Friday, April 3, 2009

Traffic, people, business, community: Priorities and Trade-offs

Many competing needs complicate the discussion involved in planning ahead for future increased traffic through the main intersection in Hopkinton, MA, where Route 85 crosses Route 135. Some of the competing needs that will define the future of our downtown:
  • Ensuring the downtown remains a profitable place for the small businesses that line Main Street may mean preserving on-street parking.
  • Moving automobile traffic efficiently through the intersection may mean expanding the roadway, or removing on-street parking.
  • Protecting the safety of our neighbors who walk to the shops or library, and who would patronize the library or Main Street businesses and whose presence defines our downtown as a community center may require slowing traffic and enhancing or expanding (not reducing) existing sidewalks and crosswalks.
  • Off-setting expected increased automobile traffic and encouraging a healthy community by making roads safe for alternate modes of transportation may mean expanding the roadway to allow bicycle lanes.
  • Ensuring the viability of downtown businesses may require encouraging traffic flow that does not discourage those driving by from stopping to shop.

Our town traffic consultant (FST, Inc.), the Planning Board, local businesses, and other members of the community are looking at all of these competing needs and trying to determine and ensure the proper balance.

Our town traffic consultant put it best during a recent public hearing: it all depends on what we want as a community. Your input helps.

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