Downtown Group Pushes Toward 25 Percent Design
At the June 21 Downtown Initiative Steering Committee meeting the members focused on what needs to be done to ensure the road changes through Hopkinton stay on schedule.
In just a few short months BETA Group is expecting to preset their 25 percent design to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.
Last night the Downtown Initiative Steering Committee, joined by its newest member Brian Herr, tackled some of the serious questions that have been holding the project back.
Most notably were the discussions around the two key intersections and the issue of downtown parking.
First up was the Cedar Street / Grove Street intersection. This intersection will be redone as part of the host community agreement between the town of Hopkinton and Legacy Farms. DISC had BETA draw up their view of the intersection so it can be compared with the Legacy Farms plan. The plan uses the entire right of way that the town has on either side of Grove Street at the intersection. This doesn't entirely solve the problems of the misaligned intersection, but it does allow for separate left and straight lanes to increase traffic flow.
"Part of what needs to be done at the Grove / Cedar intersection is the restructuring of the light timing," Joe Strazzulla, member of DISC, said. "There needs to be a safe left turn onto Main Street and the only way to do that is to stop one way at a time."
The second major issue was the Wood Street / West Main Street intersection. DISC discussed that as they move forward they need to plan for the land the town currently owns, the land within the right of way. Their 25 percent plan will not include a major redesign of the intersection because of the limitations with the 2 West Main Street property. They discussed a back-up plan that would be used if the town comes to own the parcel of land between the two streets which would allow for much easier travel through the intersection by large trucks.
"We don't own the property, so all that we can do is work within the right of way," Strazzulla said.
The final issue was parking. The plan that is being presented has 73 on-street parking spaces along Main Street. While this is a drop from the 100 that currently exist, the number of spaces was adjusted so that they will all be of a proper length and safely away from turning areas. According to a study from BETA, traffic through Hopkinton will increase 83 percent over the next ten years. The parking plan as proposed will be easily adjustable to increase the length of turning lanes by eliminating spots in the future if the town deems that necessary.
"The short term striping plan maximizes parking spaces for now," Town Engineer Dave Daltorio said. " When the town decides that the traffic is here they can go ahead and change the striping to lengthen the turning lanes."
Many contingencies are built in to the plan that allow changes as time progresses, an engineer from BETA said he didn't expect to see the project beginning until 2016 at the earliest.
Members of DISC said that they plan on continuing to reach out to community members especially business owners downtown.
"The business owners whose livelihoods are based in the downtown area need to be the biggest proponents of this," Joe Strazzulla said. "Right now they are all opponents of the changes."