Monday, March 14, 2011

Sidewalks on Quaker Meetinghouse Road: Time to act before we experience a tragedy

Governor Patrick signed the budget for fiscal year 2008 on July 12, 2007, a budget that included $1 million for constructing sidewalks on Quaker Meetinghouse Road (QMR) in Sandwich from Route 6A to Route 130.

As of today, that $1 million remains tied up at the Mass DOT (Department of Transportation) because our project has a lower priority than many others around the state. And, on its surface, I can understand why the Secretary of Transportation, Jeff Mullan, might consider the project’s priority to be appropriate. When we have crumbling bridges and VW Beetle-sized pot holes to deal with, sidewalks in Sandwich seem like a nice-to-have rather than a must-have.

But our board of selectmen in 2007 did not request this assistance from the state because sidewalks would be an esthetic improvement or a recreational benefit to our residents. Instead, we listened to testimony from a number of citizens, primarily parents who face the life and death choice of allowing their children to walk/bicycle to school using this busy and dangerous street with short shoulders and no protective curbing.

QMR is host to two K-8 schools and Sandwich High School. Most parents of students in grades 5 and up who live within a mile of either of the K-8s are forced to drive their kids to school or having them walk the back streets or through the forest to get there; routes that raise other questions regarding safety.

My primary concern is that we bring this safety issue to the attention of Mass DOT before we have a tragic situation drive the release of the funding. And this is where I’m asking for everyone’s help.

Please write a letter, or send me an email (randy.hunt@mahouse.gov), or comment here at my blog to express your concerns and appeal for Mass DOT to take action on this project in order to save the life of or prevent serious injury to one of our children. I will gather all of the correspondence and meet with Mass DOT to explain that we’re addressing a critical safety issue by constructing curbed sidewalks on QMR.

By the way, I did not live on this street when I voted with the others on the board of selectmen to request this funding in 2007. The fact that I do now simply adds my personal observations to the existing anecdotal evidence that we need to address the situation as soon as possible.

Send letters to:
Rep. Randy Hunt
93 Route 6A
Sandwich, MA 02563

If anyone is willing to coordinate an effort to bring more attention to the issue, perhaps via a petition drive, that would also be welcomed.

On a final note, Senate President Therese Murray’s office has been very helpful with our efforts to-date along with my predecessor state representative and our town manager and assistant town manager. However, it’s time that the citizenry get behind our efforts to convince the powers that be to move this project forward.

5 comments:

  1. Randy sign me up.
    Linell

    ReplyDelete
  2. Randy, Thank you for your attention to the QMR sidewalk project! I've seen the cars along QMR increasing in numbers and speed over the years. I've also seen people of all ages trying to walk or ride bikes there. It's a recipe for disaster. The sidewalks are long overdue- please fight for the funds needed to build our sidewalks.
    -Susan Sullivan

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm glad to see this is getting the attention it deserves. With so many of our school children in the area of QMR, it would be wonderful to give them an opportunity to walk and ride rather than drive. In addition, it would be great to get all of Sandwich out, enjoying our town and enjoying fresh air and recreation.
    Jennifer O'Neil

    ReplyDelete
  4. HAvenge to drive this road no less than 15 times a day I am constable having people made at me for doing the 30 speed limit, not the 50 or 60 they usually travel. Driving a bus I see the elderly waking dogs, kids going to an from school, people off to work, and the cross country team all endangering themselves with no side walks. I also Regulaly see a young girl who was hit on this road 5 years ago on her way to the play ground. She will suffer a life time withback problems due to no cross walks or lights to let pedestrians cross. The only cross walk is blocked to the sidewalk by oakridge school by a safety rail. Plea finish the sidewalks and include safe crossing areas as well.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hello, my name is Dino heras and would like to see that the proposed sidewalk work move forward on Quaker Meetinghouse Rd..I live on this busy road and it would be nice to have sidewalks for safety reasons. Thank You!

    ReplyDelete

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