It was my earnest hope that the entire community would rally behind the abutting neighborhood of the Whittier Bridge Project and they would receive the necessary sound barriers to preserve their quality of life.
Unfortunately, ideology has gotten in the way. The problem with some in the political arena, whether they move too far to the left or too far to the right, they let ideology cancel out common sense, rational thought and even reality.
It was true that the bike path on the bridge was motivated by the desire to loosen up money from the Feds. It was true that the designers were sacrificing quality of life by refusing to put up a measly $500,000 (compared to the rest of the project) over the desire for getting their hands on the money.
But you don’t abandon common sense because of their bureaucratic silliness.
Bike paths are not centers of crime. No loiterers and gangs are slouching about the entrances looking for trouble.
On the contrary, they are community-enhancers. They add value to the entire City by their presence and they improve the neighborhoods they abut and intersect. Look at the added value of the Clipper City Rail Trail to the Washington Street/Winter Street neighborhood. Where once beer parties and drag races occurred, wildlife and peaceful recreation abounds on the Little River Bike Path. One’s breath is literally taken away by the Great Marsh view on the Eastern Marsh Rail Trail. No one in Amesbury & Salisbury would grouse about the presence of bike paths so close to homes.
In fact, though a few dark siders will complain, the improvement to the South End when the Clipper City Rail Trail, Phase II becomes a reality will improve property values and really clean up a blighted area.
The Mayor has not let ideology cloud her on this issue. Proper sound barriers and a bike path are both winners. But Dan McCarthy setting up an, “I’m agin’ it” robs the entire City of Newburyport. Someone needs to remind him that the highway was there when he moved in to this neighborhood. It’s not all about them. There is a desire that this project benefit the entire community.
It also means that the rest of the City that should be aggressively rallying around this neighborhoods plight are going to be very hesitant to lift a finger to help. What a shame!