Rail Service Good for the Area

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Rail Service Good for the Area

Postby curt » Fri May 27, 2011 1:17 am

In a letter to the editor of the Carriage Towne News, Danville resident Larry Weston wrote:May 26, 2011

Rail Service Good for the Area

I am completely confounded by our neighbors' reaction to the proposals to bring Commuter Rail service to Plaistow.

The MBTA would take responsibility for and completely rehabilitate an essentially abandoned 1970's era Westville Homes industrial site. Back then, hazardous materials were dumped on the ground or buried. Who knows what lurks in the ground there. Wouldn't the wetlands in question be best protected by finding, cleaning up and removing the buried sins, rather than just waiting for them slowly leach away into the environment?

A layover in Plaistow would NOT be another Bradford facility. The mess in Bradford is everything the T is trying to get away from. Take the time to visit one of the new facilities recently constructed in either Newburyport or Scituate. Talk to officials in those towns. Both facilities are at the edges of wetlands. People live nearby. The train sets pull in, connect to city power and shut down. Silent until morning. Modern, quiet, well lit facilities (with jobs, I might add).

The tracks through Atkinson and Plaistow are the property of an entity of Guilford Transportation. It is the one of the busiest sets of tracks in New England. They have been in service for almost 150 years. There is no parallel route. This is it. It their right and their business interest to maximize the traffic on this line. Their primary interest is freight, those long slow drags that rumble through town at any hour of the day or night. Those are freight trains that sit in the passing sidings idling away all night waiting on other long slow trains to pass. Presence of commuter rail won't change that. Commuter trains serve us, the people. They tend to run on a relatively quick schedule during the day and evening.

Property values? This is a no brainer as fuel prices keep creeping upwards. Homes within a reasonable distance, particularly walking distance, to a commuter rail station are worth more. Period. Ask any real estate agent.

Access to the Haverhill and Bradford stations is very difficult for drivers from southern NH. The Plaistow Park and Ride has excellent access to four lanes of Rte 125. It was planned that way to make it attractive and easy for commuter traffic. It will be used. Plaistow would be the end of the line for awhile. The trains will never leave or arrive full. Passengers will be picked up at stops all the way to Boston and the trains are usually filled to capacity by the time they get there. Same deal coming home during the evening rush: trains leaving Boston are frequently standing room only. Don't try to guess how popular the service might be by looking at the last station on the line.

Why on earth is it so unreasonable to finally add the commuter rail service originally envisioned to work with our Park and Ride facility? If the Atkinson and Plaistow committees were truly interested in the environment they would leap at the opportunity to get the Westville Homes site cleaned up and support mass transportation at the same time. It is the responsibility of government to lead, not to cop a knee jerk reaction to placate the loudest group of people in the room.

Larry Weston

Danville


Larry's dad, Michael C. Weston, was a leader in solid waste and transportation planning for Danville and surrounding towns in the 1980s and 90s. He died in 1995, and the park and ride facility on Westville Road in Plaistow was dedicated in his memory the following year.
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Re: Rail Service Good for the Area

Postby Sheila » Fri May 27, 2011 8:00 am

Curt, solid waste leader? Can you explain further on that one

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Re: Rail Service Good for the Area

Postby curt » Fri May 27, 2011 8:23 am

Mike pushed Waste Management and the BOS to start the first curbside recycling program. He also played a central role in getting the Ernie Hunt tire pile cleaned up.
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Re: Rail Service Good for the Area

Postby shawn_oneil » Fri May 27, 2011 10:55 am

I support the rail project. I think more people would use it to commute into work. I think some aspects need to be address such as the 'idling' of the trains.

I wonder what Mike would think about the Town of Danville Recycling program now? He was a good man to get this effort started.

Shawn
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Re: Rail Service Good for the Area

Postby curt » Fri May 27, 2011 6:10 pm

I think MIke would be pleased by the cart system for recycling.

But he would NOT have been pleased by the "illegal apartment" thing. If there was one guy who could stand up to a BOS in NH it was Mike Weston. Doreen remembers, she was a selectman at the time Mike was active.
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Re: Rail Service Good for the Area

Postby argot » Sun May 29, 2011 12:10 am

Shawn, Larry's letter only made a glancing comment regarding the issue you mentioned: "I think some aspects need to be addressed such as the 'idling' of the trains."

So, to clarify, Larry said "The train sets pull in, connect to city power and shut down. Silent until morning." There is no idling at the modern commuter rail stations. That is the new way they do it, and the misconception about the "idling" should be addressed on a public information level, particularly with the community towns. Perhaps you could help...do you ever talk with Sean Fitzgerald? It seems like community education could help with this. Thanks.
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Re: Rail Service Good for the Area

Postby argot » Sun May 29, 2011 12:15 am

"If there was one guy who could stand up to a BOS in NH it was Mike Weston." I am sure the BOS remembers him with a grin and a grimace. Mike made things happen. He would be THRILLED, probably beyond his dreams, by the current recycle program. Kudo's to Danville - very progressive approach - mixed curbside...love it!
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Re: Rail Service Good for the Area

Postby shawn_oneil » Sun May 29, 2011 9:05 am

I have had some discussions with Sean Fitzgerald. I was not aware that 'idling' only involved a electrical hookup. From discussion I read with respect to these trains idling in Haverhill, residents were complaining about fumes. If this is the case then a educational push is warranted.
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