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
Thursday, November 4, 2010
And, We'll Save Exactly How Much?
I learned a very long time ago that the it was less taxing to my spirit, and my wallet, to listen to that little voice. I believe the Town of Sturbridge will find this out as well, eventually.
The new sidewalk snow removal policy enforcing an old bylaw for property owners to clear the sidewalks of snow in front of their property is going to haunt the town. Regardless of the fact, that the bylaw that has been ignored for fifteen years, and the town cleared the sidewalks during that time, a precedent has been set. A ten dollar fine for not removing snow will inspire few landowners to comply, especially if no foot traffic that use their property actually use the sidewalk.
This new policy, or should I say, this re-adoption of an old, intact, bylaw is designed to decrease the towns liability, and costs. Costs to clear the sidewalks here in town would be less if there were not telephone poles in the middle of the sidewalks along Route 20 in Fiskdale. A small sidewalk tractor would then be able to clear the sidewalk in no time, but that is not our case, still the cost devoted to clearing the sidewalks would be less than if the town was sued.
Basically, if the town decides to have sidewalks they are choosing so to offer a safe pedestrian walking zone out of the way of vehicular traffic. By planning, then building such a sidewalk the town is saying that it wants the pedestrians in our town to be safe, and is offering them a safe path. To abandon that thought on a seasonal basis, based on costs, will come back, and bite our little town right on its backside sometime in the future.
It's a Municipal Gamble. Some towns play the odds more than others. What are the chances of being sued by an individual, and for how much, versus how much could we save in snow removal costs? Every town plays the odds in some form, or another, and so are we.
I totally understand where the town is coming from on its desire to save money. I really do. It just seems there are good ways to do some things, and there are better ways. I don't think this is one of the better ways.