The Big DumpTruck

Throwing Little Thought Pebbles at Your Windshield Since 1996

Semi-Annual Political Post

Okay, time to get all my opinions on various topics out into the open for the world to view and reflect upon. I know you’ve all been waiting.

Massachusetts thinking of raising the driving age to 17.5:
You know, I love my 15 year old step-son dearly, but the thought of him getting behind the wheel in another year gives me fits. I am utterly horrified at the number of fatal accidents in Massachusetts involving teens in 2006 alone. Almost every weekend there’s another one. Why is it so impossible for us to get it through their heads that being stupid in a car can get them killed, or get someone else killed? Why do they continue to think “that can’t happen to me” when left and right it is happening to kids who may as well BE them? The latest crash, with the 17 year old girl and her 10 year old brother? That could be Junior and his brother in exactly 2 years. And I’m not saying all kids can’t handle driving carefully, obeying the traffic laws and limits, but we’re talking about a bunch of kids, many of whom think the laws are for [expletive deleted]s and don’t apply to them. There is no other reason to explain why a bunch of 16 year olds will pile into mom’s car (against the law because a 16 year old driver isn’t allowed to have passengers) and speed down an unfamiliar road until they wrap the car around a tree. My heart bleeds for the father of a local boy who put three of his friends into the ICU – one of whom still isn’t breathing on her own – but really, sir, are you doing your son any favors when you blame this accident on the upkeep of a dirt road that is marked with huge “Pass at your own risk” signs? This is a road NOBODY uses, and your son was speeding on it with a car full of kids he shouldn’t have been transporting. How can you possibly try to blame this on the town? That’s the DEFINITION of “Pass at Your Own Risk” is it not? I feel horrible for the whole situation, but really, there is only one person to point the finger at.

It was hard enough drilling it through the kids’ heads that when they are skiing and snowboarding, they have to look out for other people, not the other way around. The mountain does not belong to you, and people get killed every year – experienced people – because they are trying to avoid some kid doing something dumb or being somewhere they shouldn’t be. Kids just naturally think they are more skilled than they are, and that they couldn’t possibly get hurt or killed. And that applies to everything from driving a car, to rollerblading, to skiing, etc.

Housing Boom in Lunenburg:
I know I don’t live in Lunenburg, but I live near it, and drive through it twice a day. All those proposed homes will hold people who need to get to work by driving through MY town. Are you people insane? There is no way your infrastructure can support all those proposed housing units. We’re talking 868 in various complexes (number courtesy my adding up everything listed on this site of proposed projects, and includes some houses already completed), almost exclusively in the Whalom area. And as a Leominster resident who foresees 1500 extra cars a day driving down Main Street trying to get to Route 2? I say things that can’t be printed. Those roads are overcongested as it is. How the HELL would anyone get anywhere with all those extra people?? I just cannot fathom how the people running that town can think this is all a good idea. And once they are approved and built, it’s not like you can change your mind if it isn’t working out.

So much for the pretty, small down Lunenburg once was if they start throwing up houses in those numbers. What’s it like losing your appeal to people looking for a quiet place to live? 868 new units? Insane.

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  1. Jerry

     /  March 27, 2006

    Watching LATV, I saw planning board talking about, (not perfect quote) “oohh – taken all together these 900 new units in South Leominster, we will need to get some fees from builders for infrastructure improvement like the light on Willard. But we might have to go back to the city for additional money. Even with about .8 kids/home, we will need a new school. We need a comprehensive plan” The planning board can’t see the big picture, they approve on a permit at a time with no overall plan. Other communities are smart and charge an impact fee and control things. Only thing I have see them doing is limit number of new place/year. But that just puts off the eventual infrastructure problems.

    I understand either directly or indirectly several of our city councilors work for builders.

  2. Cherie

     /  March 27, 2006

    I live in Lunenburg, in the Whalom district, and the fact that the selectmen are even given any of this any thought at all is appalling.

    Blah.

    Cherie

  3. Jody

     /  March 28, 2006

    Jerry, I got the sense that Leominster was starting to be more cautious about development, but I think you’re right, they’re just delaying development. At what point do the residents get to say “no, we don’t want that”?

    Cherie, I feel for you. I would be horrified and would do my best to vote those people out of office next chance I got. I used to want to live in Lunenburg but now, not so much.

  4. Christine

     /  March 28, 2006

    Re: the driver’s license thing, I think it’s an awesome idea. It will def lower the fatality rate. I know my mentee, who will be 15 in May, is upset about it, as are her classmates, but they will be thankful later. Teen-age drivers scare me.

  5. Laurie

     /  April 2, 2006

    My first long road trip was to Belmont, MA, and I remain convinced that at 23 I wasn’t old enough to drive in Massachusetts.