A Sort Of Good Friend

The South Shore Hospital has been a good friend of Weymouth for many years. I’m sure they are now the largest employer in town and certainly one of the largest on the South Shore. They have grown over the years from a single brick building on the corner of Main and Columbian Street to a multi building facility that spans acres along Route 18 and over to Columbian Square. Lots of money goes through South Shore Hospital; not too long ago I spent an hour and a half there and it cost me over $4,500, but I’ll save that complaint for another day. While you’re reading this complaint, keep in mind that this hospital does not pay taxes. I haven’t done the math, so it’s difficult to say whether the benefit to the Town Of Weymouth monetarily, is positive or negative; and certainly the association this town has had with the hospital isn’t just about statistics, although it would be good to know.
For me, the relationship of this town and this hospital is symbolized by a stretch of Columbian Street which is about 200 yards long. I’ve been traveling down that section of road for many years and there have been many changes, all brought on, and I’m sure partially paid for, by South Shore Hospital. They have basically taken over ownership of this part of Columbian Street. There once was a church on the corner at Fogg Road, which was torn down long ago and paved over to be used as a parking lot for the hospital, even though it does not own the land. The church maintains a good relationship with the hospital and gets to use the lot on Sundays and even lets the hospital have their annual outing on the front lawn of the church with one of those big tents. The grass gets a little beat up and sometimes the tent crew drives a stake through the sprinkler system but it all seems to work out in the end. The positive outweighs the negative, I think.
The hospital has their own security team, who drive around in shiny new vehicles to make sure only patients park in the parking lot. Not even their own employees can park there. They park all throughout Columbian Square pretty much anywhere they can take up a spot that a tax paying consumer would normally use to shop in the local stores. They’ve made up for that inconvenience by beautifying this section of roadway. There’s new sidewalks, signage and plantings, and they cut through the pavement in a couple of spots and installed nice brick cross-walks. It looks so good I’m thinking of doing it in front of my house as soon I figure out how to cut through that asphalt street. Of course you can’t park on that street anymore, in fact, don’t even stop, you’ll get a ticket; but hey, I suppose the benefit outweighs the detriment.
When you travel toward the traffic light at Route 18, be prepared to stop for emergency vehicles, trucks at the loading dock, cars entering and exiting the parking lots; and all those folks using the crosswalks, predominantly marked, telling you to stop for pedestrians. There’s no way you could go over 10 miles per hour on that stretch of road. The funny thing is, somebody important must get after our police department because I see where they installed one of those speed monitoring signs, you know, the ones that clock your speed. It was right there beside the emergency entrance. I couldn’t build up enough speed to make it go over 15 mph. What’s crazy is that people speed through Columbian Square all the time, and nobody ever stops for pedestrians in the crosswalks; and the police are never in the square. You’d think with all those tax-paying merchants in the square that the town could do something about that.
When you finally get down to the traffic light at Route 18, you know, the one with the camera, you can turn right on red. The problem there is that the hospital put a nice big, brick sign there so there’s no way you can see oncoming traffic unless you straddle the crosswalk and keep the nose of your vehicle perilously close to getting clipped. There probably should be a “no turn on red” sign put there before somebody gets killed, either in the crosswalk, or by getting blind-sided. Maybe they will eventually, once the hospital decides that the negative outweighs the positive.
If the hospital can convince our police force to monitor the speed on Columbian Street, then maybe they could also pay to have a police presence in the square, full time. Now that would be a positive for everyone.


About stanleyramon

Amateur historian, blogger and masonic ambassador. View all posts by stanleyramon

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