From: Jeff Goodrich <Jeff.Goodrich@pathwaysconsult.com
Date: Sun, May 25, 2014 at 3:31 PM
Subject: RE: REMINDER - Main Street Paving Project
To: Chipper Ashley, Steve Flanders
Chipper and Steve, I am writing to you in your roles as Chair and Vice Chair of our Selectboard concerning the referenced Main Street paving project. Since I cannot attend the public forum scheduled for next Tuesday evening because of spring coaching obligations, I am sending this e-mail to offer my thoughts for your consideration.
* After working with Steve and Linda (and many others) on the Public Works Committee, I have great hope in the Selectboard's desire to sift issues in a meaningful way predicated on the best interests of the Town.
* I was recently made aware of a "Main Street Paving Project" and quickly reviewed a very rudimentary sketch on the west wall of the Tracy Hall multi-purpose room last Thursday evening prior to a Planning Commission meeting. As one who has participated in thousands of similar projects over 30 years as a professional licensed to practice in this kind of work, I am struggling to find words to convey how I feel based on what is being presented for this project.
* Given past community turmoil over various projects, I want to encourage you to delay, table, or otherwise forestall the implementation of this project until it can be properly considered, vetted, and implemented because we will only get one bite at this proverbial (and crucial) apple without considerable expense to rectify what I perceive may become a disaster. This project can be a gem, or something far less, which is my perception of what will occur if the project proceeds as currently conceived and managed.
* Please (at least) consider constituting a committee, or similar vehicle, that properly considers project needs, abutter implications, and long term community implications. My perspective is that this project has great significance and will extend the Route 10A corridor project through redevelopment of the downtown corridor of our village. Given the significance of this project, I believe it is worth taking the time to properly think through issues, seek constituent support, and engage qualified professionals to conceive a project that is sustainable, while continuing to promote the vitality of our village and community.
* As you may recall, in addition to writing the initial grant for the corridor project circa 1993, I participated in many years of planning that resulted in the corridor master plan, which included upgrades from Ledyard Bridge to the village along Route 10A by VTrans as Phase 1 of the project conceived by our committee. Subsequent to the Corridor Committee, the Transportation Committee has assisted our Town with advancing appropriate and sustainable projects. I hope, and trust, that the hard work of past important citizen contributions will be considered and integrated in an appropriate plan for the revitalization of our Main Street and downtown.
The aforementioned concerns address broad strategic considerations for the proposed Main Street "paving" project that I hope you will embrace to benefit Norwich. I have myriad technical considerations, some of which include:
1. The incredibly rudimentary sketch hanging in the multi-purpose room is a far cry from what is needed to establish existing conditions along the project corridor or communicate project components and amenities to our community.
2. Where are the property lines and what are the right-of-way (ROW) issues along the project corridor? It is customary for projects like this to establish existing boundary and/or ROW information along the project corridor to establish existing conditions, which would form the basis for temporary or permanent easements once a final project concept is advanced.
3. How can we understand project conditions without a topographic and detail survey by a qualified professional? Curbing is proposed. How can we determine the impacts of curbing on abutters and the road system without real information?
4. Have borings or other subsurface explorations been performed to identify sub-base conditions? These data are needed to identify the proper and/or most cost appropriate means to reconstruct the road. Such information may suggest that cold planing is not an appropriate option. While there are several possible options to address the paved portion of the road, a cost benefit analysis that considers reclamation and fulldepth replacement should be considered before choosing a direction (based on existing surficial and subbase conditions).
5. What are the drainage implications relative to abutters and the various discharge points along the project corridor? For projects of this nature, I would expect appropriate calculations to document existing and proposed conditions and project amenities that address both Agency of Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Agency regulatory criteria. Where is all of this information? Additionally, since our Planning Commission is advocating Low Impact Development (LID) considerations for drainage, why does this current rudimentary proposal neglect such sustainable and environmentally sensitive considerations?
6. This is (obviously) not just a pavement project. Have I missed concepts and public support, E.G., like the Corridor project? If not, can you tell me where this documentation exists? As I have noted previously, there are myriad alternatives and improvements that may be implemented as part of this project, all of which should be presented for acceptance prior to design and, ultimately, implementation.
7. Do you intend to develop design plans? If not, why not?
8. Do you intend to develop contract documents? If so, to what standard?
9. Have you solicited LTF or other grant monies for this project?
10. It seems ironic to me that applicants to the DRB are held to a much higher standard than the incredibly rudimentary drawing tacked to the wall in the multi-purpose room. Is your intent to advocate for a double standard (E.G., do you really want the Town to proceed off the back of a napkin with concepts prepared without appropriate qualifications, yet ask everyone else to do things professionally and appropriately)?
11. What permits are need for this project and the previous stormwater work?
I will end with these very basic considerations, all of which are things that a novice in my profession or business would understand. Because I appreciate that the Selectboard is constituted by lay-members whom I choose to believe care about the well-being of our community, I encourage you to engage qualified professionals and members of the public to develop this very significant project the right way. Or, at least consider engaging some of the highly qualified residents of our Town to lead the way to avoid repeating the way the Town has managed the Norwich Pool and the pedestrian bridge to Huntley Meadow (for example), which portends greater difficulties if you choose to continue in the manner presented to date.
Thank you for considering my thoughts, which are a function of a professional life assisting public and private clients with thousands of similar projects.