To the editor:
Having followed the debate surrounding the Brimbal Avenue Phase One project by attending the public hearing at Beverly High School on Thursday, April 19, and through numerous articles in the papers before and since, I cannot help but come to the conclusion that undertaking the Phase One project by itself will only lead to more traffic and a further decrease in the quality of life for the residents in that area of North Beverly. The area already shoulders quite a fair share of the burden for Beverly in terms of commercial real estate tax revenue generation and traffic, given the development of Route 1A over the last 20 years from the Henry’s Market intersection all the way to Dawson’s Hardware, plus the businesses along Brimbal Avenue and Dunham and Tozier roads. There are also two elementary schools as well as the city’s largest single employer, Beverly Hospital, all accessed off Brimbal Avenue.
During the public hearing a resident commented on the traffic backup on Brimbal Avenue caused by the railroad crossing at the North Beverly Depot (“Dodge Crossing”), especially during the morning and evening commute hours. The response from Rod Emory, the engineer from Jacobs Engineering hired by the city, was that area was not part of the traffic study or plan. Mr. Emory did a fine job explaining the project under tense circumstances, but that answer demonstrates to me a lack of understanding of the total picture of the traffic problems in the area and all the steps needed to solve them. It makes the plan flawed. It was good news, however, to hear from City Planning Director Tina Cassidy that Public Works Director Mike Collins has been working with the MBTA to solve that problem by upgrading antiquated equipment used to control the timing of the crossing gates. But how long has this discussion been going on and when will it be fixed?