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Saxonville Intersection Improvement Update

Saxonville would get new and improved pedestrian crossings, traffic signals and sidewalks as well as 15 new on-street parking spots on Concord Street under a proposed Saxonville Intersection Improvements plan.

The Framingham Department of Public Works hosted a Zoom meeting Thursday night to outline project plans. If you missed it, you can view the presentation (story continues below video):

The plan includes:

  • 8-foot-wide on-street parking on the southbound side of Concord Street past the Elm/Central/Concord Street intersection in front of Saxonville Mills;
  • ADA-compliant sidewalks with brick borders, featuring decorative lighting (and traffic signals) similar to those at McGrath Square;
  • A third pedestrian crossing at Water and Central streets (on the side of the street across from the Sudbury River) as well as new pedestrian crossings on Concord Street at Fuller Street and Danforth Street;
  • New rapid-flashing-light pedestrian crossing signs on Concord Street at Watson Place and Fuller Street;
  • Some “imprinted” crosswalks with a look of painted bricks (see below);
  • New traffic flow that would stop northbound vehicles at Danforth Street instead of Central Street, in part to make the left turns onto Danforth less dangerous;
  • Danforth Street will return to one way from Concord Street;
  • Traffic light coordination along Central, Concord, and Elm streets;
  • Traffic would be stopped in all directions when pedestrians request crossing assistance from traffic lights;
  • The driveway near the Saxonville Mills Cafe will be served by Elm Street intersection traffic lights under new traffic-flow plans.

Source: Framingham Public Works Dept. Nov. 12, 2020 presentation

In addition, “speed feedback” signs displaying passing vehicle’s currents speeds are planned for the area as an interim improvement even before this project would get underway.

I found a lot to like about this plan, such as improving pedestrian safety and aesthetics, as well as addressing the incredibly dangerous traffic flow on Concord Street when cars turning left on Danforth can’t see other cars traveling north on Concord Street because left-turn lane traffic is stopped and backed up.

My lone disappointment is the lack of real accommodations for bicycles. There will be no protected or even separate bicycle lane, but merely what they called “sharrows”: arrows painted on vehicle lanes that are supposed to show cars they need to share the lane with bikes.

Source: Screenshot from Framingham Public Works Dept. Nov. 12, 2020 Zoom presentation

Such lane-sharing has been shown to work well when vehicle speeds are down to 5 or 10 mph. But at the current speed limits of 25 to 30 mph – especially with a lot of drive-through commuter traffic as opposed to just neighborhood traffic – few casual hobbyist cyclists will feel safe in such circumstances. It’s a pity, because this will remain a significant barrier for residents north of the Saxonville business district to access the Cochituate Rail Trail safely.

The small city parking lot across from the mill off Concord and Danforth streets will be repaved and landscaped a bit (there will be no change in number of spaces), but there was no mention of adding any bicycle parking there either. Hopefully that can be changed!

The $4.2 million project is at the 35% design phase. If funded, construction would be expected to start in 2022. It covers Concord Street from the Sudbury River to the Elm Street traffic light and also a bit of Central Street:

Source: Framingham Public Works Dept. Nov. 12, 2020 presentation

For more information, you can ask to sign up for the DPW’s project e-mail list by contacting DPWProjects@FraminghamMA.gov. The PowerPoint presentation is online as a PDF at https://www.framinghamma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/40422/Final-PowerPoint-Saxonville.

See latest Saxonville coverage at http://www.district2framingham.com/tags/saxonville/.

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