Letter: Needless pike exit a threat to tranquility

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To the editor:

When I was growing up, I lived on a very busy street. There was the constant rumble of traffic that reverberated throughout the neighborhood.

We had a number of pets back then, mostly cats and dogs, and in those days they ran free. Most of these animals ended up living a long and happy life. But for some of the less intelligent or slower moving ones, well, let's just say that with all that traffic, I had the misfortune of witnessing Darwin's theory of natural selection up close and personally.

Decades later when I moved to the Berkshires, one of my top priorities was to buy a home on a quiet street with little traffic. One I could walk down without fearing for my life and one where I could sit on my front porch and actually hear the sounds of nature instead of the noise of traffic. Luckily, I found that in Becket.

But now that tranquility is being threatened, after many years there is once again a committee studying a plan to add another Massachusetts Turnpike exit somewhere between Lee and Westfield. One of these proposed locations would empty directly on to my street.

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Needless to say, neither I nor the community in which I live is for this plan. We do not wish to sacrifice our small-town way of life for the sake of convenience.

I know the rebuttal to the "not in my backyard" argument is that these things need to go somewhere, but that only applies to infrastructure projects that are either critical or absolutely necessary. This project is neither. The time it takes me to travel from either Lee or Westfield to Becket is somewhere around 25 to 35 minutes. Traveling the Mass Pike at 65 mpd would probably save me between 10 and 15 minutes.

Assuming that a large majority of travelers using this new exit would be second-home owners who come out to the Berkshires on the weekends that would be about four round-trips for a total savings of about 90 minutes per month. That is hardly worth destroying the peace and tranquility of hundreds if not thousands of people.

I respectfully ask our state legislators and the executives at Mass DOT to please not go forward with this proposal. Most of the people who live out here don't do it for convenience. There are no supermarkets , shopping malls or drug stores and that's OK, because what we desire most is to live among the wild things in these wild places and we don't mind the extra drive time it takes to get here.     

Jim Mcgee,

Becket


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