Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Walking in Claremont and elsewhere: slowing down and living

Our reporter just returned from her first visit to Springfield, Vermont and pronounced it a pleasant place to be because it was so walkable. The downtown is compact and people live there, so there are people on the sidewalks and the place feels alive.


  1. Philip Caron8/8/18, 1:54 PM

    2-cents from a longtime walker in Springfield: some things have improved a bit. Most of the main sidewalks around town are relatively free from big holes now. There was a time when you had to keep aware of where you were putting your feet, especially at night. Most of the bushes hanging out over the sidewalks are currently trimmed too, which certainly was not the case just a couple years ago. Most of the crossing signals seem to work. There's a fair number of stopping places with benches. Overall, downtown and surrounding areas don't look too bad, but some eyesores remain. Though it's out of downtown, the Toonerville Trail is nice.

    What's not nice is the litter. There's plenty of that, and it's common to see people just tossing whatever they're done with beside the road or into the river - cans, bottles, packaging, butts. Also, there usually are few walkers out, but only a very few of those will return a greeting passing by, even if they're not on the phone. For whatever reason, I now prefer not to walk around town at night.

  2. Philip: appreciate the insight. Your issues are cultural? Nothing we could do at a local, esp. administrative, level?

    1. Philip Caron8/9/18, 2:29 PM

      My issues are in part cultural. Otherwise, aside from cleaning up decayed buildings as is frequently mentioned by numerous others, the following suggestions come to mind.

      Replace the retaining wall in the bank at the plaza intersection, as the similar walls just south of there were a few years ago. It's ugly, falling apart, probably unsafe, and will have to be replaced soon anyway.

      The river wall along North Main is in terrible shape. There's gaps right out to the walkway and the inadequate fence is rusted and falling apart. Accidents are waiting to happen all along there. Sooner or later part of it will collapse and road work will be needed. Get the funding lined up.

      Enforce littering ordinances in obvious cases. Maybe monitor the plaza footbridge better. Speaking of that, I asked a Shaws manager what a shopping cart costs, and was told $3000. Hard to believe, and maybe 10x what an online check shows. I don't know the deal there, but Shaws doesn't seem very worried about losing carts, and as far as I can tell Springfield police don't make it a very high priority either. (Maybe some people are unaware, a number of shopping carts get tossed off the footbridge into the river every year, plus you see carts left all around town.)

      I'm up to 3-cents now.

  3. Philip, your observation of extreme litter around the Plaza foot bridge is accurate. With a lapse of awareness, you'd envision yourself in NJ. Isn't there an ordinance or environmental statute that address the issue? Surely that much waste at water's edge isn't allowable. Especially when it's illegal to plow pristine, new fallen snow into the river. Oh wait, we're dealing with the idiots connected to the ANR. Never mind.

    1. That's probably the biggest problem in town, no local ordinances! I wish the Selectboard would grow a pair and pass some, and not be intimidated by special interests. CALL THEIR BLUFF!

  4. Put dog collars on the shopping carts and a wire around the perimeter to shock the a holes who push them across the line.


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