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Tag: footpaths

Wollaston Walk Assessment

Wollaston Walk Assessment

WalkBoston led a walk assessment at the WollastonT station in Quincy, MA to evaluate pedestrian safety at the station and along the major road corridors and intersections leading to the T station. The assessment fulfilled several mutually beneficial goals by bringing together federal agencies, state agencies, municipal departments, and advocacy groups around the central issue of implementing built environment solutions to improve pedestrian safety.

Read the full report here:
WalkBoston-WollastonWalkAssessment-Quincy

Clipper City Rail Trail Comment Letter

Clipper City Rail Trail Comment Letter

WalkBoston has reviewed the Environmental Notification Form for the Clipper City Rail Trail Phase II, which calls for a new multi-purpose trail on a 1.5 mile section of former rail property – the old City Branch line – in the eastern part of the city. Phase II will also extend along a significant portion of the Merrimack River waterfront in the city center. This new trail adds to the existing 1.1 mile rail trail (Phase I) which links the MBTA commuter rail station and Merrimack River not far from the center of the city. A later Phase III will join these two segments in the vicinity of the existing commuter rail station south of the city, but not along the Merrimack River.

Read the full letter here:
WalkBoston-CommentENF-ClipperCityRailTrail-Newbury

Nahant Beach Rehabilitation Comment Letter

Nahant Beach Rehabilitation Comment Letter

July 15, 2008

Secretary Ian Bowles
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114

RE: Expanded Environmental Notification Form (EENF) Rehabilitation of Nahant Beach Reservation, City of Lynn/Town of Nahant
MEPA # 14268

Dear Mr. Bowles:

We have reviewed the EENF for the Rehabilitation of Nahant Beach Reservation. As the Commonwealth’s leading advocate for pedestrians and safe walking, we have a responsibility to note projects that affect large groups of pedestrians within the state.

We commend the Department of Conservation and Recreation for their sensitive consideration of the needs of pedestrians who use the beach facilities. The work that has been done will lead to positive improvements in both rehabilitation of the facilities and upgrading to accommodate modern needs and concerns.

The retention and upgrade of the dune-top path that runs the full length of the Reservation will assure access for relatively long-distance walkers while providing a pleasant view and walk experience. New sidewalks within the parking lots and parallel to the Parkway will certainly make the lots safer for pedestrians, making for a pleasant experience for walkers who are being discouraged from taking informal paths across the dunes.

The plan has only one drawback: a fragment of a walk along the Lynn Harbor side of the Reservation is intriguing because it would offer a novel experience for walkers along a distinctly different side of the beach. Financing may prevent current upgrading of the walkway, but, over the long-term, we hope the addition of the harborwalk along the full length of the Reservation will become possible. Perhaps the steps involved in improving the Lynn Harbor side of the Reservation might be designed to accommodate (or not preclude) upgrade of the walkway along the harbor.

Thank you for this opportunity to comment on the Nahant Beach Reservation project. Please feel free to contact us if further questions arise.

Sincerely,

Wendy Landman
Executive Director

Taunton High School, Parker Middle School, New Pole Elementary Additions and Renovations Comment Letter

Taunton High School, Parker Middle School, New Pole Elementary Additions and Renovations Comment Letter

September 28, 2007

Secretary Ian A. Bowles
Executive Office of Environmental Affairs
Attn: MEPA Office
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114

RE: Comments on Taunton High School and Parker Middle School Additions and Renovations/New Pole Elementary School Environmental Notification Form

EOEA # 14099

Dear Mr. Bowles:

We have reviewed the ENF for the proposed project at the site of the existing Taunton High School. The 105-acre site includes the existing High School and Parker Middle School Building. The proposal calls for renovation and additions to the existing buildings and the addition of the new Pole Elementary School. When completed, the High School/Middle School building will have 3200 students and 660 staff and the Pole Elementary School will have 770 students and 87 staff. We are pleased that the city is making investments in this relatively centrally located facility that can be accessed on foot by many students.

We received detailed site plans from the proponent, showing facilities for walking – sidewalks, paths and plazas at the entrance to major facilities. We were impressed that new pedestrian access to the renovated High School/Middle School is a major portion of the renovation plan. In particular there are plazas at the main entrances and sidewalks extending out to the frontage on Williams Street and on Hon. Gordon M. Owen Riverway. Sidewalks surround the new “green” and line the loop road in front of the building. Access from parking lots into the main entrances connect to these walkways.

We do not know from the ENF if pedestrian access off-site is included and hope that the city will make an effort to address off-site issues. The site is about a mile from the center of the city. Its central location suggests that it is accessible by walking for many students. Sidewalks along Williams Street and Owen Riverway already exist and some are being rebuilt as part of this project. Encouraging walkers may require special attention to crosswalks and pedestrian countdown crossing signals, for example, at the intersection of Williams Street and Owen Riverway.

On the site, we suggest that the plans be reviewed to assure that crosswalks are available in all principal pedestrian activity areas. The plans are a bit unclear about pedestrian access to tennis courts, playing fields and the stadium. While we hope that students will be discouraged from driving if they are within walking distance of the school, we also hope that the site improvements will ensure the safety of people who do drive. We note that the major parking area near the school entrance has sidewalks along each edge, and suggest that marked walkways across the parking areas be considered as an added safety feature for students. The principal parking area near the main entrance to the High School has only indirect pedestrian facilities. As a result, many walkers will cross diagonally on the lawn, a situation that could be remedied by installation of a diagonal walkway. We also suggest that sidewalks be provided between the High School/Middle School and other buildings on the site, such as the skating rink.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this ENF.

Sincerely,

Robert Sloane
Senior Planner

Comments on Cambridge Discovery Park EOEA #13312 Final Environmental Impact Report

Comments on Cambridge Discovery Park EOEA #13312 Final Environmental Impact Report

November 7, 2005

Secretary Steve Pritchard
Executive Office of Environmental Affairs Attn: MEPA Office
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900 Boston, MA 02114

RE: Cambridge Discovery Park, EOEA #13312 Final Environmental Impact Report

Dear Secretary Pritchard,

We were pleased to review the Final Environmental Impact Report for the Cambridge Discovery Park. It is gratifying when a project proponent makes considerable effort to comply with EOEA’s certificate.

EOEA’s DEIR certificate called for identification of pedestrian sidewalks, footpaths and bicycle facilities for the proposed development. As shown in the plans provided in the FEIR, the proponent indicates that they will construct all of their off-site pedestrian improvements as part of Phase I of the project, thus making these facilities available to help set non-auto commuting patterns.

The Proponent has agreed to take on significant responsibilities for constructing pedestrian pathways in and near the site. Especially noteworthy is the commitment by the proponent to construct and maintain a path through DCR’s Alewife Reservation on land lying between the proponent’s project and Alewife Station. This path will be wide, well-lighted for pedestrian safety, and maintained in all weather by the proponent.

The proponent has also agreed to take responsibility for improvements to the intersection of the EB Route 2 off-ramp and the entrances to the MBTA’s Alewife Garage. This intersection is of critical importance to pedestrians because several pedestrian pathways – both existing and proposed – will intersect: the Minuteman Bicycle and Pedestrian Path, the new pedestrian path from the proponent’s site through DCR’s Reservation, and the proposed Fitchburg cut-off pathway from Belmont. All three of these routes currently lead pedestrians through an unsignalized intersection that has heavy peak-hour traffic adjacent to the MBTA station. The improvements to be provided by the proponent are a major step in making the intersection safe for pedestrian access to the MBTA Alewife Station.

We remain concerned about maintenance of the sidewalks from the proponent’s site to the Alewife MBTA Station via the Route 2 off-ramp. Although sidewalks exist and may be improved by the proponent, WalkBoston is concerned that this pedestrian route may not be adequately maintained because of the overlapping responsibilities of governmental organizations and the proponent’s position that future developments by abutting landowners should bear incremental or additional costs for maintenance of this walkway. The lack of existing development on abutting land should not relieve the proponent of responsibility for maintaining the sidewalk until such time that another developer is on the scene and an agreement for sharing responsibility is reached.

The DEIR Certificate called for the creation of a pedestrian access master plan that takes a longer-range look at the area and develops a future pedestrian path network. The FEIR does not include this long- range plan. We request that it be added, and that it include three elements that would improve pedestrian access this site:

  1. The proponent has agreed to make a contribution of $400,000 toward the design and construction of a footbridge (which would be constructed by others) over the Little River to the south bank multi- use paths. Since a plan for this footbridge is being actively pursued, it would be useful to know how paths from the proponent’s property would access it, even if the information must be tentative or diagrammatic. Possible locations for the bridge or paths are not shown on the maps.
  2. The existing footbridge over Route 2 is not included or discussed in the planning for the site, even though it is noted on FEIR maps. All of the FEIR pedestrian facility maps (Exhibits 5-8, 5-9, 5-10, and 5-11) show the existing footbridge over Route 2. In addition, one of the maps (Exhibit 5-13) shows a bus stop on the north side of Route 2 that will require connection via the footbridge to the site. We wonder whether there are other pedestrian connections to the footbridge that should also be shown on a long-term plan for the area, such as through Thorndike Field in Arlington; or paths connecting the footbridge over Route 2 with the Minute Man Bike/Pedestrian Path. If such paths exist or are planned, it would be useful to show them on a long-term plan for the area to indicate options for people walking to the site from the Arlington side of Route 2. Again, the connections could be tentative or diagrammatic. The benefit of an Arlington footpath to the bridge would be to provide a shorter route to get to the proponent’s site and avoid a route that requires walking to the Alewife MBTA Station and backtracking to get to the site.
  3. A pedestrian connection to the site from the west through Belmont via Frontage Road and Acorn Park Drive has been briefly mentioned as a longer-term goal. This should also be a part of the master plan for pedestrian facilities in the area. As part of this investigation, consideration might also be given to a sidewalk parallel to the south side of Route 2.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this project.

Sincerely,

Wendy Landman
Executive Director