Letter to the Editor


Dear Editor,

I am very aware of the ocean, my family has lived in our home since 1938 on Shore Drive.  We lived through hurricanes and nor’easters – would be extremely upset should a construction project do more harm than any of those natural events.  I have always been a staunch advocate for the beach project. What they did on the beach side at the North end seems to have worked far better than at the South end, where there were many mistakes made. There is very little fill left on the South end, as evidenced in March when the water poured over and flooded Shore Drive.  We have been hoping the DCR would come back, as they promised, and rework the nourishment on the South end, and this time maybe they will not try to work on the beach in the dead of winter. They also need to fix the jetties at Beacon and Charles. They took the cement out of those structures and then rebuilt them too low – they now are buried underwater in a regular tide and the boulders are all falling off the structures, so they are virtually going to be no help at all to deflect the tides.

Our last hope then was the drainage and reworking of the sidewalks on Shore Drive.  However, instead of working to save our homes, they have committed them to certain damage and potential destruction. Either the project designer, Mike Galvin, has made a serious error in design, or the construction company, MDR Construction, has made a serious error in execution.  On Beacon, Moore, Charles, Tewsbury and Perkins Streets, where the ocean will without any doubt overtop the wall and flood the streets in waves, they have doomed the homes on the beach and just off the beach by making the sidewalks and street even with no curb elevation at all or only a couple of inches. And they intend to do the same with Shore Drive.  This means when the ocean comes over it will flood directly into our homes with nothing to deflect the water. This also means for everyone on and just off the beach, when it rains or snows there will be no drainage off the sidewalk and into the street, it will drain into our homes. This means for every plow there will be no elevated curb to butt up against and the snow will be pushed into our homes and fences.  This means for every trash truck, or errant driver, there will be no curb elevation to butt up against so they will drive onto sidewalks, into property, and potentially into people if they happen to be on the sidewalk.  Since it is doubtful death and destruction were the intention of spending taxpayer money, clearly this is a mistake.

Nowhere else in this town, in the entire City of Boston, and assume anywhere else, would construction be allowed that would take away all curb elevation. This has nothing to do with ADA.  ADA has very clear guidelines on what is necessary and how to slope the sidewalk down to meet the road just at the crosswalk. I have taken pictures of senior center crosswalk access, nursing homes, police stations, and schools, including right here in Winthrop, and nowhere does the sidewalk cease to exist for a full house length away from the corner or crosswalk .

I have brought this to the attention of Mike Galvin so he can quickly check his design plan and correct the obvious error, but he must be on vacation as so far has not responded. Maybe he did not design this error, perhaps it is the construction company.

But how can that be? Oh right, this is the same company who broke a gas line after they were told by the gas company to not use the large equipment at this small a location but did anyway, who broke a water line, who left cement sticking out at the bottom of my property and others that anyone can trip over, who left material in the sidewalk that sticks up so people can trip, who splattered tar all over the new sidewalk making it look horrible (which they promised to fix but have done nothing), who left a gaping hole at the base of the wall on my property, who built the handicapped access to the crosswalk at Charles Street on the beach side so all the water from the shower and rain pools at the base of the crosswalk, so anyone who is in a chair or scooter would dangerously have to go through the puddle (which will be ice in the winter). Maybe that is to be a new amenity – a miniature skating rink.

I have sent emails to our town manager, to the DPW, to Speaker DeLeo, to the DCR. I am sure Speaker Deleo will help us immediately with this crisis as he has in the past.  Either Speaker DeLeo, Mr. Leo Roy (the DCR commissioner), or our town officials, need to today order MDR to fix their mistake and lower the streets or raise the sidewalks and re-establish a curb elevation away from the crosswalks on the streets they have already done, especially Beacon, Moore, Charles, Tewsbury and Perkins to avoid certain flooding of the homes –the very thing this whole project was done to avoid.

Again since they also intend to raise Shore Drive, we have to stop them before they make things even worse.   Everyone should be very clear that if they don’t fix this obvious and dangerous mistake, any and all damage to the homes bordering the streets and sidewalks off Shore Drive, any falls due to cement jutting out of walls or water pooling at crosswalks, will be completely and totally the fault of MDR Construction, the DCR, and anyone who has not stepped in to right this wrong.

Fellow residents, please take a look around and realize the implications for your home whether your location regularly floods in a storm, or just what no curb elevation will mean for rain and snow melt, plows, trash and other trucks on the sidewalk. This affects all of us. Call Mr. Deleo’s office (617-722-2500), call the Town Manager’s office(617-846-1077), Town Council (617-846-1852), Winthrop DPW (617-846-1341), and the DCR Commissioner (617-626-1250).

There is no time to lose.  Mr Deleo, Mr. Calla, Mr. Cressman, Mr. Domelowicz – we are counting on you.

Cheryl Tobey

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