Dalton Div. Road plan is too big and costly
To the editor:
I have lived on Dalton Division Road for 30 years. My wife and I raised three children living on this road. When we first moved here the street was for the most part a rural country road with a combination of nicely kept homes and farmland. The traffic consisted of a half hour of South County GE commuters in the morning and then again in the late afternoon, other than that there was little traffic.
As time marches on and development happens, traffic began to increase , Walmart, Home Depot, BJ'S, Silver Maple Farms all added to the burden of increased traffic for those of us that have our homes on the street. It became more difficult to get out of our driveway so we coped and installed a turnaround off our driveway.
As the traffic increased and now our grandchildren come to visit my wife and I had often commented that it would be great to have a sidewalk in front of the house, so when we heard there was a plan in the works to add sidewalks we were intrigued.
I attended the public meeting in Dalton anticipating supporting this initiative, but upon arriving I was handed a packet of the proposed conceptual design options and almost fell over.
The design options that were presented are driven by federal and state regulations because federal regulations must be followed to receive this "free money." (The grant is still taxpayer money.) We were told that the grant was for $10 million and that the project will likely be between five years and as many as 15 years in the future. We were told that the only cost to Dalton taxpayers would be the cost of the design, $700,000.
The conceptual designs would make Dalton Division Road more closely resemble Dalton Avenue than the residential street that it has always been.
This is a prime example of what happens when government is driving the bus. Bigger is better. If a sidewalk is needed require it on both sides of the road. Simply ridiculous! Add bicycle lanes in both directions because a tiny portion of the population want to ride their bikes on the road, adding millions of dollars in cost to the project. Ridiculous!
To the taxpayers of Dalton, beware, as this project will not cost $10 million it will cost $15 million or more. Will the grant money cover the increased cost? Not likely — the taxpayers will pick up the tab. You are already on the hook for the design cost of $700,000, and mark my words, this will balloon to 1.5 million or more that you will have to pay.
This project needs to be scaled back. Rebuild the road, install granite curbing and a sidewalk on one side of the road with several crosswalks, and enforce speed limits.
The only solace I will have if this project goes through is that it will be the poor Dalton taxpayers on the hook paying for this equivalent of an $800.00 hammer.
James A. Moran, Pittsfield