The following Letter to the Editor was submitted by Chester Suchecki.
Salem is currently going through a period of hard choices. All of which will affect the city in years to come. The former city council made some choices on its outgoing election year that are biting us hard now and we are faced with growing dissent for those choices.
Presently, the MBTA is holding a series of design meetings so that they can build a $31.8 million parking garage. Great! Except for one thing, does the MBTA really have the money? [At] every meeting [it] seems to me the garage gets smaller and the amenities fewer. Now the MBTA just recently voted itself a rate hike across the board with the disabled and seniors taking the biggest hit at 100 percent rate hike. Imagine that! The service is the same and I won’t go there but 100 percent everybody else only pays 23 percent. Ok enough of that.
Back to Salem.
The city wants to take out the fountains and cutsify [sic] Essex Street again in hopes of luring shops that will stay more than their one year lease. Taking out the fountains — great idea given we are in a drought right now and if it doesn’t start pouring now we are in for a dry summer.
Make Essex Street accessible to cars the stores will stay longer because you’ll get better stores that sell things that people need.
Peabody is redoing Main Street so that it’s a shopping city again; Beverly has stores that I myself frequent because they are not in Salem.
Have you figured it out yet Mrs. Mayor and city council? Make downtown, downtown again not some cutesy park with a street that I can’t walk on because it’s too rough. Yes, I’m disabled and have a hard time walking on Essex Street so I have to go around it. That adds steps to my trips downtown. I’m glad I don’t have a wheelchair because it would be like driving on Bridge Street.
Another use for a paved Essex Street is parades. No more do they have to block the traffic for the entire North Shore, especially Halloween. The city might even scare up the Heritage Days Parade, which was good for downtown business but our fore geniuses said let’s kill downtown business by putting in this pedestrian mall. A small suggestion would be to have all the craft vendors on Essex Street and keep Halloween festivities downtown on the newly paved street and sidewalks where everybody could get around easily.
Salem, the city of greed.
Parking meters. The city has a knack for putting them where they don’t belong but to put them where they do belong strains their gray matter too far. So here’s my hint — do not put meters anywhere near Steve’s Market, the Post Office and Salem Willows. Do put them on any and all streets surrounding Salem State University. They have been mooching free parking off the residents and the city for decades and it’s time to pay up. Tax paying residents exempt. Rental students not exempt. Pay up or park in student lots.
While I’m on the subject of parking there is the small matter of Winter Island parking. This should be free to residents of Salem.
Thanks for your time,