A sad day in Port Clyde
The horrific crash in Port Clyde this weekend reminds us that when it comes to driving, tragedy can strike in a matter of seconds.
At the time of this writing it is not known why a driver lost control of her car and crashed through a busy wharf, injuring three and killing a 9-year-old boy.
Local and state police have been working very hard for the past few days to investigate the reasons. They are interviewing witnesses, examining the marks left on the road and will examine the car, including its internal computer.
We saw on Aug. 11 that our local emergency responders, including members of the ambulance team, the fire department and sheriff's office, work very hard for long hours to help in the aftermath of events like this. A letter to the editor this week also shows that this kind of event has a powerful effect on emergency department nurses, doctors and staff members.
"This was a sad day," a firefighter noted.
It is easy to think that those who work to provide care in the most traumatic situations are somehow hardened veterans, able to deal with this kind of tragedy without being changed by it, but this kind of case is hard on everybody.
We believe we speak for the Midcoast community in general in offering condolences to the Gold family of Cohasset, Mass. We welcomed them as visitors to the area and are very sorry to see this happen.
This also highlights the importance of driver safety. While we do not know the cause of this crash, we do know that many crashes are caused by a moment of inattention, a text message, a need to rush somewhere or other distractions. It is a sobering reminder that anyone walking along the road could be seriously injured or killed should a car or truck jump the curb.
It may also merit looking at the way the wharf in Port Clyde is set up. Should a gate or sturdy guardrails be put in place? Could the area be redesigned to keep vehicle traffic farther away from pedestrians?
Ferry terminals are very busy and combine foot traffic and large vehicles. Added to that, they run on tight schedules and that can mean people coming and going in a hurry.
We have seen pedestrians trying to figure out how to get across high-traffic areas at other local ferry terminals in the Midcoast.
However, no safety measures offer a 100 percent guarantee.
In any case, it may be worth the time to thank a emergency responder you see around town this week.
Zoning talk in Rockland
This week the council approved in first reading some new zoning regulations for the area west of Old County Road.
The proposed zoning is a mixed bag at this point, so it is fortunate this issue will need to come back for a second reading.
Councilor Frank Isganitis rightly argues that zoning should be put in place before proposed development projects come to the city.
However, this zoning ignores the area most likely to see sprawl and development in the coming years: the Old County Road strip. The new Wal-Mart superstore under construction in Thomaston is likely to generate a lot of traffic on Old County, and that could inspire business development.
Councilors Lizzie Dickerson and Eric Hebert suggested looking at that zone more urgently, though it was taken off the table due to concerns raised by residents in that area.
Meanwhile, west of Old County, the new zoning would mean increased lot sizes (two acres minimum) and the promotion of agriculture, even though housing development seems a more likely use than farming.
However, those living in this zone will likely thank the council in the future if and when the new rules fend off a large wind-power development.
As always (or so it seems) the council voted 4-1, with Dickerson opposed. The council has functioned well, with a good and thoughtful debate on the issues. Dickerson often finds herself the lone voice of dissent, but that means both sides of any discussion are heard. That said, we would not mind seeing someone join her once in a while so it could be a 4-2 vote at least.
Those interested in the new zoning should contact the city council and attend the Sept. 9 public hearing.