C’mon in! Town Hall’s Open

It’s been a long haul, if you count all the early discussions of new office layouts or new building designs, but the continuing need for improved quarters for the Town Hall staff persisted, and the happy end of the struggle has arrived.

The Joy of Suffield Farm Stands

As you drive around Suffield, not only will you see the trees budding and flowers blooming but you will see many local farm stands opening their “doors” or setting up their stands at the end of their driveways to sell their local treasures.

Bracing for Re-entry

This editorial is a direct result of me having said YES when I was asked to be editor of the month. This was one of the first YESs I had given in over a year. COVID cleared my evenings, my weekends and lessened many commitments.

Dog License Renewals

The 2021-2022 Dog license renewal will be available for purchase as of June 1, 2021. Residents are encouraged to renew licenses online or by mail to support social distance requirements.

June Commission Meetings

Please check the Town of Suffield website for time and location (virtual, Zoom, etc.) of the following commission and committee meetings:

First Selectman’s Update

I write this month’s column directly following the Town Hall ribbon-cutting ceremony which also marks our public reopening following the COVID-19 shutdown. First, I want to say how wonderful it was to see so many residents and board/commission members in person!

Slave Dwelling Project

Joseph McGill, founder of the nationally renowned Slave Dwelling Project, will visit and provide two programs at the Phelps-Hatheway House on Saturday, June 12 at 6:30 p.m.-8 p.m., and Sunday June 13 at 1.p.m.-2:30 p.m.

VROOM!! 350th Power Equipment Raffle

The Suffield 350th anniversary committee is joining forces with D&F Power Equipment to offer three outstanding yard care prizes! 1st prize is a zero-turn ride mower from SCAG, 2nd prize a powerful Honda snowblower, and 3rd prize a Honda portable generator.

The Fast and the Furious

The Fast and the Furious
You don’t have to live in Suffield for long before you get a feel for its roads. Your hands seem to anticipate the twists and turns.
Imagine my surprise when I recently drove down South Stone Street and didn’t feel the impact of a pair of speed bumps. The warning lines were there, but the anticipated jolt was gone.
What happened to the speed bumps?
After roughly five years of testing vehicle suspensions, the speed bumps (or, to be more specific, speed tables) have been flattened. It seems during these divisive times, all Suffieldians seemed to share the universal antipathy for the South Stone Street tables. “We received SO MANY complaints,” said Suffield First Selectwoman Melissa Mack. “I have a file of complaints.”
The speed tables were proposed back in 2014 in response to rampant speeding down South Stone Street. The speed tables were set up. Soon enough, problems started. Tractors bottomed out, boat trailers unhitched and people drove on lawns in a move to avoid the tables. And, cut-through drivers were still zipping through Suffield. The speed table solution was folded, and it was back to the drawing board.
Late in 2020, the Board of Selectmen created the Pedestrian and Traffic Safety and Infrastructure Committee to brainstorm solutions. These type of committees always come up with something interesting. In Easthampton, Mass., where a pedestrian was killed in 2018, the city put out cones of fluorescent flags at crosswalks which people can wave while crossing the street. (“Hello, do you see me now? Don’t run me over!”)
Regrettably, the solutions, no matter how ingenious, can only be temporary. Even the 2014 Suffield Police Department memo that proposed the South Stone Street speed tables acknowledged that when evaluating speed enforcement methods: “Unfortunately, these type of approaches are a temporary fix, as officers are only effective when they are in the area, and the radar trailer is continually moved about town to other problem roads.”
Traffic, like water, flows in the direction of least resistance. The town could wall off North Stone Street, and traffic would just flow down Mountain or Ratley Roads.
The most comprehensive solution is for drivers to simply slow down. A little empathy and courtesy could be extended to the people whose neighborhoods we pass. No elaborate obstacles required. No high-tech radar signs needed. Just a modest amount of manners could reduce a lot of stress, anxiety and just maybe save a life.
Then again, that might make us a few minutes late for wherever we’re going, so someone will have to think of something else.