"The development of the mall provides opportunities to enhance not only vehicular circulation, but also the bike and pedestrian access and neighborhood feel of the area," Scott Weiss, a traffic engineer with Vanesse Hangen Brustlin, the mall's consulting firm, told several dozen area residents at a Natick Planning Board meeting, according to the MetroWest Daily News.
Many of us sure hope so, and not only those people living on and near Speen and Hartford streets.
"Initial designs call for narrowing the driving lanes and potentially adding bike lanes and a sidewalk," according to the News article.
The project needs more than just adding a sidewalk and bicycle lanes. A sidewalk isn't much good if it's so unappealing that no one actually wants to use it.
There needs to be an attractive buffer between the sidewalk and moving traffic, and an appealing streetscape for pedestrians so they want to be there.
Otherwise, the Natick Mall expansion will just bring more traffic and sprawl.