To the Editor:
I was quite surprised by the article [June 12 issue] on the town’s frustration with Verizon. I would laugh, but being personally affected I am incensed (that is my recycling bin in the photo on Page 3). I am, however, not nearly as upset with Verizon as I am with the town. I can’t recall seeing a utility pole erected and the wires transferred in less than a year. Where is the surprise?
I’ve lived at 179 Hayden Rowe for almost 30 years and work continuously on my property to improve the appearance. One of the trees to be removed is a 10-inch, 25-foot-tall ornamental pear tree in the middle of a row of the same, which I believe enhance the right of way as much as my property. I chose not to attend the [June 10 public hearing on tree removal], however, as I felt I might not be able to contain my anger.
The bottom line is all of this was unnecessary. Those of us who live near and pass through the intersection have known we needed a working traffic light for many years. The town never considered that to be a priority. All of a sudden we need the light, turn lanes, new utility poles and to raise the wires to accommodate the oversized finials on the signal poles. The project was misrepresented to Town Meeting and approved by 154 people. Once approved, the project is turned over to the same architects and engineers that designed it and seemingly less-than-qualified contractors. Bigger projects bring bigger fees, so the more involved you can make it the better. Had the people at Town Meeting been offered an a la carte option on the project and given a reasonable assessment of the time and expenses for different options perhaps they would’ve chosen to try the traffic light first. If that had happened, the signal would’ve been working for months already, commuters would be passing through the intersection in an orderly fashion and I suspect we would’ve found the rest of the work unnecessary. When the designers and the overseers of the projects don’t pay the tax bill, cost is no object.
I’m glad to see the pushback downtown; I also saw the cost overrun projection in the paper ($1 million). The first of many, I’m sure. It’s too late for us at the corner of Chestnut Street, but keep pushing back, folks, push them back to square one.
— Tom Jones, Hopkinton