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Tag: Saugus

Comments on Width of Northern Strand Community Trail

Comments on Width of Northern Strand Community Trail

February 6, 2019

To Kurt Gaertner
Land Policy and Planning Director
MA Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs

Mr. Gaertner,

Thank you for your continued efforts to develop the Northern Strand Community Trail from the Mystic River to Lynn. We are inspired by the leadership and dedication demonstrated by your team and Governor Baker, and we appreciate your extensive community outreach as the pathway is developed over this coming year.

We would like to comment on the inadequate width of the pathway, as it has been presented by the project team, as a contiguous 10’ width for the entire length. The standards set forth in AASHTO and MassDOT’s own separated path design guidelines recommend 10’ only on low-volume pathways, with a recommendation of 12’-14’ for paths with high pedestrian volumes. Based on current and projected usage of the pathway, we believe the Northern Strand Community Trail should adhere to the standard of 12’-14’, or even potentially exceed that, wherever possible. It is important also to note that these path standards do not take into account the emerging technologies of micro-mobility devices and electric bicycles, which will invariably be used for transportation purposes on the Northern Strand. This goal of widening the pathway is to mitigate conflicts between users, and to plan for the area’s expected growth and development that will bring more people out onto the path in the coming years. We believe that the pathway’s intention is to serve the community and provide safe recreation and transportation options, and thus we implore the EOEEA and the project team to widen the pathway.

The communities served by this pathway are dense residential and commercial areas. The communities of Everett, Malden, Revere, Saugus, and Lynn are cities and towns that are developing at an expected growth of more than 12% by 2040 (see: MAPC Population Growth Projections). By comparison, many other regional pathways are already strained in capacity due to their narrow designs, and we see issues of narrowness contributing to user conflicts on the Minuteman Bikeway, the Paul Dudley White Bike Path, and the Southwest Corridor. This pathway is also a crucial corridor for the East Coast Greenway, a contiguous route that connects 15 states with 3,000 miles of trails. We can assume the Northern Strand will receive heavy usage, and we must design and build accordingly to ourprojections.

(Population and Housing Demand Projections for Metro Boston:

http://www.mapc.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/MAPC-MetroBoston-Projections_ExecSumm-1_16_14.pdf)

Further, as you have heard at every public meeting, the worry about conflicts between bicyclists and pedestrians/joggers is a widely held concern. A wider pathway means a safer pathway, with more room for more people at varying speeds to maneuver and pass safely. We feel that a 10’ pathway is not sufficient to provide space for two-way walkers, joggers, strollers, and bicyclists to co-exist without conflict. Since safety is of paramount concern, especially as this pathway serves users young and old, we recommend widening the pathway to 12’-14’, or alternatively providing separate spaces for bicyclists and pedestrians/joggers where right-of-way allows.

We appreciate how the design and construction of the Northern Strand has a funding limitation set by the Commonwealth’s budget, and this may impact the width of the path by requiring less pavement as a cost issue. However, the cost of additional 2’-4’ of pavement at the onset of construction is considerably less than having to go back and widen the pathway after construction and landscaping has completed. Widening the pathway where possible on Day One only makes financial sense.

Lastly, we should expect the Northern Strand to be used as a commuter route, and thus will have users after dark during the months of October – March (since we live in the Northern Latitudes and the sun sets early in the evening). We ask the project team take into account lighting wherever feasible to provide safe passage for pathway users. Along this argument, we also acknowledge that lighting elements will eventually be installed along certain sections of the pathway, once enough people are using the pathway to provide a safe environment. Thus, we ask that the EOEEA and the project team install conduits for lighting during this initial construction of the pathway where lighting is expected to be installed in the future, to more easily facilitate and lower the cost of installing lighting later on.

We appreciate your consideration of these issues of wider pathway and lighting elements for the Northern Strand. We applaud your team and the leadership for supporting this impactful project, and we look forward to the benefits it will bring the region for better health and wellness, smart growth development, and sustainable transportation connecting these cities and towns.

Sincerely,

Galen Mook, Executive Director, MassBike

Wendy Landman, Executive Director, WalkBoston

Kristine Keeney, New England Coordinator, East Coast Greenway Alliance

Wicked Local – “Board drops speed limit to 25 mph on three main Saugus streets”

Wicked Local – “Board drops speed limit to 25 mph on three main Saugus streets”

Wicked Local: “Board drops speed limit to 25 mph on three main Saugus streets

Additionally, Panetta said the town has partnered with WalkBoston to conduct an assessment of the community’s roadways and crossings. WalkBoston put together a report that outlines recommendations based on its observations.

Posted January 10, 2019

Wicked Local – “Crabtree announces comprehensive town-wide speed limit analysis underway in Saugus”

Wicked Local – “Crabtree announces comprehensive town-wide speed limit analysis underway in Saugus”

Wicked Local: “Crabtree announces comprehensive town-wide speed limit analysis underway in Saugus

The Town of Saugus then partnered with WalkBoston, a non-profit membership organization dedicated to improving walking conditions in cities and towns across Massachusetts, to conduct an initial assessment of the community’s roadways and crossings. Residents’ concerns and comments were also shared with WalkBoston, and the organization recently completed a comprehensive report of their findings with recommended improvements for the town.

The Town of Saugus also recently received a shared grant of $1.5 million from the Baker-Polito Administration to fund trail designs for the Northern Strand Community Trail project in Saugus, Everett, Lynn, Malden and Revere. The town has requested that safer crossings, wayfinding, and landscape amenities be major components of the improvement project. The town distributed a copy of WalkBoston’s report to the architectural firm working with the town on the design for the Northern Strand Community Trail project, Brown, Richardson + Rowe, so that it will be taken into consideration for the project’s final design.

Posted January 8, 2019

Saugus Walk Assessment

Saugus Walk Assessment

On September 12, 2018, WalkBoston conducted a walk assessment in Saugus, with support from the Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS). The goal of the walk assessment was to recommend improvements to the local built environment that improve pedestrian safety. Participants included Saugus residents, WalkBoston staff, and representatives from the Town Manager’s office, Town Meeting, Fire Department, Police Department, Planning Department, and Public Works Department.

View the final walk assessment report here.

WalkBoston/EOPSS Pedestrian Safety Initiative

WalkBoston/EOPSS Pedestrian Safety Initiative

The WalkBoston/EOPSS Pedestrian Safety Planning Initiative builds municipal staff understanding and awareness of the components of a safe walking environment. The initiative addresses walking safety concerns in Massachusetts communities with high pedestrian crash rates, with the goal of reducing pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries in the Commonwealth. Communities selected for participation in the initiative include: Barnstable, Chelsea, Chicopee, Framingham, Leominster, Lowell, Peabody, Randolph, Saugus, Springfield, and Yarmouth.

Cities and towns participating in the Pedestrian Safety Planning Initiative have used the results to prioritize pedestrian improvements, negotiate infrastructure fixes into development approvals, and apply for funding sources, such as from the MassDOT’s Complete Streets Funding Program.

WalkBoston conducts a walk audit focused on high pedestrian crash locations.  A walk audit provides on-street, tangible learning opportunities for diverse groups of municipal staff, including police, as well as residents and other community-based groups. During the audit, we assess pedestrian infrastructure conditions and recommend built environment improvements that promote safety. Walk audits are also an effective means to build local constituencies for pedestrian safety efforts that include increased education and awareness opportunities for all road users, and greater attention to safety in local roadway design and maintenance efforts.

Participation in this EOPSS/WalkBoston Initiative has increased the awareness and readiness of municipal staff to adopt and implement complete streets policies and designs that will reduce fatal and injury crashes for all road users (including pedestrians, motorists and bicyclists) as called for under MassDOT’s Complete Streets Funding Program.