September 30, 2005

Pedestrian-Hostile Road Maintenance

Silly, naive me! I thought that since I live on a town-maintained, paved, public way, when it came time for the road surface to be redone (which was about 5 years ago), the town would, um, re-pave it.

But no.

Instead, what appears to have happened is that the old crumbling surface was indeed removed; but then a bunch of crushed gravel/rock/stone was dumped on top of the dirt surface, flattened into it, and left there! And that's it! This is Framingham's money-saving solution to the expense of real road maintenance: Use gravel pushed into dirt instead of spending all that money for actual blacktop.

Indeed, town officials have confirmed that this is how they're leaving roads now in the Pinefield neighborhood. I'm assured that after a few months, it will all "settle" and become an acceptable road surface. Meanwhile, though, too bad for everyone out walking or cycling, as we are pelted with flying gravel and consumed by clouds of dirt and dust every time a car drives by.

It's clear that our government decision-makers didn't give a microsecond of thought to the fact that THIS IS A NEIGHBORHOOD WITHOUT SIDEWALKS WHERE A LOT OF PEOPLE WALK AND BICYCLE FOR TRANSPORTATION AND RECREATION.

Parents of kids who walk to school (or their friends' houses, or wait for a school bus in these conditions) are understandably livid. So am I. I tried to walk the 4 blocks to the hardware store the other day, and it was horrendous. Besides being hit by painful flying gravel, it was difficult to breathe with all the dust being kicked up.

My usually walkable neighborhood has become pedestrian-hostile, and will be for weeks if not months. Yet another example of town officials who think only about automobiles and not about pedestrians and bicyclists.

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