Betsy’s Corner: Bump, Hump, Dump, Lump, Pump

This is not an article about Dr. Seuss and his rhyming words for children’s literature. But you could say that he has inspired me to discuss what’s happening in town in a rhyming way. This week there were so many local topics on my mind that I did not know where to begin with my writing. I could investigate the superintendent situation vs. the school committee but that involved hours of interviews and research. I did not have time or energy for that after cleaning up after my heartwarming Thanksgiving this year and recovering from all the turkey leftovers. The next topic to discuss was the gas company and what they call “a Reliability Project” for Western Mass. I decided that I should write about many topics, since my recent columns covered that issue.

I looked around and listened. The talk of the town for the past two weeks, at Coughlin’s and other meeting places around the area are the new traffic and street improvements around our town. In the historic district, right between The Community House and the First Church, a speed bump has been created. This makes drivers slow down as they reach the intersection near Center School. There are many young children crossing the streets in and around the green and this seems to be a sensible alternative to crossing guards and huge signs. Most people seem to approve but let’s see what happens in the next few months as the winter weather arrives. In the spring, I often think that drivers go nuts and speed more often due to Spring Fever. I will follow this story.

The second big change on a major thoroughfare takes place east of the bump on Williams Street toward the High School. There is a dangerous crosswalk near Grassy Gutter Road. A pedestrian was killed about two summers ago simply walking across the street within the cross walk. There must have been some idea from the Traffic Officers and Safety Officer in town. I imagine the work done was part of the “Complete Streets Program.” There is a speed hump in the road now with arrows and soon there will be flashing signs and a change in speed limit in the area. My opinion is that the hump is too high! Grassy Gutter dips down at this point but really, there have been airborne cars and an ambulance that was severely damaged by going over this bump, hump, lump or whatever it is called. It can be dangerous if you are going over 35 mph. The Police Department explained that the speed limit would change to 30 mph soon. People should have been warned. If it’s dark and if you don’t know that area, it is not what you expect to encounter if you are driving east to East Longmeadow or the Big Y. If you have an opinion, please call the Police Department. As a citizen, I called to voice my opinion. I hope other people will call.

The next work on my list is dump. I have not visited the dump lately, but I know the plan was to leave it in the Meadows when the new location was chosen for the DPW.

The DPW complex was excavated and now it is at a standstill. I have heard that it is a toxic site now. Unknowingly, the town purchased the land, or “took” the land by eminent domain without a full inspection of the soil. There was some amount of asbestos inside the old tennis structure and perhaps some buried asbestos as well. We will need time to for this story to unfold, so this may be a topic for 2019. If you have driven by Dwight Road, going north, you have seen the lump. The lump is now covered up but I don’t know the next step. If you have been avoided Converse Street lately due to all the construction you may have not heard about this.

The next word on my list is pump. This refers to Columbia Gas and the Tennessee Gas Pipeline underground in our town since sometime in the 1950s. The metering station will regulate gas from a higher pressure to a lower pressure to get gas safely and efficiently to our homes for heating, cooking and more. There is a compressor station in Agawam and a valve station in the Meadows within the Fannie Stebbins Conservation Area. Gas is pumped underground but there are leaks and leaks are dangerous. The LCC recently decided to sell their land easement, located near their maintenance building to the TGP. Members approved the deal and will get $2.7 million offered, without seriously thinking of their neighbors. Are we all at risk? Find out more about the gas pumped into your home. Educate yourself!

The last word on my list is the name of the President. He should be more aware of the environment and the long lasting effects of his actions. Here in our small town we need to think about our neighbors and our future. Working together there should be a peaceful solution. Do we want or need more gas in this part of the state? What can we do with the asbestos? Ask questions! Get answers! Don’t be a lump.

– Article submitted by Betsy Port.