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I was thinking about the article that Greg had asked me to post on village 14 about Pine Straw as I cruised home at about 9:15pm from the Newton Highlands Area Council Meeting last night. But I couldn’t get home. I was greeted by a barrier of cones with a detour sign that pointed to my next door neighbor’s sidewalk/berm as the route of access. Hmmm. Drive up on Barbara’s lawn? I think not. (Even though as I sat there with my hazard lights on, a car from down the block exited across her driveway.) Not wanting to disrupt the barrier, I tried to call my spouse to ask him to call the non-emergency Police number for advice. He didn’t hear the phone. So I called 911 and reported my predicament.

As I was considering my options, a neighbor who lives on Quinobequin Road pulled up next to me, moved the barrier and proceeded down Radcliff. I followed and parked in my driveway as she turned around after being denied access to the street on which she lives. I don’t know if she had to spend the night at the Marriott or was able to return to Waban.

Don’t you think that the State’s DCR owes a bit more consideration to the residents of this City? It was DCR who notified the City that Quinobequin would be milled last night. That notice came about 48 hours before the DCR action. Terry Crowley from the Mayor’s Office correctly sent out a reverse 911 robo-call to alert Newton residents to the road work. But, no notice was given to residents that they had better get home by 8pm or risk sleeping in their cars!

While we are on the milling of Quinobequin…the DCR is scratching the surface of the asphalt in a perfunctory manner that allows them to build up the surface of the road without curing the runoff onto the lawns of Quinobequin Road dwellers. The fact that the City is not coordinating with the DCR to delay the repaving unless the infrastructure beneath the road is repaired shows disregard for the seriousness of the situation. Shared Newton and DCR outfalls to the Charles River fall short of the river, ending in pools of stagnant unhealthy water on the Parkland.

This repaving also indicates that the City has no intention of addressing the abandoned and crumbled sewer pipe and underdrain that could be used to carry run-off from Quinobequin in a rain/flood event similar to the one in 2010. If Newton were taking this flood threat seriously, they would take steps now to mitigate future damage. The City is taking a big chance with its inaction. Were there to be a future submersion of low lying sections of Quinobequin, akin to the one in 2010, the City might well be at risk of losing Federal funds and lawsuits by residents who could show negligence on the City’s part for not remediating a known flood risk.

I wish our Ward 5 Aldermen would be proactive and speak out about this situation and explain how no video inspection of the old underdrain/sewer pipes has been done, though promised multiple times by various City departments and costing next to nothing; how Quinobequin Road was removed from the Riverside mitigation discussion, even though our residents will bear a large share of the burden of the added stress on our antiquated drainage system; how Quinobequin Road will not be considered for inspection for another couple of years and, if found to require fixing, not to be funded until well after that.