Local Town Pages www.wellesleytownnews.com
November 1. 2011
Keeping Out Highway Noise Mass DOT discusses sound barrier project for I-95 in Wellesley BY RENEE REYNOLDS On Tuesday, October 11, the state Department of Transportation held a public meeting at the Town Hall to present information and answer residents’ questions regarding the sound-barrier project proposed for Route 128 southbound in Wellesley. The presentation consisted of an explanation of plans for an approximate 3,000-foot wall between 15 and 20 feet high to be built from Charles Avenue to the Route 9 interchange. The goal of the plan, which is estimated to cost about
$8.6 million, is to reduce noise from cars and trucks for residents living close to the highway. According to officials, about 25 percent of the barrier’s design is now finished. State officials said at the meeting they have measured sound decibels for nearby homes and the noise levels currently range between 61-75 decibels. According to the presentation, people begin to notice a difference in sound after it is increased or decreased by just three decibels. Their goal for the project is 10 decibels, which would virtually cut the noise levels
in half, officials said. Their minimum goal is to decrease sound decibels by seven, and, generally, the barriers that have been built in other towns have cut the noise volume in the range of five to 13 decibels, officials said. The noise barrier would be built on existing highway and would require no additional highway construction. Officials said there could be tree elimination as a result of the construction and that they would make every effort to leave enough room in between the highway and the barriers for snow clearing.
Concerns over how the aesthetics of the barrier would be upheld over time came into play during the meeting, but officials assured residents the barriers were safe and would withstand heavy rains and winds. Their goal, they said, is to make the barrier “disappear” into the background of the highway. Residents at the meeting were also given the opportunity to vote on the type of barrier they found most aesthetically pleasing. Their options were ashlar stone, which looks like bricks; blocks, which have a square formation; or flute, which resembles concrete. Resi-
dents voted 100 percent in favor of the ashlar stone. Each of the options is equally resilient and durable, officials said. Further, 93 percent of residents voted for the light brown option, as opposed to the 7 percent who voted for dark brown. Officials said that they hope to have 75 percent of the design completed for the spring of 2012 and 100 percent of the design done for the fall of 2012 or winter of 2013. There are no further public meetings planned for the project at this time.
Wellesley Author Releases "Coming Full Circle" BY DAVE HALPERIN Wellesley poet RKR may be newly published, but she isn't new to writing. Rather, her debut collection of poems, Coming Full Circle, is appropriately titled.
Ramaswamy chose a path that included a biology degree and the beginnings of an academic career, which she parted ways with in order to raise a family with her husband. Still, she was never far from writing and after spontaneously entering a poetry slam - and winning Ramaswamy decided it was time to get serious about writing again.
After winning poetry competitions in high school, writing for her high school's newspaper, and serving as the editor of a Ohio University journal of fiction, Rama K.
"It was a low turnout," she joked about her slam victory, adding that the win did "motivate me to put things together and write [the book]. There were things that had been percolating in my head for 25 years... I'm coming back to my roots."
Coming Full Circle showcases RKR's ability to tell a story economically. "It's interesting for me to write poems instead of short stories or novels," she explains. "I like to tell a story in one page, with a sense of buildup and then a twist at the end." The economy of words, says the author, may be a result of her science background - "I like it to be crisp" - but whatever the reason, the result is poems that feel quickly metronomic, paced to match the life and times of what she calls "the human cult" in 2011. In "Superhuman" the author honors the multitasking efforts of one woman in particular: "Bionic efforts, Herculean feats, harvest the
Earth/Fulfilling others’ demands, requests, needs./You are super, it’s true but/Human too . . ./You have enough hats to wear,/Outsource keys to the lair,/Quickly, as always-think fast, it is time/To run the next marathon mile..." Coming Full Circle also circles the earth and travels back in time, referencing faraway places in "Summer Life" and other poems, and visiting long ago authors like Socrates and Keats. But RKR returns often to the here and now, including in the poem "Spring Cleaning," which traces the movements of a girl who, while preparing for a yard sale, moves "speedily, a Tasmanian devil!" like a young Lady Gaga.
"An innate gleam, she’s born with it, Gaga would relate./Such mischievousness, cold fusion energy burning brightly blue/In such a small, six-year-old package!"
RouteLoops.com: One Man's Cycling Invention BY DAVE HALPERIN As the common saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention, and in the case of the mapping web site RouteLoops.com the need was for better, more adventurous bicycling. Wellesley resident Leigh Chinitz, is an avid cyclist, the kind of rider who regularly covers 100 miles a week on two wheels. But Chinitz, when he adopted serious cycling Chinitz, second in line, during the about a decade ago, wanted as Massachusetts Red Ribbon Ride. many of those miles as possible to MapQuest or something like that," bring unchartered pavement. In- he notes, "but I remember thinking stead, he found himself quickly tir- there's nowhere where you can say, ing of the same old back and forth 'I'm here, and I want to end up trips. back here.'" "If you wanted to go from one Enter that form of invention parplace to another place, you'd go to
ticular to the internet age: software development. "I started to wonder how hard it would be to do something like that," Chinitz said, and he began creating an early form of RouteLoops that worked off of the government's free navigation database, Tiger Map. "At that point, it would kind of crawl through (the database)... But it would just make random choices and keep doing that." Today, RouteLoops.com, with a working speed appropriate to 2011, works in congress with Google's mapping software, giving cyclists, runners, walkers, and anyone else in the market for a free route, a randomly designed excur-
sion option. One types an address and a desired distance - with options for additional search criteria like elevation - and, in seconds, a circular route appears. The growth of the site has been a community effort. Started by Chinitz with the help of his brother, Richard, its launch led to a flurry of feedback that included the suggestion to build the application "on top of Google." Other improvements through the years have brought search results onto smart phones or GPS devices, both more conducive to cycling than carrying a printed page. And Chinitz's goal for the site is simply to continue improving upon it.
"All along I've just wanted to get it to the point where i could use it... and to put it out there to see if there was interest from other people [wanting to use the service]," he explains. Now Chinitz is happy punching in his home address or any address where he might happen to be on a given day, and waiting for his invention to suggest a route. "The nice thing about RouteLoops is that with what it does, other than the distance you choose, it really is random," he says, explaining that he often winds up discovering roads, lakes, and shops that he didn't know existed. "It's nice... I really did build it for me."