A large document arrived on my doorstep last week: the Draft Environmental Impact Report for Phase II of the 1265 Main Street development. Several transportation-related features of the plan are of special interest to bicyclists and pedestrians: particularly:
- The connector road to the City Point development (off Totten Pond Road north of the project area) — see comments in a previous post;
- Several major street and bridge reconstructions;
- Connections of the Mass Central Rail Trail;
- Bicycle parking and shower facilities
- The effect of development on traffic on local streets.
My own opinions, as they stand at the moment:
- The provision of bicycle parking and showers is welcome.
- The connector road between 1265 and City Point is helpful, but as explained in the previous post, the connector road as proposed would take a relatively long route over a hill. A path connecting from Tower Road in the 1265 project to Third Avenue in the City Point development would offer a shorter route for bicyclists and pedestrians between many locations, and avoid the hill.
- More detail is needed about how the rail trail will approach and cross Route 117, Route 128 and the proposed Green Street connector.
- Direct access to Route 128 will relieve the congestion on Stow Street, but the question of bicycle and pedestrian connectivity by way of Stow Street remains unanswered. Access to the 1265 project and rail trail should be convenient, and should create a north-south through route along with the proposed connector road (and my suggestion for a path)..
- The proposed major bridge and street reconstructions are needed to handle the traffic which the project will generate, but the project will unavoidably increase congestion on Route 128. The widening of parts of Main Street including the bridge will make some bicycle trips more challenging. A proposed addition of bike lanes does not address the problem of turning and crossing traffic at intersections, and in particular where there are multiple turn lanes and on-and off-ramps. So, additional attention to transportation issues is needed, beyond the improvements proposed as mitigation in the project.
These comments are by John Allen.
The report was distributed on July 19, 2016. Comments are due by August 19. General information on submitting comments is online, as well as specific information on how to submit them for this project (select the Environmental Monitor issue of July 20, 2016).
Copies of the report may be requested in writing, by e-mail or phone to:
101 Walnut Street
P.O. Box 9151
Watertown, MA 02471
617 607 2731