January 31, 2005

Actively Pedestrian Hostile

The commercial/retail area along Rte. 30 in Framingham that borders Natick isn't just "not pedestrian friendly." It is actively pedestrian-hostile to the point of insanity.

There are literally hundreds of office workers within a 10-minute walk of Shoppers World, in buildings along Speen Street and the Leggat-McCall connector. Yet it is truly frightening to try to take that walk -- and not just because sidewalks haven't been cleared.

I discovered this today while trying to walk to the new Fidelity building from my office on Speen Street. It takes about 7 minutes to get there ... although crossing the huge swath of asphalt that is the intersection between the Legatt-McCall connector and Rte. 30 is downright scary. Then you get to the other side, where the Fidelity building is .... and there's NO CONVENIENT WAY FOR PEDESTRIANS TO GET TO THE BUILDING! Without snow, you can scramble across the grass and down a steep slope; but now, with all the snow, forget that. So, you've got to walk along the road leading to Shopper's World in order to get to the driveway into Fidelity ... even though there's NO SIDEWALK AT ALL, and zooming traffic.

WHY didn't any of our planners demand simple pedestrian access? And why is it impossible for me to take a 10-minute walk to Shoppers World on my lunch hour? I got as far as the Logan Express bus terminal, but trying to cross that next enormously busy intersection (5 or 6 lanes of traffic) without a crosswalk was too daunting.

SHAME. It is an ABSOLUTE SHAME that lack of requesting a few simple, inexpensive accommodations to foot traffic has prevented so many people from doing some lunchtime errands without their cars. Most of my co-workers take their cars to go just half a mile, because it really is scary and unpleasant trying to walk around there.

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