Thursday, June 21
A Massachusetts Turnpike Authority proposal to create express lanes enabling drivers to fly through tollbooths at highway speeds is an invitation to trouble. Drivers already go through fast lanes above the mandated 15 mph, cutting off drivers who have stopped to pay tolls and are just getting back up to speed. If drivers are allowed to go through tolls at 65 mph, accidents will be inevitable. The authority is also considering charging higher turnpike tolls to drivers at peak times as a way to gain much-needed revenue, but this will penalize drivers whose work schedules require them to arrive at and leave work at rush hour. More revenue is certainly needed as the state faces a shortfall of roughly $19 billion in road and bridge maintenance work over the next two decades, and an easy way to collect a chunk of that money is by restoring tolls to the western end of the turnpike that never should have been removed in the first place.
Park properly or pay
Pittsfield drivers tend to be casual about where they park their cars, and we applaud Fire Chief James Sullivan's decision to have the department issue $100 tickets to motorists who park illegally in fire lanes. In Pittsfield, the common complaint that "there's nowhere to park" downtown really translates to "there's nowhere to park five feet from where I want to go," which is why drivers are given to parking in fire lanes or other off-limits spots so they can stroll a few feet to a store. There's plenty of parking downtown for those willing to walk a few yards. Besides, walking is healthy, while $100 fines are upsetting.
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