May 11, 2004

Framingham Bicycle & Pedestrian Update

I stopped in at the Framingham Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Committee meeting tonight, where they talked about issues crucial for non-automotive travel. Some highlights:

* There was lots of discussion about what suggestions to make for a proposed town transportation "vision." Naturally, the committee had lots of ideas about sidewalks, bike racks (note: a grant's been applied for to get rental bicycle lockers at the Framingham MBTA station) and other walking/biking friendly ideas.

I got to make a brief pitch on making sidewalks not simply usable and conforming to state guidelines, but actually APPEALING, so people WANT to walk on them. We discussed buffers between the sidewalk and street, which I consider crucial to making walking appealing to average residents, not just those who are deeply committed to cutting back auto use or who have no other choice.

* Happy National Bike Month!

* Developers at the old Sony Cinema on Rte. 9 in Natick are amenable to having a trail "spur" from their development to the Natick Mall. Developers of the Natick Mall are agreeable to improving the trail design from the planned Cochituate Rail Trail to the mall. At a Natick planning meeting, West Natick residents spoke in favor of having walking access to the mall. It's possible there will be some positive, concrete trail developments in Natick soon.

* More than two dozen people worked on the Old Conn Path-Rte. 30 section of the Cochituate Rail Trail during a cleanup day earlier this month (including getting rid of dozens of tires). Final signatures await formal transfer of easement rights to that section (alas, legal rights to the part from Rte. 126 to Old Conn Path seem a bit further away still). Formal ribbon-cutting COULD wait until some kind of surface is put down, and possible drainage issues around Rte. 30 are investigated.

* Pedestrian as well as auto access on the Central Street bridge in Saxonville will be shut off for up to two years during bridge reconstruction. Around 6,500 cars/day use that bridge. Yikes!

* As they've done for several years now, committee members will be surveying the state of sidewalks this summer in certain sections of town (they pick different areas each year). Up in '04: Hollis Street/Waverly Street, Mt. Wayte/Cushing/Farm Pond and areas around some North Side schools (last year, areas of Saxonville and Water Street were selected).

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