DOWNTOWN SNOW BOONDOGGLE JUST ANOTHER CASE OF MAYOR’s DISASTROUS (AND FATAL) ‘LEADERSHIP’ … plus … WORLD CHAMPS GET SECOND WORKOUT IN AT FENWAY SOUTH
By DAN VALENTI
PLANET VALENTI News and Commentary
(FORTRESS OF SOLITUDE, MONDAY, FEB. 17, 2014) — From the mailbag, we share this letter. It deals with a subject that, coincidentally or not, THE PLANET had planned to take up today. Coincidence is convenience delivered by room service!
Our letter writer sends this:
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Downtown ‘Neglected’ Under Bianchi
Comments: I have never seen a downtown more neglected than I have recently during this past storm. I feel sorry for the precious city I grew up in. I feel sorry for the city that I have been raising my children in.
I hope people remember how harshly and inhumanly this downtown has been treated by it’s management (Bianchi) when it comes time to vote again.
I loved this city and I have faith it will flourish again, but it has to get out of the hands of the wrong people.
Thank you for letting me rant.
— Varsity Mom
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THE PLANET REPLIES: “Mom,” we had to venture downtown Saturday on a business visit. After parking in the Columbus Avenue deck, we walked to our destination in the “even” block of North Street, in the 70-90s range. THE PLANET can tell you, we were appalled at the lack of care evident to our eyes. There were signs of neglect everywhere, starting with the blowing trash — plastic bags, fast food wrappers, cigarette butts.
What got us the most was the snow. This was long after the storm had finished, yet, once again, “led” by Mayor Danny Donothing, snow kept North Street just shy of untenable as a destination for shopping, eating, or entertainment. Mini-mountains of snow lined both sides of the street, leaving poor pedestrians searching for a channel allowing entrance to or egress from the sidewalk. When channels appeared, they were often clogged with water and slush. Worst we saw was at the most vital intersection, the one that links Columbus Avenue, Eagle Street, and North Street. Pedestrians trying to cross there had to contend with mounds of snow, slush, water, and ice. It would have taken two city workers perhaps 30 minutes to clean the four entry/exit points. Instead, you had to find a sherpa guide and a goat to help you navigate.
Then we got to witness the effect the ridiculous bumpouts have on parking. The curved bumpouts themselves took away 1.5 parking spaces. With any amount of significant snow, snowplows cannot get clean into the curved corners, either side. As a result, plow jockeys must feather both before and after the bumpouts, losing two more spaces (one on each side). Thus, the terrible “Streetscape” redesign takes away seven parking spots for each two bumpouts.
When THE PLANET brought this point up a couple years ago, Deanna Ruffer, then head of the Office of Community Development, said no, we were wrong, without any support data to support her claim. In an infamous photo-op, her “Dukakis in the Tank” moment, Ruffer showed up on North Street with a tape measure. She claimed to have measured the bumpouts, on the both sides, the length of North Street, and made the unsupported and logic-defying claim that the bumpouts would actually increase the number of parking spaces.
Which leads us to the sober realization that the citizens of Pittsfield — except for a handful of GOBs and PBTs and other politically favored and connected” individuals — are Winston Smiths, living in the dystopia of 1984. War is Peace. Hate is Love. Snow is ___________________ . You fill in the blank, my dear friends.
Perhaps the mayor won’t be happy until a pedestrian or two are run down on North Street. Center and Depot is okay, but it’s not quite enough in the limelight … or snow shadow. When the next poor bugger gets it, we’ll send another scalp for the mayor’s wall.
WORLD CHAMP SOX IN SECOND DAY OF WORKOUTS
Finally, we share this bit of brightening news. It should help everyone feel that spring is on the way.
FORT MYERS, FL — Red Sox pitchers and catchers had their second workout today at Fenway South, the club’s Spring Training and Player Development Complex in Lee County, Florida. Workouts, which are free and open to the public, start at 9:30 a.m. and include 29 pitchers and six catchers.
Fans may enter the complex through the West Gate beginning at 9:00 a.m. Additionally, tours of JetBlue Park are also available from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. and cost six dollars per person. Tickets for tours may be purchased from the JetBlue Park box office. Concessions and merchandise will be on sale during these workouts.
The team’s first full-squad workout is scheduled for Thursday, February 20. The Red Sox will have 57 players in camp, with 13 infielders and 9 outfielders joining the pitchers and catchers (including 17 non-roster invitees).
All practices from February 15-26 will take place at the Fenway South Player Development Complex, located at 11500 Fenway South Drive in Fort Myers. On most days, the workouts will begin at approximately 9:30 a.m. Any changes to that start time will be announced.
Spring Training games begin at JetBlue Park on February 27 with a college double header at 1:05 p.m. against Northeastern University followed by Boston College.
DIRECTIONS TO FENWAY SOUTH: From the North: Take I-75 South to Exit 131 (Daniels Parkway). Make a left off the exit and go east for approximately two miles. Fenway South will be on your left. From the South: Take I-75 North to Exit 131 (Daniels Parkway). Make a right off the exit and go east for approximately two miles. Fenway South will be on your left.
“If the sun had faded away, I’ll try to make it shine.” — The Beatles, “Anytime at All.,” (1964).
“OPEN THE WINDOW, AUNT MILLIE.”
LOVE TO ALL.