EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA


February 10, 2013

Patrick's travel ban controversial, but effective

Area police officials credit the governor's threat with being a great deterrent to travel


“Is this communist Russia? Does Deval think we are that dumb as citizens that we are all going to drive in a storm? If you need the government up your butt, making rational choices and decisions for you by threatening you, move to a communist China,” said another reader.

But the threat of stiff sanctions apparently worked. Only 30 stranded drivers were rescued overnight, and state police credited the travel ban — the state’s first since the Blizzard of ’78, a ferocious storm that dropped 27 inches of snow, packed hurricane-force winds and claimed dozens of lives.

Area police officials commended the governor’s ban with the tough sanctions.

“I absolutely believe it was necessary,” Methuen Police Chief Joseph Solomon said yesterday.

“The (negative) comments I heard from people who are making them are not common sense. There is no reason to be out in that storm to endanger your life and somebody else’s. I think the governor and the mayor (Methuen Mayor Stephen Zanni) made the right call. Every once in a while, we have to give up our liberty to make our lives safer,” Solomon said.

“I think it’s an important thing to have. I have no problem enforcing it. But I want to make sure why the person is out. If we saw kids out joy-riding, we would have towed the cars and cited them. But we had no violations that we had to cite. People complied. I want to say ‘thank you’ to the citizens of Methuen,” he said.

Methuen police took their own measures to enforce the governor’s ban, by educating city residents about the dangerous driving conditions even after the storm began to peter out yesterday morning.

Police officers posted photos on the department’s Facebook page and over Twitter, showing the poor condition of the roads.

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