Sidewalks Yes, Crosswalks No
Thank you for your article in the Sept 27 issue of The Cape Cod Chronicle outlining the case for pedestrian safety upgrades for the intersection of Route 28, Old Harbor Road and Shore Road. My family donated the lot on the corner of Old Harbor Shore roads, and I have over 40 years' experience walking, cycling and driving through this intersection at all times of the day and all seasons of the year. I favor extending sidewalks from Barcliff Road to the intersection, and you summarize nicely why this is at best a long term and expensive proposition. However, until such time as there are sidewalks on both sides of all four approaches to the intersection, crosswalks would not get pedestrians out of the roadway. The problem at the intersection is not the lack of a stoplight or crosswalk, but rather heavy traffic and little opportunity for pedestrians to get off the roadway while walking or waiting to cross with the light that provides ample time to cross in any direction when cross traffic is stopped. You quote Mr. O’Connor, owner of the Carriage House Inn, as saying that “we’ve waited there for five to 10 minutes” before being able to safely cross the intersection. Respectfully, my experience suggests that this would be a highly unusual occurrence. This would only be true if there were no traffic on Shore Road or Old Harbor Road to signal the light change and no traffic on Route 28 headed for Shore Road, and it’s a rare occurrence for there to be no traffic on any of these routes for more than five minutes. If this were to happen, however, it would mean that there was little if any traffic, and in such case, pedestrian safety should not be an issue. In short, crosswalks from one side of the roadway to the other side of the roadway in no way enhance pedestrian safety. If experience indicates there is a safety issue, then we should defer talk of crosswalks and start lobbying for sidewalks that would enhance safety.
Focus On Family Housing Needed
I was very happy to see the front page story on the task force focused on retaining young families in town, and I hope that some action finally gets taken. I am stunned by the $400,000 selling prices of the very small homes both in our year-round working family neighborhood and in the neighborhood next door. My family would not be able to afford to live in Chatham had my husband not been able to get a house in the CHOP neighborhood 30 years ago. I am upset that some of the houses in our neighborhood are mysteriously vacant, with so many working families in need of a place to live. And some of the houses have "fallen out of the program," which means that they are no longer earmarked for working families and thus can be sold on the open market. The town would do a great service to this demographic if they bought back these houses and then offered them in a lottery to local families who qualify.
I also really liked Cory Metters' suggestion to have a meeting at the community center to solicit input from families on a weekend day with childcare available. We are all so busy that it's hard to say if people would show up, but that would be a supportive gesture. Food would certainly be an incentive!
Supports Harwich County Commissioner
I have known and worked on many Harwich town boards and committees with County Commissioner Leo Cakounes over the last 25 years. This county commissioner brings a common-sense approach to our regional county government and always puts the people first above politics.
In June 2018, the Harwich Board of Selectmen appointed me to fill an unexpired term as the Harwich representative to the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates. In this relatively short period of time I have seen firsthand the financial/fiscal discipline Leo has brought to county government. He is at the forefront of implementing sound financial management policies and best practices to make sure that our valuable county resources are expended efficiently and effectively for the benefit of all Barnstable County residents. I don't always agree with Leo but I always know where he stands on an issue. He appreciates a good debate and always respects those with opposing views.
A lot has been accomplished during Leo's first term but there is more to be done. Our county government needs to continue to move forward and Leo is the commissioner to provide the needed leadership.
Solutions From Down Under?
Regarding the issue of shark attacks on Cape Cod, Australia has a long history of dealing with shark attacks. Consideration of approaches that they have tried would be profitable. For example the article titled "Protecting Humans from Sharks: What are the Options?" presents some good ideas.
Let's not re-invent the wheel.
When A Landfill Becomes A Dump
Has anyone else noticed that our once well-maintained landfill has become filthy and neglected? Over the last months the upkeep has plummeted. Now often when you arrive bins are overflowing and the garbage area is a mess. During windy weather paper blows through the area like it is deserted.
Living in Chatham I know it is not a question of funding as we are an affluent community. My guess is that management of the facility is lacking in experience and staffing.
I have talked to several people in town and my concerns are not unique to me. I hope that department leaders could look into this unfortunate situation and rectify it. Our tax dollars deserve better.
Richard S. Porter
Missing Cloisonné Seeks Lady
Monday, Oct. 1 a lovely elderly lady came into Goody Two Shoes at 483 Main St. in Chatham. She bought a very small cloisonné one-and-a-half-inch figure in a small blue box. We have the sinking feeling that she might have taken the box with nothing in it.
Hoping that she will see this note and come back for her tiny figure saved for her. Sorry for the inconvenience if this is indeed the case, Just hoping she was not part of a bus tour and will never be seen again.
Goody Two Shoes
Chatham Painters Worked Together
I thoroughly enjoyed your article on the Peg Falconer exhibit at The Atwood House. However, I would like to make one small correction. Peg and my father, Dan McElwain, were together instrumental in forming the Creative Arts Center.
Peg and Dan met in the 1960s when both taught adult art classes in Quincy. Peg’s love of Chatham and my father’s desire to display his watercolors led to the opening of The McElwain-Falconer Studio in 1968. Peg’s oils and Dan’s paintings hang in the collections of many prominent art aficionados all over the world. They captured the beauty of this special place as few artists could.
Chatham, Pine Island, Fla.
Hughes Gets Things Done
When Pine Oaks Village III senior housing was first proposed it was to be located behind the community center. There was much opposition to that location and the project was put on hold until Peter Hughes got creative and thought outside of the box. Realizing the importance of locating the housing development in close proximity to Harwich Center, Peter approached the golf commission and the school committee to urge them both to give up some of the land they each held for the good of senior housing. All parties agreed and the results have been very beneficial to our community.
This is just one of the many examples of Peter's service as a Harwich Selectman and his three decades of service to our community. He understands Harwich and will continue to represent us very well at the Barnstable County Assembly of Delegates.
Peter is a doer, not a talker. He realizes the importance of getting things done and will continue to represent our best interests at the county level.
Many Benefits Of CPA
I share Bob Fishback’s frustration, expressed in last week’s letter. However:
The Land Bank is no more, and there is no more land to buy in Chatham!
Historically purchased or donated land is either subject to conservation restrictions or is unsuitable for building.
Chatham has many grand homes which are empty 11 months of the year, but these provide 60 percent of the town’s tax base.
The approximately $1 million in community preservation funds are not slush funds, but are subject to regulation and oversight and approval at town meeting. Proposals may only be awarded in the four areas of open space, historic preservation, recreation and community/affordable housing.
Each year $100,000 is transferred to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund, now valued at over $500,000, because spending opportunities are limited.
This year $225,000 of CPA funds were approved for housing programs.
Awards in other years included $100,000 for housing local autistic adults in Orleans, and $184,000 for four Habitat For Humanity Homes.
All of the minimal number of proposals submitted for affordable housing are supported by CPC.
There was popular support, emphasized by $100,000 from the Anglers, for new bleachers at Veterans Field. The existing bleachers were an accident waiting to happen with potential financial consequences to the town. The estimated cost of $531,000 includes meeting ADA requirements, was challenged by the CPC, but was approved unanimously at town meeting.
By the way, businesses give discounts for business not charity, and non-resident families pay a $100 shellfish permit fee.
Michael Tompsett, chairman
Chatham Community Preservation Committee
Presidential 'Mini-Me' On Court
Trump placed his “mini-me” on the Supreme Court.
Anyone who saw and heard Mr. Kavanaugh's partisan conspiracy rant (read from his prepared testimony) and believed Dr. Ford, as I do, and two other women who revealed the nominee's temperament and profound disrespect for women, observed a more articulate clone of Mr. Trump.
Attack, deny, lie, blame the Dems. Who constantly models this strategy?
A tragic day for our country. A lifetime of one who is "unfit to serve.
Appreciates Focus On Preservation
The intent of this letter is to convey my deep appreciation for the articles printed in The Chronicle on the Captain Baker house, the demolition hearing, the focus on Harwich Center and most importantly the editorial that appeared in the same issue. Always great when the public gets to read more of what’s going on from an outside point of view. This time however the articles held a personal meaning for me, justification that what we are trying to do is being heard by you and reflected back to the public and the town government. The value of hope and excitement that this has created is a tonic.
I thank you, and Captains’ Row thanks you.