I would like to preface my thoughts by first saying I love farmers’ markets. I have supported them by buying breads and fish, both here in Westford and in bordering towns like Acton and Pepperell. By no means do I want the Westford Farmers’ Market to go away.
But one major bone of contention I and many other Westford residents have with the Westford Farmers’ Market is the horrendous traffic that is caused by the market being located in the town common / center of town, on a Tuesday during rush hours no less.
I commute to Boston every day, about a 45-55 minute drive each way. I knew the Westford Farmers’ Market was creating a problem when one day last summer on a good commute home (very little traffic) I made to Westford in 40 minutes.
I thought “Great! I'll be home a little early, a little extra time with my wife and new baby girl.”
So, I cross over Route 110 from Carlisle Rd to Boston Rd when smack! I was hit with red brake lights and the longest string of cars I can remember headed towards the center of Westford.
Then it hit me again. Smack! It's Tuesday night, about 5:45pm…the Farmer's Market traffic!
With virtually nowhere to turn around as I approach the 495 overpass, I head into the belly of the beast, aiming for Graniteville Road. It took me 28 minutes to get from 495 to top of Graniteville Road!
My great commute, my early arrival at home, my few extra minutes with the family… all washed away by the Westford Farmers’ Market.
Why does it need to be on Tuesdays, between when school gets out and the peak of the rush hours? Why not have the Westford Farmers’ Market on a weekend day? There is far more traffic between 2-7 p.m. on a Tuesday than there is on Saturday or Sunday. Plus on a weekend, my schedule is more flexible; I can handle a little traffic in the center then, but at the end of the day during the week? UGH!
Why not hold the Westford Farmers’ Market at the Abbot School or Roudenbush? Abbot houses the Town Wide Yard sale and many other events, it’s central, but still has plenty of parking.
Roudenbush is even closer to the center and has plenty of parking and accessibility.
Acton's Farmers’ Market is in West Acton and is a few streets behind the busier West Acton center area. Pepperell's Farmers’ Market is in their town field, which is nowhere near the center and both are still great and successful!
And those markets have no police details either. I doubt you would need a detail at the Abbot or Roudenbush, so moving the market would keep our servicemen protecting our town. Westford Academy or any one of the middle schools could be a great location too.
Add to all of this the Cornerstone project that is now underway. The current blasting and delays coupled with the soon to be road construction down at that end of Boston Road and there is a very real potential of very bad backed up traffic this year when the farmers’ market starts up (imagine traffic being backed up to the Parker Village Soccer fields on Route 225?).
I really think the organizers of the Westford Farmers’ Market and the town need to reconsider the location of the market. The traffic isn't always horrible, but it is always bad on those infamous Tuesday nights. 40 minutes Boston to Westford, 28 minutes 495 to Graniteville Road; convince me this isn't a major problem.
Thanks for reading and looking forward to the Westford Farmers’ Market to start up again in June! Just not in the town common!