Letters to the Editor (9/3/09)

Sept. 3, 2009

Looking for coverage

On Saturday, Aug. 22, there was a peaceful protest against President Barack Obama’s socialist health care plan. It was not mentioned in last week’s Observer.

Why was this not considered newsworthy? Had it been a gay rights or Bush bashing demo it would have had front page coverage.

Either you don’t keep track of community happenings, or your bias is showing.

Dick Allen
Editor’s note: The Observer was unaware the protest was taking place; as much as the paper tries to let residents know about events in Williston, we often still need to have someone inform us before such events take place. All readers should feel welcome to let us know about any events before they take place — the more we know, the better. E-mail editor@willistonobserver.com.


Intersection safety

I recently read a couple letters in the Essex Reporter where people were surprised the Pearl Street and Susie Wilson Road traffic pattern was being changed and questioned if it was a wise decision. It reminded me of what happened here in Williston when the Selectboard supported a roundabout for our village.

We learned of the roundabout plans from our local paper and acted by getting petitions signed by over 800 folks who travel through this intersection daily or live nearby, all opposing a roundabout for a “dangerous intersection.”

Hearings were held and a majority opposed the roundabout. How can 800-plus people question the need, expense and disturbance of a historic district, and who will listen to them?

It is important to read your local papers and check on the upcoming agenda of your local boards.

Our Selectboard has not changed its vote on the roundabout but is asking the state to reduce the speed limit of 35 mph to 30 mph. The original suggestion was to reduce speed to 25 mph, as this is a school district with sidewalks, businesses and homes. If people see a speed limit of 30 mph, most will likely drive above that and if reduced to 25 mph will likely drive above that limit. I vote for the 25 mph speed limit. Will this make a “safer intersection?”

While speaking recently with Scott Newman, historic preservation officer at the Vermont Agency of Transportation, he suggested civic groups and individuals in Williston write him letters of their opposition to the roundabout. His address is 1 National Life Drive, Montpelier, Vt. 05633-5081. It is his duty to get public input and he must give final approval of the roundabout.

Ginger Isham


Chance to explain

I am writing this letter to clarify some misimpressions that may have been left by last week’s article regarding the Selectboard’s support of a lower speed limit on Route 2 through Williston Village (“Board OKs lower speeds on U.S. 2”).

First, I enthusiastically supported the Vermont Agency of Transportation’s recommendation that the village speed limit be reduced to 30 mph, and that the lower speed limit be extended further east along Route 2. In fact, I seconded the motion in favor of the recommendation. My statement as to why this was a positive step we ought to take in response to community input can be found around 1:31 on the video of the Aug. 24 meeting, available online at www.cctv.org/watch-tv/programs/williston-selectboard-2.

Second, I never linked lowering the speed limit and funding for a roundabout project. Instead, my point related to the delay proposed by VTrans to collect additional safety data at the intersection after installing a new blinking beacon. I simply observed that further study would either result in a finding of no safety improvement (which would mean the project was delayed for no reason), or that a discovered safety improvement would render the town ineligible to leverage 100 percent funding through federal safety programs. I noted the prior safety data had provided a means for the town to avoid the substantial cost of a much-needed improvement addressing increased congestion — which everyone agrees will only grow, regardless of the safety record. My discussion on this topic starts around 1:21 of the video.

In case anyone thought that, for some reason, I opposed reducing the speed limit in the village due to my roundabout support, I hope this letter clarifies the positions that I expressed at the Selectboard’s Aug. 24 meeting. As always, if you have any questions or comments, please feel free to send me an e-mail or give me a call.

Chris Roy
Selectboard member