Sidewalks

 

Where the Sidewalk Ends book cover
image used without permission

 

Back in the early to mid 80s, Hobomock Pond was a popular spot for swimmers – a sizeable group of us from Norwell met there nearly ever day, we made friends from Hanson and other surrounding towns on the small beach on Hobomock Street. My mom worked night shifts as an RN, and she napped on a beach chair while my brother and I floated around on huge “inner tubes” and ate S’mores. Until, that is, the town decided to install a sidewalk – eliminating any place for us out-of-towners to park.

When I moved to Pembroke 9 years ago, I quickly realized that this sidewalk turned out to be a stunt sidewalk – it only extended a few dozen yards. Even after building two schools off Hobomock Street, this sidewalk was never extended. It has already been written about of course, but with an elementary and High school a mile away, there are many students walking from the schools to Center street as well as groups of students running together during sports practices – but this street is too narrow to accommodate them safely – in fact, in many places there is no shoulder at all along Hobomock. Also, there is still no crosswalk where Hobomock meets Center street – left turning cars fly onto Hobomock street, making it very dangerous to cross.

Installing a few dozen meters of sidewalk is what I think qualifies as a stunt sidewalk – it doesn’t actually serve to create a useable walkway, just to discourage beach goers. Now of course, Hobomock pond is overrun with hydrilla and useless as a swimming hole or anything else. Great job, Pembroke.

Throughout the town there are many examples of stunt sidewalks – it is not actually possible for a pedestrian to walk more than .82 miles on any sidewalk, certainly not to or from the center of town – our main area for shopping which includes the post office, library, recreation center and several stores. With the ubiquity of distracted driving, walking along a 6 – 10″  shoulder of road is just too risky especially in winter  – and I am only referring to able bodied walkers, runners and bicyclers. Pembroke citizens needing assisitive devices are especially out of luck.

It’s time for continuous, smooth, level sidewalks to and from the schools, main roads and any commercial areas. No more stop and start stunt sidewalks, Pembroke.