Traffic Commission approves new road connecting the 1265 Main and City Point projects

The main topic at today’s Traffic Commission meeting was a road connection between the 1265 Main project and City Point office park. Rob Nagi from the firm Vanasse Hangen Brustlin, which is consulting for the 1265 Main developers, gave a presentation showing a road connecting to 5th Avenue in the City Point office park, which presently has access only from Totten Pond Road. (The map did not extend as far as the connection to 1265 Main). The new road would have a sidewalk on one side and be gated during peak hours, though still open to bicyclists and pedestrians. Connecting sidewalks would be built in the City Point office park.The developers would pay for the project.

Rep. Thomas Stanley, among others, spoke in favor of the project, citing traffic issues

On behalf of the Bicycle Committee, I spoke in favor of the project but asked that a path connecting to 3rd Avenue also be built, because this would make a much shorter route for bicyclists and pedestrians, and avoid a long climb in both directions. Other cyclists including Leo Keightly, Martha Creedon and Laurel Carpenter attended the meeting, but did not speak.

Several business owners and employees at City Point expressed approval of the project. A major concern was the difficulty of exiting to Totten Pond Road in rush hour.

Several other commenters including Ward 2 councilor Fowler, and citizens impacted by traffic congestion, expressed conditional approval, asking that the project be delayed until it could be examined in the light of an overall plan including new connections to Route 95/128, and expressing concern that it would increase traffic, notably on Wyman Street, Smith street, Lake Street and Totten Pond Road.

City Traffic Engineer Michael Garvin spoke in favor of the project, indicating that it will help to alleviate traffic, and he spoke in favor of the timed gate closing, which would be removed when additional infrastructure is built.

City Planner Catherine Cagle asked to look at signage because she wanted to be sure that it would clearly indicate when the gate is open. Mr Nagi indicated that the signs would be electronic. Ms. Cagle also wants a sidewalk on both sides of the new road, and presented this as a friendly amendment to a proposal to approve the project. She

[My own opinion of this is that sidewalks on both sides make sense in the developments, but on the connecting road, one sidewalk would probably be adequate.]

Mr. Nagi indicated that the problem with having two sidewalks is of available space and easements, rather than money.

Police Department Chief MacPherson and Fire Deparment Chief Ciccone made strong statements in favor of the project in the interest of public safety, as the City Point office park presently has only one entrance. This is a problem which goes back 35 years to the construction of the project.

The Traffic Commission voted unanimously in favor of a motion to approve the project, though I don’t have a copy of it, so I’m not sure of its precise wording. I also don’t know whether or when the plans will be available online, but we’ll pass along that information as soon as we can.  The meeting will be broadcast on Waltham Community Television’s Mac Channel — John Allen

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