A little over a month after a motorist struck and injured two Tabor Academy students on Spring Street, the school is undertaking an initiative to repaint crosswalks, increase wattage of streetlights and install “radar gun” signs that would announce to oncoming cars their speed.
The Marion Board of Selectmen at their December 20 meeting okayed these measures to help improve pedestrian and vehicular safety on Front and Spring Streets.
Specifically, the school will paint red “STOP – LOOK – WAVE” signs in the crosswalks themselves and plans to install the “radar gun” signs to the north around the area of the Fish Athletic Center and the southern end of the campus on the east side of Front Street.
“To its credit, Tabor has taken a pro-active approach so [an accident] doesn’t happen again,” said Town Administrator Paul Dawson at the meeting.
“They are paying closer attention and faculty and staff are doing a good job teaching the students that the streets are streets, not just a part of the campus,” he said.
According to a December 20 letter to the board from Tabor Headmaster Jay Stroud, the school has worked closely with Police Chief Lincoln Miller on reviewing the advantages of the proposed signs and investigating increasing police presence on both Front and Spring Streets.
“This is a great plan that benefits students and the community at large,” Mr. Dawson said.
In other business, the Selectmen approved changes to rules governing how commercial boatyards rent out their moorings.
Marion Harbormaster Michael Cormier and the Marine Resources Commission had supported the measures, which they forwarded to the Selectmen for their approval.
Essentially boatyards typically rent out their moorings for the season for commercial use, but allow transient vessels to pay a fee for unrented and available moorings.
Under the new rules, the boatyards would have to determine which moorings are for transient boats, and which ones are for commercial vessels, by July 1 each season. Moreover, information on boats docking at these moorings would have to be passed on to the harbormaster and would be subject to a fee if they stay for more than 14 days.
Selectman Roger Blanchette said that in the past, Mr. Cormier has been sent on emergency calls to a transient vessel – for instance for diesel leaking – and “he has no clue who that person is” who owns the boat.
“[Mr. Cormier] needs to be able to act in an emergency, but there are no rules and regulations right now. The harbormaster does a great job, and wants to make sure everyone is safe,” he said.
In addition to safety benefits, Mr. Blanchette said the measure ensures that the fee charged to the transient vessel is handed over to the town.
To that, Selectman Chairman Jonathan Henry said, “It’s a bigger issue how many people are tied up there and we don’t get a fee.”
Mr. Henry did express some reservations to the measures, specifically if they are doable and whether there is a better “top down approach” to handling the issue.
“There is some element missing from this. It is not a foolproof thing,” Selectman Henry said.
“It is 99 percent better than what we have now,” Selectman Blanchette replied.
“I don’t think there is anything 100 percent foolproof,” commented Selectman Stephen Cushing.
”I think the harbormaster and marine resources committee thoroughly vetted this. I don’t think there are any issues here,” weighed in Mr. Dawson.
In the end, Selectmen Henry deferred to the rest of the board and voted in favor of the changes.
Also at the meeting, the board appointed Joshua Morgan as a full time EMS and formally appointed the following members of the Fire Department to join the EMS family: Allen Denham, Brooks Wilson, Michael Bentz, Joseph Dayton, Jason Denham, Joshua Denham Joshua Fardy, Eric Fichtenmayer, James Monteiro, Adam Murphy, Scott Shippey, and Matthew Van Deusen.
The Selectmen also postponed the appointment of four citizens at large to join the forthcoming Town House Advisory Committee to allow them more time to vet the applications. Mr. Dawson said the committee would look at how to best proceed with renovations to the Town House, with expansion plans considered by the Council on Aging and the Taber Library in mind, and offer their recommendations to the Selectmen.
In addition to the four citizens, the advisory committee will include members for the Finance Committee, Planning Board and Capital Improvement Committee.
In other business discussed at the meeting:
• The board asked Mr. Dawson to work with Recreation Director Jodie Dickerson on forming a collaboration with University of Massachusetts Dartmouth engineering students to draft designs to rework Washburn Road. The Recreation Director had requested to use road shavings available from the town to pack in potholes and even out the road, but Selectman Henry said the lack of a solid subgrade requires more extensive and thorough engineering. “If you put stuff on it, it will just wash away,” he said.
• The Town Administrator also took a moment to explain blue tags placed by NSTAR on trees at Point and Delano Roads. He said they do not necessarily signify that a tree is coming down, but is part of NSTAR’s vegetation management plan to prune back trees in February and March.
• The board discussed working with DPW Superintendent Rob Zora on assessing the conditions of roads and sidewalks throughout the town.
By Laura Fedak Pedulli