This page was begun April 30, 2021, to document the condition of both sides of Walpole’s Common as work was to begin on Elm Street replacing the water main. A donation to the Town of curbing for both Elm and Washington Streets, in conjunction with this work, was flatly rejected. Instead, the concrete bumpers on Elm Street were removed, and a dangerous condition now exists on both sides of the street. The most recent documented observations follow working down the page to conditions on April 30, 2021.
May 4, 2022 UPDATE in rain. One of the advantages of curbing is it channels rain water runoff to storm sewers. Of course the curbing must be properly installed adjoining the roadbed, and be properly sloped. Awaking May 4, 2022, to rain I hustled outside to capture images of what I have seen during and after each rain on Elm Street the past year. Water accumulates in the dirt that replaced grass and creates puddles to create mud. This instead of streaming into the storm sewers. Below are today’s two sad views showing the complete lack of understanding by the Walpole Highway Department on how to finish off roadsides and handle water.
UPDATE – MARCH 30, 2022 — This page, sadly, is of necessity continuing in documenting an ongoing problem caused by Walpole’s Highway Department. The focal point of Walpole – The Town Common – has never in my 20 years of residence looked worse. Instead of maintaining it properly, and always making improvements at all times, the appearance of the Common, particular the west side, has been degraded the past year. And, sadly it appears the Highway crew does not care, and destroys the area here, and elsewhere in the community.
Instead of accepting curbing on both sides of the Common, the Road Agent preferred to place gravel beside the repaving of Elm Street following the water line project in 2021. Previously the grass on the Common, on level ground, met the street pavement. On the west side of Elm Street there were concrete bumpers (in front of the church and the next home south) keeping cars from driving up onto the grass, which was even with and went to the pavement. Below are two images taken March 30, 2022, on the east side of Elm St. showing gravel and dirt many, many feet in from the pavement, and posing a threat to visitors who can trip on the now uneven ground that is strewn with rock. To be even more upset, click each image for a larger detailed view.
Image below, taken 21 March 2022, shows damage done to the northwest corner of the Common done by Walpole’s Highway Department plow operators. In my twenty years of living “on the Common” this wanton disregard of caring has never occurred. This image was shared with the community in the April issue of THE WALPOLE CLARION.
I reported in the May CLARION – “That damage was repaired the week of April 11. Several hours of road crew time that could have been constructively spent elsewhere was used to level the damage caused by careless plowing. Soil, grass seed, and hay were applied over a large area. Hopefully this area will be safe for walking during Old Home Days.”
A truck missed the pavement while parking on February 23, 2022
Got Stuck – backed out – left 8 inch depression in “tree lawn”
again reported to Selectboard – no reply, no concern – note the gravel recently placed by Highway Department that with plowing is strewn over grassy areas.
BELOW parking well off the roadway NOVEMBER 20, 2021
Reported to the Selectboard, with (of course) no concern or reply – click either image to enlarge
THE INITIAL STUDY Follows
This is a study, with images taken 30 April 2021 at 2:30 PM, of Elm Street and Washington Street (on the west and east sides respectively of Walpole’s Common). The intent is to show the advantage of some kind of curbing along these roads bounding Walpole’s Common. Shown is what happens when there is a barrier from cars parking on these two roads, and what happens when there is no barrier or curbing. Each view is identified as to location, and the pleasant result from curbing attempts as compared to areas with no curbing. Comments provided are based upon my 19 years of living “on the Common,” the recognized showplace of Walpole, and daily enjoyed by many. The images below may be “clicked” for larger views.
First a clarification of the advantage of curbing. Curbs delineate the edge of the pavement, thus separating the road from the roadside and discouraging drivers from parking or driving on sidewalks and lawns. Curbs provide structural support to the pavement edge. And, curbs can be used to channel runoff water from rain or melted snow and ice into storm drains. These are the utilitarian aspects, but even more important in our village setting, and in consonance with Main Street, Westminster Street, and other village locations:
there is the aesthetic aspect
curbs look formal and “finished”.
WEST SIDE OF THE COMMON
View looking north (towards Town Hall) from drive at 44 Elm Street.
These concrete barriers have been in place the entire time I have lived here.
SUMMARY – As you look at the “concrete bumpers” on Elm Street, and on Washington Street, as compared to areas lacking any form of curbing, it is important to see the positive effect the “bumpers” have contributed. The majority of parking during the day is on Elm Street along the section seen directly above and below. The bumpers have defined the edge of the road. Cars and trucks come and go throughout the day, often bumping into the “bumpers” as intended. As a result, cars have not crossed into the “tree lawn” and depressed the soil causing low spots to catch water.
Note some of the “concrete bumpers” are compacted into the ground over many decades. This has not happened to the same degree on Washington Street since there is much less parking. Without these “bumpers,” serving as curbing on Elm Street, vehicles would have compacted the soil, killed grass, and created dangerous mud slicks with possible liability issues for the Town.
Looking south on Elm Street from the Church entrance.
This is the area that needs the most protection from inadvertent destruction. Current curbing here may not be as appealing as appropriate for the Common area, but it has served its purpose delineating and protecting the “tree lawn.”
Looking south from the drive at 44 Elm Street. There has never been curbing from this drive south. As parking fills up from the Town Hall south, cars will pull off the road into this grassy area. As a result the earth has been compacted, no grass grows, and water accumulates following a rainfall. Water that has accumulated and penetrated the ground has probably contributed to the cracking in the pavement areas.
The drain in front of 48 Elm Street. Often parked over. Note dirt rather than grass due to compacted earth from cars parking off the roadway. Also without delineation the edge of the road bed has become compromised.
The two drives further south collect rain water run off since there is no curbing to direct water to drains. With the upcoming construction, drains will be installed in this area, but curbing is needed to direct that water to be properly drained off.
EAST SIDE OF THE COMMON
East side of the Common, looking north on Washington Street, in front of the Congregational Church Parsonage. Seldom, if at all, are any cars parked at this point. Thus no damage to the tree lawn because vehicles have not been parked here.
An open spot of the present “concrete bumper” barriers near the south doorway to the church office. Note the lack of grass due to tires that have left the roadway resting on the the former grassy area.
Concrete barriers from the Congo Church front door north to its property line. Plainly visible is the curbing has prevented cars from parking on the grassy area. With less parking here than on Elm Street, these are not been compacted down. Also, there is more of a rise to the earth along Washington Street to the sidewalk. This is not the same situation on Elm Street.
There are a few barriers adjoining The Walpole Foundation’s property. Plainly visible, just before the telephone building turn off, is what has happened at this point without barrier protection along the roadway. Click on the image for an enlarged view of what the trucks have done unimpeded in pulling off the road to the telephone building.
With the sequence of images around the Common, it is apparent the protection the “concrete bumper” barriers have provided to the tree lawn area. The sides of the roads on Main Street, Westminster Street, and elsewhere in the “down town” area have been delineated and protected by granite curbing. It cannot be denied the aesthetics and overall appeal along those roads have been enhanced by the curbing.
To not properly protect the edges of Elm Street and Washington Street on the west and east sides of the Town Common is wrong, and gives the wrong message to residents, and visitors alike, as to what is important in preserving the look of the Town’s gathering place.
Going backwards is wrong, we need to look forward with positive improvements. I stand ready to assist. Thank you, yours, RAY BOAS