Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Wanna Go Parkin'?

Ever notice that in front of the Blackington Building in Fiskdale the cars park diagonally?

They park diagonally in the wrong direction.

See, when parking diagonally, one pulls into a parking space head on, and when leaving the spot, one will back out.


No, not really, seems the trend in front of the Blackington Building is to back into a "spot" ( I use the word loosely since there are no lines painted on the road) at an angle. The wrong angle to be exact. The front of the vehicles are pointing in the direction of the traffic flow.

Strange. But, since there are no lines to indicate spaces one has to assume that this is a "Free Style Parking Area". Free Style Parking is a sport in some countries, like France. I like it when we import things, but some painted lines would be really nice. Paint, gotta have paint. I'll buy it if it is too dear.

And, speaking of parking, the diagonal spaces beside the Federated Church on Maple Street, in front of the library, have got to go. It is too dangerous for diagonal parking here. Parallel parking would be fine here, and any overflow can park in the huge lot behind the Town Hall, 100 feet away.

I lived in the area around the Common for a few years. When I drove down Maple Street, toward Main St., I was often met my a car coming off of Main on my side of the road, and they'd just sit there waiting for a parking space to open up, or as if I was in their way. People would become all upset with me if I beeped or waved them on. It seemed that they had no clue that Maple Street was an actual road. To them, it was the entrance to a parking lot.

You haven't experienced life till you've been flipped off by a lady with white hair, and a smile. I wonder how she'd handle the Free Styling on the other side of Town?

We're a small town. It's winter, and not much is happening. So, we make up our own fun. X-Treme Parking seems to be the thing this season.

If you look in the left hand margin of this page you will find a link for the 1988 Master Plan. In that plan is a map and plans for parking lot on Route 20 in Fiskdale.

Wha' happened? If someone can tell me, and others what happened to the parking lot plans it would be great.

In the meantime, next time you are riding around Main Street, and take notice of the limited parking we have. Some lots are small, others have signs similar to the one above plastered every 15 feet. It seems that a town with lots of little shops, that is trying to be a "walking village" would make having a parking lot a priority.

And, when you're out, try the X-Treme Parking in Fiskdale.

It's awesome.


  1. Dear thinking;

    Note that "back in" parking is not strange when you learn that backing out onto a state highway is a violation. So by backing in, when you go to leave you are driving out..... and not breaking the law.

  2. Had to think about this parking situation for a bit, what we have here is diagonal parking, not parallel.
    So as far as I know diagonal parking on a street is not illegal.

  3. I've been searching for a Massachusetts statute, rule, or regulation that forbids backing up on a state highway with no luck. If anyone can help out, I'd appreciate it.

  4. You are right, diagonal parking is not illegal. We need parallel parking in front of the church, otherwise the road way is encroached upon by parked cars, and folks jsut assume Maple Street is a parking lot entrance.

  5. Just so you know, Opacum Land Trust owns a property in Southbridge on state Route 169. When I obtained permits to construct a small parking area there for non-motorized boat launching, it was stipulated by the Highway Dept Engineer (at the time, which was last year) that vehicles not be allowed to back out onto the highway. So, that is posted on the kiosk at that launch. Maybe it would be worthwhile to check with the local highway engineer?

  6. I can see not wanting vehicles with boat trailers backing out into the road. If the "rule" about backing up onto Route 20 is a local one, then it should be posted somewhere. Unless, when the new business came in being it was a pre-condition to allowing it, and is purely done on an individual basis. I think this could be the reason. I love this investigative stuff. OK, it's solved. Go back to your homes. Nothing more to see here.

  7. Hi Thinking: the letter from the highway dept in Southbridge stipulated that cars are not to back out onto that state route. Says nothing about boat trailers, and besides, that lot isn't big enough for boat trailers; it's car top type transport. Seems this might be a safety issue that local highway depts have instituted.

  8. I am beginning to lean in this direction myself. Maybe asking Greg at the DPW would clarify it. Regardless, if it is a safety concern, or advisory that is fine, but it is NOT illegal. We all have to use our heads, accept the advice of others regarding safety, but unless it is in the form of a law, it is not legal, or illegal, but well worth being careful, and using your head.


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