Friday, September 11, 2009

Hopkinton Making Steps for All Pedestrians

As home of the Boston Marathon starting line, Hopkinton is famous for running, and we have a very active Hopkinton running club. Walkers too, abound in our quieter subdivisions as well as in our town center with sidewalks extending to nearby residential areas. Our many scenic routes make Hopkinton an ideal place for bicycling too; in fact, more bicycle trails consistently tops the list of most desired active recreation resources in Hopkinton's open space and recreation surveys.

So, what have we done in Hopkinton to further advance our community as a healthy place for walkers, runners, bicyclists, and others? Here are some current pedestrian related initiatives already complete or underway in Hopkinton, Massachusetts:
  • The Hopkinton Police Department recognizes the importance of pedestrian safety to the community, and received grant money to advance its public safety responsibility related to pedestrians and bicyclists
  • The Planning Department and Sustainable Green Committee have been pursuing free bicycle racks through a Metropolitan Area Planning Council program which has already proven beneficial to many other towns. The Hopkinton Public Library and Parks and Recreation have lined up for the first two in Hopkinton through this program.
  • On Sunday, September 13th, the Hopkinton Trails Club is celebrating the re-opening of the Central Trail, a former rail bed that runs through a beautiful wooded area from Hopkinton Lumber to the schools loop road and on to Chamberlain street. This is the same rail bed that neighboring Milford has converted to a bicycle trail.
  • A meandering path from the town center to the western edge of the Legacy Farms property is a key component of the host community agreement for that project.
  • The Department of Public Works is planning to replace deteriorated portions of sidewalk along Main Street, and in cooperation with public safety officials already has enhanced and restriped high risk cross walks in the downtown area with additional warning features.
  • Last week, the MetroWest Regional Transportation Authority announced expanded shuttle service from Hopkinton center to South Street, which could reduce the number of cars on the road, and promote walking to bus stops instead of driving to work for local commuters.
  • The Downtown Revitalization Committee has set a goal of initiating a master plan for the downtown this fiscal year, of which pedestrian safety and facilities would be a key component of fulfilling the vision of the downtown as a hub of business, civic and community activity.
  • The Town of Hopkinton is hosting a Walkable Community Workshop in October, aimed at increasing community awareness and promoting safe, accessible, and aesthetic walking environments for our community.
Certainly there is much more work to be done, to promote pedestrian and bicycle safety on our existing roads. Yet, these first steps are the most encouraging sign that, working together, we can do even more to make our town enjoyable and safe for all travelers -- whether driving, cycling, running, or walking.