nowhere to be seen this fine morning as no state jobs are worked the week of July 4th . I guess that is why the project requires two years for completion, although rumor has it they are a few months ahead of schedule.

A water truck is being used for dust mitigation--but not this week

Second Roundabout at Bay Road just below Atkins Market and above Hampshire College

"Call it morning driving thru the sound and in and out the valley."

Monday, July 4, 2011

A hot July 4th Parade in Amherst

The Parade started exactly at 3:00 PM

The biggest crowd in our nine-year history disproved P.T. Barnum's theory that all publicity is good PR as long as they spell your name correctly. This year we managed to sidestep what seemed to be the inevitable controversy that comes with anything public in Amherst, avoiding the clash of egos and grandstanding for media attention that resulted in far less media coverage leading up to the B-I-G event; but still the crowds (especially children) came: to enjoy the show, and thank those who make our little piece of the world safer.
With military color guard in the lead

Berkshire Highlanders serenade the eager crowds

Town center was packed with parents and children

Our youngest performer

The Bucket Man plays to a big crowd
Kendrick Park provided plenty of shade

A long line of emergency vehicles

Thomas the Train

My home sweet home

Friday, July 1, 2011

July 4th Parade: 10th time is the charm

The Amherst July 4th Parade Committee is looking forward to the longest, largest line of march since reviving the grand tradition almost exactly nine years ago. More police, fire, and military hardware will roll through town center than at any time in Amherst's 252 year history.

Bring the kids, flags and good cheer. It's gonna be glorious!

3:00 PM starting on South Pleasant Street near Amherst College Orr Rink and ambles directly through town center all the way to Triangle Street

Thursday, June 30, 2011

ARA stays the Gateway course

Tonight the Amherst Redevelopment Authority voted unanimously to:
  1. Adopt "the vision" put forth by our consultant for the Gateway Corridor
  2. Continue to be the lead agency charged with realizing that vision
  3. Request the Town Manager prioritize this project and provide town staff support
The emphasis will be narrowed to focus on the 2 acre former Frat Row currently owned by UMass--what Gianni Longo described as a "catalyst". And with the added good news that Robert Holub will continue as UMass Amherst Chancellor for another year, this ambitious signature project can now move forward with all due speed.

ACP consultant Gianni Longo

Chancellor Robert Holub

I hear a train a comin'

Station Road South Amherst crossing 1:30 PM

Okay folks, hold your breath. The tracks are about to open for business as usual.

Fate of the Gateway

Nothing really new came out of last night's joint meeting between the Amherst Redevelopment Authority and the Amherst Planning Board: A vision of what the Gateway Corridor could be was presented, residents raised concerns and committee members took it all in.

Tonight at 5:00 PM, in the first back-to-back meeting in over twenty years, the ARA meets again to decide the critical issue of where to go from here. Do we bow out gracefully now that a "vision" has been articulated and let the town figure out how to proceed? Who will take up the negotiations with UMass for the former Frat Row--a signature piece of property that our consultant called a "catalyst" for positive change?

Tomorrow is July 1st--start of the new fiscal year. At this exceedingly late juncture we don't even know who will be running UMass/Amherst in the near future.

The retirement of Building Commissioner Bonnie Weeks will also delay the hiring of a new building code enforcement officer, so slum lords get a reprieve while owner occupied houses in residential neighborhoods will once again have to endure party houses when UMass students return, and the cycle resumes yet again.

"Tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow..."

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The price of deferred maintenance

Rotted railroad ties don't provide much structural support

As a long time health club owner I know how easy it is to put off routine machine maintenance to save money--especially when revenues are in steep decline. A treadmill belt start to slip occasionally and a new belt costs $300 so you try to let it go just a little longer. The liability exposure is enormous should someone get injured.

And a runaway train can do a world of hurt.
A spike works its way to freedom
This one succeeded
The question is why is this clamp not doing its job?

Somehow I just can't imagine taking a couple hundred yard amble down a runway at Barnes or Westover Air Force base and spotting loose nuts and bolts littering the airstrip.

Looks like some ties were replaced...a l-o-n-g time ago