Upham's Corner Online

Upham's Corner SNI Neighborhood Walk Through 12/22/2011

Posted: December 23, 2011     Nancy J Conrad

Uphams Corner SNI Neighborhood Walk 12/22/11The Upham’s Corner SNI led neighborhood walk began at The City School a little after one o'clock on December 22, 2011.  Despite the time of year, the showing was impressive – SNI, DSNI, Main Street, BPD, Upham's Corner News, businesses and a dozen or so area residents.

Missing were city organizations that typically attend such events - ISD, BTD and Neighborhood Services.

Matt Feeney, who leads the SNI group, had staked out the walking route in advance - the business district and the streets that had been covered on the June SNI walk (Humphreys, Groom, Eastman, Wendover, Belden).  Max MacCarthy took notes and Nancy Conrad took the photos requested by Mr. Feeney.  One resident asked why they were going to cover the same streets as on the June walk noting that the SNI group had previously stated they would select a different section of Upham's Corner each time.

The walkers headed down Hamlet Street onto Columbia road, then passed in front of Aaron’s.  A spanish-speaking woman, frustrated at the condition of her neighborhood, asked why the streets were not being cleaned.  Several people explained to her in Spanish that street cleaning does occur but without scheduled street cleaning where cars are required to move, the street cleaning is ineffective.

The group talked about the "other" side of Columbia Road which has scheduled street cleaning in place - Jones Hill and Stoughton Street. Why the discrepancy? No one knew.  What is necessary to put scheduled street cleaning in place on many of the streets in Upham's corner that really need it?  No one seemed to know and this was the same response echoed at the June SNI walk.

The group stopped at an empty tree pit in front of Araujo Coin Op Laundromat where a large patch of bricks are loose or missing  The owner of the laundromat came outside and spoke about the dangers of the brick sidewalks in disrepair and said someone picked up a loose brick and threw it through his storefront window.

There was also talk about the discrepancy in height between the sidewalk and the tree pits.  Oftentimes there is much as a 2 inch difference and people spoke adamantly about the dangers of twisting your ankle.

Some people talked about replacing the brick sidewalks.  Others simply wanted the sidewalks repaired and repaired well.  For example, this summer the City  came by and filled in some of the areas with asphalt while repairing others with brick.  Why the difference?  The asphalt gives a shabby look to the otherwise unique brick layout.

The group stopped at the driveway that leads from the back of the alley at Agrejo Universal out to the street.  Brick driveways are particularly vulnerable to deterioration.  After months of bricks coming loose, the driveway had been repaired, though no one knows who did it.  The repair was excellent and the group stared at it.

Someone also pointed out the extensive graffiti on the metal grate in front of the building at the back of the alley.  It has been there for years.  They then looked at the back of L&M Bargain on Virginia Street where the weeds have grown high and are full of trash.  Same with the alley behind the businesses there. 

As the group approached the businesses close to Camilo’s Liquor Store, the owner of Jackson Barber shop came out and was ased how the loitering was.  He answered by talking about “the homeless.”  “They’re all homeless.  If the police arrest them, then they are back in two hours.”

Next attention turned to Wendover Street and the City-owned lot that used to provide safe passage for criminal activity from Wendover to the City parking lot.  It only took a couple months, but the cut chain-link fence has now been repaired.
Uphams Corner SNI Neighborhood Walk 12/22/11
And an empty lot adjacent to 30 Wendover St?  That was still just as much of a mess as it was back in June.  Some walkers asked the same question as they had asked in June: "So who do you think owns this lot?"  No one seemed to know.

The group turned the corner and headed towards Humphreys St.  One resident said: “This is the spot where we need another stop sign.  Cars come racing down Humphreys Street.”  Apparently, this issue has been raised at other SNI meetings.

Now given that there already is a stop sign exactly one block away at Humphreys & Quincefield Streets, it is hard to believe a car could achieve a racing speed in one block.  Even so, the determination of where stop signs should be located is the responsibility of the Transportation Department.  Have they even been contacted?

The group walked down Harrow Street and onto Hillsboro Street around the old Maxwell flea market.  Hillsboro Street is still in complete disrepair - no change from the June 2011 walk.  At the backend of Groom Street, one resident pointed to two houses he says are engaged in drug trafficking and a private way where, he says, cars are regularly abandoned.

Then over to Elder Street all the way up towards Columbia Road.  "Which are the houses the residents say are creating problems?"  None of the police officers seemed to know the answer.  People were trying to remember what people had said at the June SNI walk but the memories remained faulty. No one knew if any of the houses were still a problem. 

Down Belden Street to the Nellie Maranda Park where four youth were seated on one of the park benches.  "This is trouble," said Matt Feeney.  One resident went over to the youth to explain what the group was doing and welcomed them to join in to which one of the youths remarked: "You're going to need a lot more people than that to make a difference.”  Then Officer Fernandes went into the park to talk with them.

Finally, back to the starting point and the walk was done.

What came out of the walk were many of the same issues that have come out of all such walks over the last few years – a story of neglect by the City and by residents alike.
  • Street cleaning - why is scheduled street cleaning in effect in some areas but not in others?
  • Loose bricks - the dangers of loose bricks - one had been thrown through the window of the Laundromat on Columbia Rd
  • Sidewalk repairs - one person wanted the brick sidewalks replaced with concrete;  another wanted the bricks retained and repaired
  • Graffiti - at the back of the alley belonging to Igreja Universal (has been there for years)
  • Drugs – one resident pointed out two houses where he believes drug dealing is active (no proof)
  • Trash – along Virginia Street at the back of L&M Bargain – business owner does not take care of his property
  • Abandoned cars - one resident pointed to an area that he says is a frequent site for abandoned cars (no proof)
  • Streets in need of repair
These walks tend to draw people.  It's fun!  It "feels" like the walk is accomplishing something and certainly, it's a lot more fun than sitting in meetings.  But are we really accomplishing anything?  Yes, a little. 

However, Upham's Corner still looks unkempt, bedraggled, run-down, in disrepair and not a place you would want to live??

For a complete list of all infrastructure reporting in UC News, view the article "Sleep Walking your Way through Upham's Corner."

Uphams Corner SNI Neighborhood Walk 12/22/11
Group poses in parking lot at Belden Terrace
Uphams Corner SNI Neighborhood Walk 12/22/11
Uphams Corner SNI Neighborhood Walk 12/22/11
The SNI walk started out heading to Columbia Rd and then over to Dudley
Uphams Corner SNI Neighborhood Walk 12/22/11
Bricks loose and missing on the side of the tree pit on Columbia Rd.
Laundromat owner say the brick used to smash his window
came from this ever-widening section of decrepit sidewalk
Uphams Corner SNI Neighborhood Walk 12/22/11
Brick driveway recently repaired
at Igreja Universal on Dudley St
Uphams Corner SNI Neighborhood Walk 12/22/11 Uphams Corner SNI Neighborhood Walk 12/22/11
Owner of L&M Bargain refuses to take care of the weeds
on Virginia St at the back of his store
Alley strewn with litter in the back of L&M Bargain
 - .
Uphams Corner SNI Neighborhood Walk 12/22/11
Reputed drug house, owned by Bank of America where
"everyone" has been trying to get the tenants out for months.
Uphams Corner SNI Neighborhood Walk 12/22/11
Poor condition of Hillsboro St
Uphams Corner SNI Neighborhood Walk 12/22/11
Poor condition of Humphreys Street
Litter, trash and streets not cleaned everywhere!
Uphams Corner SNI Neighborhood Walk 12/22/11 Uphams Corner SNI Neighborhood Walk 12/22/11
Uphams Corner SNI Neighborhood Walk 12/22/11 Uphams Corner SNI Neighborhood Walk 12/22/11
Uphams Corner SNI Neighborhood Walk 12/22/11
Looks like what was left from
a smashed car window on Humphreys St

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