To the editor:
Just back from Amsterdam, three things struck me about that beautiful Dutch city: transport, quiet and beauty.
I also admired the Dutch pledge to have their city carbon-free by 2030, not waiting for someone else to tell them what to do about global warming. My thoughts turned to our little city of Newburyport, which is quite European in my mind with its emphasis on culture, lifestyle and history.
While we’re less than a tenth the size of Amsterdam, we share a closeness to the sea, pretty flat terrain and beautiful, old buildings. I was also struck with the fitness of the Dutch folk as they walked, pedaled, rode trams and scootered their way around.
Their highways and byways were not littered with large blocks of steel, plastic and rubber tires, taking up so much space and spoiling the views. Gardens and walkways, parks and playgrounds abounded. Bike paths ran everywhere. I thought why couldn’t Newburyport take a page from their book?
Imagine, with me, that we had more than just rail trails, but miles and miles of bike and walking paths. Imagine if State Street, Federal Street and Market Street were not long parking garages, but boulevards for strolling back and forth from the waterfront.
Imagine self-driving vehicles, stored in our new garage, venturing out as needed instead of all those expensive cars spending 95% of the time taking up space and doing nothing. How about if we harnessed the Merrimack River and the tides for power and installed more solar panels? Maybe even ran some canals through the city to meander through the neighborhoods, canal boats adding to the seashore adventure.
What we really need is a vision for our city. Waiting for developers to maximize their profits while destroying the essence of our little jewel is not a plan, it is gradual suicide.
Waiting for Washington or Boston to do something about climate change is clearly not the answer, either. We are special and we can create something magical and needed. All it takes is a little imagination and the will to do it.