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
Friday, August 21, 2009
Then I read of the financial difficulties the Registry of Motor Vehicles were having in light of the recent budget cuts from the Commonwealth., but more importantly, I read of the RMV's plan to save some money by closing RMV offices and relocating them to places difficult to access.
The local example is the closing of the Southbridge RMV office in the Big Bunny Plaza in Southbridge, and moving it to the empty Tourist Information Center at the East Bound travel Plaza on the Massachusetts Turnpike.
Now, I can see saving a buck, and if a location is offered without cost, then it is worth investigating, but so many other things need to be considered before such a move can be made. I won't beleaguer you with a repeat of all that has been written about this move, but I do want to go on record as one that deems the move to be poorly thought out, poorly planned, and without an adequate plan for the immediate future.
There are only two ways to access this RMV office, one being from the east bound side of the Turnpike, which is pretty cut and dry, and simple. It's the leaving that is a problem. Once one is done with their business, they must then continue east on the pike till Exit 10 in Auburn, and then either turn around and head west, or take Route 20 back home.
The other way to access the RMV is to take Route 20 into Charlton and to turn into the employees parking lot in the rear of the plaza, and then walk the very long distance to the RMV. Yes, rain and snow, and ice will make this trek an unpleasant one, but what is even worse is entering , and leaving the parking lot and getting back onto Route 20.
Oh, I know that the employee parking lot is used daily by others, and not much has happened to them, well, they are experienced in using it. They know how to access it, they do it daily, and their numbers are small compared to volume of inexperienced folks that will end up using it to access the RMV.
No plans for a traffic light here. They say that would take months of study, and lots of money. Cripes. The heck with a study, it is dangerous, just go with that and stick some lights up, and paint some turning lanes on the roadway like in front of WalMart on Route 20.
There will be no change in the roadway to make turning lanes for those heading east on Route 20, or west so they can make a safe turn without a tractor trailer riding up on their backside. All there is is a bunch of signs indicating that there is an RMV somewhere beyond that parking lot, and a lighted sign facing each direction telling motorists the same thing.
The Registry of Motor Vehicles, the organization that enforces the motor vehicle laws, suspends our licenses for improper use of a vehicle, stresses safety, and driving defensively, has put all that aside, and re-located the Southbridge office to a place where one must stop in the high speed lane on Route 20, wait for a break in the oncoming westbound traffic, and then shoot across the roadway into the parking lot. It is just as dangerous for folks leaving the parking lot and wanting to head east on Route 20.
They should post a permanent State Police Accident Reconstruction Team at that spot, and at least spend the money on a building a helicopter pad at the entrance for Medflight helicopters.
What is worse is that the head of the RMV, Rachel Kapriellian has decided to do this move without allowing for safe access. It appears as if she has done it to save a buck, please the Governor, and to keep her job.
Two out of three ain't bad, but I doubt she will have the same job this time next year.
So, getting back to things that are stupid, poorly planned, and dangerous, I guess this would be Numero Uno this year. When the first severe motor vehicle accident occurs at this location I will be curious to see how the RMV, and the Governor responds.
The thing is, they have both responded before the fact, and support the move entirely. Let's see what the lawyers do with that after the fact.