, Newburyport, MA


February 23, 2012

The hidden danger in Newburyport

To the editor:

Historic Newburyport is a quaint little town that is a tourist destination of, I'm sure, hundreds if not thousands of unsuspecting visitors yearly. I was one of these folks. I arrived as a healthy tourist visiting a friend with an agenda of doing all the things that a tourist would do: seeing the historic sites, visiting the local hangouts and spreading around some of my hard-earned income in local shops, adding to the local economy. Little did I suspect that hidden behind these, or should I say in front of these, tourist destinations, there lies a threat to everyone's well-being. My visit to beautiful, historic Newburyport was quickly and painfully halted and my planned destinations changed from enjoying my time seeing Newburyport to seeing the inside of the emergency room at the local hospital.

From what I understand, Newburyport was, until fairly recently, in disarray. Buildings were dilapidated, and crime was ever present. Newburyport has apparently gone through a renaissance which, apparently, did not include one very important part of the infrastructure that ultimately affects everyone: the sidewalks. On my first visit to Newburyport, I was told by my friend that people walk in the streets in order to avoid the sidewalks, that they are unsafe, since the city chooses not to maintain them. In my way of thinking, sidewalks should be maintained in order to provide a safe route for pedestrians to walk.

While walking arm in arm with my friend, I tripped on a portion of the sidewalk that was protruding up across my line of travel. I proceeded to fall and he attempted to stop my fall. Unfortunately, he was not able to and we both hit the sidewalk. He sustained road rash. I knew immediately that I had broken my leg. A planned romantic date immediately turned into a painful nightmare. Following the fall, after getting up I lost consciousness momentarily and was taken to the emergency room. I was surprised to hear from the receptionist that the sidewalks were a common culprit for emergency room visits at that hospital. Again, the common theme, dangerous sidewalks.

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