Applause for safer Gr, Barr. sidewalks

To the editor:

On Oct. 24 I pushed in my manual wheelchair from Carr Hardware to Castle Street, on the west side of Main Street in Great Barrington, for the first time since the completion of the sidewalk reconstruction. A week later I tried out the new sidewalk for the same blocks on the east side of the street. Gone were the bumps, cracks, and abrupt changes in pitch that had become so common on those blocks in the 20 years that I have lived here.

As an obligatory wheelchair user, I find the greatly increased ease of movement and sense of safety (from taking a sudden spill onto the pavement) a welcome change from my experience on those sidewalks in their previous decayed and hazardous condition.

The pedestrian crossings and curb cuts on the street are also now much easier to negotiate in a wheelchair. The dramatic improvement of pedestrian safety and ease produced by the reconstruction project was for me well worth the temporary inconvenient downtown access for the previous six or seven months. And it far outweighs any aesthetic discomfort I might feel from the design of the new street lamps.

Far more uncomfortable for me than the appearance of the street lamps is the reality that many roads and sidewalks here and across the nation remain in poor shape, and that we seem much more willing as a nation to pay taxes to buy expensive bombs and disastrous military interventions around the world than to invest in the maintenance of our own public infrastructure at home.


John Breasted Great Barrington