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The Valley Reporter
P.O. Box 119
Waitsfield, VT 05673

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‘Protect the beauty’

To The Editor:

Well, after all that discussion, The Valley finally has its bike path along Route 100. Actually, it seems we have a special teeny-tiny version of a bike path, designed quite likely by non-bikers. We wonder if they were perhaps Department of Transportation engineers, planning really to simply widen the roads?

As we spend our tax money (and raise rates) for "improvements" throughout The Valley, perhaps we should do it as sensitive and involved residents, fully aware that the amazing beauty and history that surrounds us is not to be taken for granted. It is our primary resource, the basis of our economy and our wonderful home.

We need to break from the 1950s paradigm – cars and convenience, speed and "safety" – doing our planning like traffic engineers. Each new bright idea is permanent damage, charm and history gone forever.

So now we're seeing the loss of the historic Kingsbury bridge, the bashing of the roadsides, the ever-widening insanity of the road engineering (i.e., check out the bottom of the Lincoln Gap, or the entrance to Warren from the north... or south, or the top of Covered Bridge Road, or the bottom of West Hill Road, etc.). We see the loss of Warren's historic signature dam and mill pond, and then there's Waitsfield's incredible town office decision to continue the sprawl – and on and on – all while the state maneuvers to destroy our iconic ridges with wind turbines.

All studies show the obvious – the wider and smoother the roads, the faster, more dangerous and more dehumanizing the traffic. So, we do everything we can to speed up traffic but then solve the problem with what? Large, permanent, grotesque flashing suburban speed signs? (We don't drop the speed limit, of course.)

And what's the next idea then? We could use some street lights – maybe even flashing, and raised intersections, brighter lighting and more, larger warning signs and road painting for more "safety." There are a few spots that can still be widened. And more policing, maybe.

We are privileged to live in a very special place. We need to embrace and protect its historic and natural beauty.

Carolynn and Gregory Schipa


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