It was a beautiful day today, so I went for a stroll along Rte. 30 near the proposed new Lowe's on my lunch hour. Despite the fabulous weather and proximity of numerous offices (and office workers), the sidewalks were devoid of pedestrians. In half an hour, I saw two recreational walkers and one woman walking to the post office from somewhere nearby. Period. Of course, the area was teeming with people -- all of them in cars.
Why? Because despite the presence of sidewalks, almost everything about this area is ACTIVELY HOSTILE to pedestrians.
* There is no pedestrian-friendly paths from the sidewalk to any of the strip-mall destinations along the road. None! There is no walkway from the sidewalks to the Target mall, or even to the post office! You have to leave the sidewalk, and walk into the same paved way that cars are turning into, crossing a traffic-filled asphalt parking lot, to actually get anywhere.
In the case of the restaurant-filled mall across from the post office (Big Fresh Cafe, Boston Market, etc.), there is an active guard rail barrier preventing anyone from walking through from the street -- the only way in is by using the place where all the cars are streaming into the parking lot.
In fact, the ONLY place in that immediate area with a pedestrian alternative from the sidewalk to the business is the McDonald's. Sad commentary, Framingham.
* There is no buffer or screening of any kind between sidewalk and rushing traffic. This tends to make walking an unpleasant experience overall, scaring off all but the hardiest, most dedicated walkers.
Oh, and if you want to walk from, say, Stop & Shop or BJs on Old Connecticut Path through to Rte. 30? This is Framingham's idea of providing pedestrian access. Yes, some painted lines in the roadway saying "pedestrian walkway."