"We're not looking for a fight, but it's very easy for it to become a fight"
This was a Christmas week salutation from Falmouth Selectman Catherine Bumpus to her constituents while discussing proposed safety improvements to Water Street in Woods Hole. Happy Holidays to you too. Recently, I blogged on my dream of the goings on in the make-believe village of "Fools Knoll," wondering if I'd ever quite figure out what the dream meant (see link).
Thanks, Selectman Bumpus, for enlightening me and the rest of the Falmouth community and for not-so-eloquently but succinctly making my point for me. Her hubris and position is crystal clear: she knows what is good for Woods Hole, and don't try to confuse her with facts figures, or sincere efforts to improve public safety.
Ten feet narrower that what is considered safe
The context of this laughable behavior was a forum to discuss one of the most congested and accident-prone areas of town, the narrowing of Water Street as it enters the mouth of the village of Woods Hole. The road is a full ten feet narrower that what is considered safe by most traffic standards, yet in a meeting sponsored by the Traffic Study Committee and chaired by Police Sgt. Doug DeCosta, Bumpus and other Woods Hole residents made it clear that tradition and village continutity are more important than public safety. After picking a fight with Sgt. DeCosta and virtually every other sound minded person in the community, Selectman Bumpus spoke volumes of her philosphy, lest there be any doubt that she cares little about what happens outside of "the Hole." "Those of us who are on the road every day think it works," she is quoted as saying.
Well, there you have it. Despite any training in transportation mangagement and public safety, and shy of even a complete term in any elected position, Ms. Bumpus is declaring that because she travels the road and has been free of an accident, the semi-trailers and buses that traverse this treacherous strech of roadway will have to make due. She knows what is best for you. After all, as we learned in my dream of Fool's Knoll, those folks are the brightest in all the land.
As a bit of a refresher, this is the same public works aficionado masquerading as a champion of the Woods Hole village that secretly had speed bumps installed after her election, only to be forced to remove them after they proved unsafe.
Anyone who has tried to enter Woods Hole in the summertime by car has certainly seen this disaster of a public roadway that Sgt. DeCosta is rightfully trying to fix. Two cars cannot simultaneously pass with cars parked on either side of the road. Ms. Bumpus will tell you that provides for "traffic calming."
A serious accident looking to happen
I'll tell you that it provides the opportunity for another serious accident. According to the stats provided by the Falmouth Police Department, this site alone has been the scene of 19 auto accidents in the last three years. How many more? How seriously must someone be injured at this location before Selectman Bumpus and her villagers are willing to supplant their stubborn insular outlook on the rest of the world and allow the mortals working in Town Hall to engineer a safer way for passage into their slice of paradise?
Kudos to DeCosta
Kudos to Doug DeCosta, a level-headed public servant, for trying to do the right thing. He knows what he is up against, calling Water St. in Woods Hole a "political section of road." Too bad that is the case. What is even worse is that the poltical momentum in the village is bent on keeping this political section of road unsafe.
For someone that's not looking for a fight, Selectman Bumpus sure knows how to start one. Good thing they don't grow cranberries in Woods Hole!