, Salem, MA


January 28, 2014

Letter: A 'no' vote won't solve anything


Why don’t we just step back and work out a better plan for the Brimbal/Sohier/128 layout? Here’s why:

The traffic engineers, in conjunction with the state and the city have been working on this for years, especially during the last two years when they received an additional $500,000 from the state for design purposes; they are unlikely to unearth any major new concepts at this stage.

City Councilor Don Martin’s Brimbal Avenue Citizen Advisory Committee and others will be able to monitor the state and city’s tweaks to the design, as well as the developer’s specific plans when he presents them to the Planning Board and Conservation Committee. This won’t permit drastic changes, but it will allow citizen input for thoughtful improvement suggestions.

Roundabouts DO work, far better than stoplights when there is sufficient room, as there is in the Phase I design. They slow, but do not stop traffic. Unlike traffic lights they do not give preference to one flow of traffic over another, and they do not make drivers sit, stopped and idling, when there is no traffic coming from another direction. The developer alone will not use roundabouts because those would require property he doesn’t own.

Saying “no” is not going to solve anything; standing still — trying to reject reality — would just make matters worse.

“Is Phase II assured after Phase I?” No one can say for sure, but a successful Phase I will surely give confidence to the state, to potential development partners and to the city, and we certainly need to improve both current and future traffic flows on Brimbal Avenue and the Sohier connector. And Phase II is where the significant tax revenues finally arise. That’s critical to funding the many improvements and maintenance projects we need throughout the city.

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