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Proposed Bill Aims to Establish Roadside Memorial Display Guidelines

State Rep. Paul McMurtry (D-Dedham) is behind the bill that will go to a hearing on Wednesday.

A roadside memorial. Note: This is a Patch file photo and is not specific to Dedham.
A roadside memorial. Note: This is a Patch file photo and is not specific to Dedham.

Massachusetts State Rep. Paul McMurtry (D-Dedham) is looking to establish guidelines for grieving families who wish to erect roadside memorials with a newly-proposed bill due to go to a public hearing on Wednesday. 

Bill H.3407 aims to raise public awareness of driving fatalities and homicides on public roadways and offer families a way to remember the victims. The Joint Committee on Transportation will hear the bill beginning at 10 a.m. Wednesday in Hearing Room A-2 at the Massachusetts State House along with 50 other bills scheduled to be heard, according to McMurtry's office. 

"The bill's intention and origin came from just giving some grief-stricken families an opportunity for closure," McMurtry told Patch on Tuesday. "The need and desire for us in our culture to leave a memorial at the location where the last breath was taken, I understand that. I'm very sensitive to that."

If approved, the bill would allow families to apply for memorial markers to be placed at crash sites for one year. The markers would comprise a white-on-blue panel bearing the words "In Memory of (Victim's Name)" followed by the date of the incident being memorialized. 

"They can move on from that point of tragedy to a more appropriate place of mourning, whether that's a cemetery or church," McMurtry said. "And they can move away from that very dangerous intersection. At the same time, it allows for public works departments, both local and state, a way of dealing with a sensitive issue."

McMurtry said the bill would establish guidelines that don't currently exist for the sensitive issue, and would provide families and local and state official a means of handling the installation and removal of memorials in an appropriate time frame. 

"The intention of this is a temporary public monument to bring some level of guidelines, or some level of government involvement to a very sensitive and delicate matter to families and friends who are building these memorials and displays of flowers and teddy bears and tee shirts," he said. "This temporary memorial would justify that, and offer the public a somber reminder of some of the tragedies that occur from driving and/or homicides." 

He added, "We've seen some of these very public displays transition from a bouquet of flowers or a moment or memory of the deceased to permanent shrubs and more continuous permanent memorials, which I'm not questioning or disagreeing with, but the original intention was out of compassion in helping government and loved ones establish a mutually-acceptable resolution."

To read Bill H.3407, click here. 

BH February 13, 2014 at 01:35 PM
Kinda like the republican Italian governor of New Jersey? Your stereotypes and generalizations are awesome.
Anna Bucciarelli February 13, 2014 at 01:59 PM
Mark ... shame on you for such blatant discrimination!
BH February 13, 2014 at 02:01 PM
You just happen to live in a democratic state. Go to a republican state or an area of French or English descent. Corruption is everywhere and it doesn't discriminate like you do.
Anna Bucciarelli February 15, 2014 at 09:50 AM
To label all people of any original nationality is despicable. It's like saying all English are cold and unfeeling, all French are dirty, all Germans are Nazis. Educate yourself a bit about the contributions made in this very nation by any and all nationalities. Pay attention!
BH February 15, 2014 at 11:51 AM
Wow Mark, you are a straight up racist, plain and simple.
Andy Beresford February 16, 2014 at 08:21 AM
Wow did you crazy fools get off the subject. I have never seen a better ad to make me slow down and buckle up then a cross on the side of the road reminding me someone died. Now I think Mark and BH need to meet up somewhere and duke it out. Also the jewish community has filed several lawsuits about roadside crosses as I alluded to earlier. Here is one filed by David Silverman that cost Utah almost 400k. http://www.firstamendmentcenter.org/utah-pays-388k-to-resolve-roadside-crosses-case
Andy Beresford February 16, 2014 at 10:34 AM
Mark, I'm no fan of immigration, but compared to what washes up onshore nowadays, Irish and Italians would be a blessing! And our race is divided enough, we certainly don't need do be further divided by national origin. The real damage started at the turn of the century with Eastern European jewish immigrants who had always been communists and subversives in their former lands. We even passed the Johnson-Reed act of 1924 for the purpose of limiting this influx. After constant lobbying, our immigration laws were changed in 1965 by the same people who ban Christianity in the US. Yes I know Kennedy is a scumbag, but is a front man. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Immigration_Act_of_1924
Anna Bucciarelli February 16, 2014 at 01:08 PM
Mark ... Facts: This hemisphere was discovered by an Italian and our nation was named for an Italian!
BH February 16, 2014 at 05:53 PM
Mark is just angry at the world, I suggest you move to northern Canada or a remote country with minimal immigration. Of course then you'd be a minority immigrant and I'm sure you'd be the target of racism....
Andy Beresford February 16, 2014 at 08:33 PM
Sorry, whites cannot be the target of racism, haven't you heard? We can only be the ones committing it. But Mark may end up "swimming with the fish" with that attitude! God did you people get off the subject!
mark February 16, 2014 at 09:58 PM
Please excuse the 2 typing errors, my IPhone is not typing properly!
Andy Beresford February 17, 2014 at 06:40 AM
I'm sure the Irish and Italians are not happy about what happened to their neighborhoods. You need to look deeper into the subject if you want to understand what has happened to the US post 1965. And the Irish and Italians certainly do not run the media and promote this multiculturalism to us. No one understands or explains it better than Professor Kevin MacDonald. http://www.kevinmacdonald.net/Immigration.pdf
BH February 17, 2014 at 08:29 AM
It's shocking how racist and stereotypical you are, and you actually keep trying to justify it! You are clueless.
BH February 17, 2014 at 08:38 AM
I generally will listen to most peoples opinions, there is usually some valid point or justification, but you are just clueless, uneducated and racist. I actually feel bad for you that your views are so skewed and one sided.
Anna Bucciarelli February 17, 2014 at 08:55 AM
Mark ... you cannot try to remedy your remarks by saying "I did't say all Italians and Irish ...". You have shown your true feelings of a particular, distasteful, ignorant and uneducated brand of racism and there is no covering it up. Say good night Gracie!
BH February 17, 2014 at 11:26 AM
Mark I don't think anyone disputes corruption, but every ethnicity does it. You have focused and vilified only two groups.
Andy Beresford February 17, 2014 at 02:56 PM
I like Mark, he makes me look moderate!
joseph mcgruff March 12, 2014 at 03:22 PM
Lets start by taking down the yard sale, we buy houses, puppies for sale, snow plowing etc etc etc signs and let mourners mourn as they want. It is sad that anyone would inject their opinion on how anyone should mourn, that was always my point. Saying 'i dont see the point' or 'goto a cemetary' is as insensitive as I have ever heard. Worry about the trash being created by greed and not the monuments that actually mean something to people.
BH March 13, 2014 at 02:34 PM
Everyone is allowed their opinion as you are Joe. Nobody is telling them what they must do, just their opinion and feelings. This happens to be an ideal of your country..
joseph mcgruff March 13, 2014 at 02:56 PM
Well, McMurtry in a sense is telling us what to do you realize BH? Not 1 way but 2: Apply for a temporary gov't issued memorial AND taking away a person's ability to create a more personal memorial if they so choose. I am sure there won't be any fees or maintenance involved either with said 'markers' right? Notice that was left out of the article...if it doesn't say Automatic transmission in the ad, its not an automatic transmission. Nice gesture by McMurtry I guess...but they could make a whole lot more $$ charging for yard sale, single? and we buy houses signage..
BH March 13, 2014 at 03:11 PM
So what happens when pieces from a memorial, pieces of wood or large stuffed animals or glass blows onto the highway and pops a tire or causes an accident, maybe a deadly one. Who is responsible? The grieving family who erected the memorial? The state for allowing it? See the issue here? You can't just place large unsecured objects on the side of the road.
joseph mcgruff March 14, 2014 at 10:16 PM
What happens when the 'marker' falls off its post, bounces into the street, pops a tire, same issue, same difference. Safe to say a Pooh bear or yard sale sign isn't going to kill anyone right? BUT if driver safety si McMurtry's goal, I would harken to guess the yard sale et al clan signs outnumber the memorials 100:1. Leave mourners alone and target the homemade billboards first IMO.
BH March 15, 2014 at 04:11 AM
Have you ever seen a mile marker "fall off its post"? It's riveted to the post and driven feet into the ground. This is apples and oranges, you are comparing family and friends placing objects on the ground, free to move or blow around freely to an anchored manufactured piece of metal driven into the earth that has been engineered to withstand weather and high wind. Weak argument.
Andy Beresford March 15, 2014 at 05:12 PM
Yeah you have a good point BH. Sometimes its like I'm driving through an asteroid field with all the pieces of roadside memorials, crosses and teddy bears constantly hitting my car. That is sarcasm, and also, can you try to comment within the first month of these stories? There really needs to be a cut-off date at some point.
BH March 15, 2014 at 06:10 PM
Well Andy, Joe happened to bring this post back to life a month after it was silent, so you can thank him for that. Second, you are posting here yourself, bravo for your part in keeping the conversation going. Third, have you ever broken your leg? If not then I'm sure that means it'll never happen.....Sense my sarcasm there? And lastly, I did not realize that you happen to drive on all Massachusetts highways all hours of the day. Surely your short commute is a perfect and accurate representation of what goes on throughout the state on a daily basis. I and the people thank you for putting this debate to rest.
joseph mcgruff March 15, 2014 at 08:52 PM
And there you haveit folks, BH is the winner! Don't you dare make a memorial for any loved ones or he will dirve every last mile on his comnmute to the Vatican City (assuming his tires don't get blown out on the way) and give you the tisk tisk fingers. Even better idea, lets hire Matt Amorello to oversee this genius project, I mean what can go wrong right? Engenireed metal and all... the Delvalle family will be thrilled and 1st in line to pay the $100 application fee!
BH March 15, 2014 at 09:21 PM
What's wrong with a plaque with words from the family on it, secured to the side of the road? Seems better to me than dead flowers, rain and snow soaked stuffed animals and tattered pictures and cards.
joseph mcgruff March 15, 2014 at 09:44 PM
There are 100 times more guerilla billboards soaking up that same rain and snow. Again, if road safety is the point, shouldn't we be going after the biggest offenders? Not those who mean ZERO harm and aren't trying to make a quick buck.
BH March 15, 2014 at 09:55 PM
I think this is more about highways personally, that is where more vehicle deaths occur, thus more of these memorials. I don't see any yard sale or makeshift billboards on the highway. And if we are talking about secondary and side road memorials then private property comes into play in some cases.
joseph mcgruff March 15, 2014 at 10:11 PM
The highway deaths are not occurring because people are looking off at home made memorials, . Or are you saying the memorials are considered an eyesore or eventual debris/litter on the roads? If that is the case, how sad someone would want to target mourning families like that, McMurtry not you BH. Furthermore, if the trash factior is the ultimate point, the yard salers would take the cake on that you have to agree, regardless of what road they are on, right?

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