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What's The Most Dangerous Part of Westford For Pedestrians?

Members of the Pedestrian Safety Committee presented their map to the Selectmen on Tuesday night, today we want your take on their map.

 

It's not easy to get from one side of Westford to the other on foot. But one group came before the Board of Selectmen on Tuesday night noting some of the places in town where pedestrians face safety concerns as well.

The Selectmen unanimously approved assessments in a map from the Pedestrian Safety Committee, a group they appointed to address improving pedestrian safety in town.

While Selectman Val Wormell asked the committee to take a further look at Forge Village and the Graniteville area near the ballfields, she and her fellow Selectmen in attendance thanked members of the committee and generally seemed to agree on their assessment that the most dangerous places in town for folks on foot are near the Robinson and Nabnasset Schools, in front of Kimball Farm, from Cornerstone Square to Lan Drive, and from Nashoba Tech to Tadmuck Road.

Areas of concern also included

  • Oak Hill Road
  • Boston Road from Blake Hill Road to Crown Road
  • Carlisle Road from Minot's Corner to Lyberty Way
  • Littleton Road from Lan Drive to Powers Road
  • Depot Street and the Part of Plain Road near Stony Brook Acres
  • Main Street from Graniteville Road to Flagg Road/Forge Village Road (the Flagg/Forge Village/Main intersection will undergo changes this summer)
  • West Prescott Street from the VFW Fields to Spinner's
  • Groton Road in front of the Stony Brook School. 

Today we want to ask you if you agree with the Pedestrian Safety Committee's assessments, and whether you do or you don't, what needs to be done to make Westford a safer place for non-motorists getting from Point A to Point B.

Also, if more sidewalks are the answer, what was your take on the agenda item just after the map where the Selectmen supported a sidewalk proposal on Robinson Road that aimed to create a compromise between putting a sidewalk as close to the street as possible, which could cause problems for snow removal, and meandering away from the street in areas that could reduce property values for residents and necessitate eminent domain.

We've attached the map as well as the proposals for Robinson Road.

Tell us your thoughts in the comments section.

Tim Martin May 29, 2013 at 02:34 PM
I've nearly been run over *in the crosswalk* attempting to cross Rt 40 at the Oak Hill Rd. intersection. It's also dangerous to walk between Technology Dr. and Cornerstone Sq. as there's no sidewalk or walking room on the north side of Rt. 110 between McDonalds and D'Angelos. Thank you Pedestrian Safety Committee!
Peter May 29, 2013 at 03:19 PM
Not going to get many applicants to the Pedestrian Safety Committee as the link to the on-line Citizen’s Activity Application gives a 404 Not Found.
Stephen Marple May 29, 2013 at 03:36 PM
Open google maps, enter Westford, MA in the search pane and view the default map. Everything that is highlighted in yellow needs sidewalks. The town grew out of a rural farm community into a suburban bedroom community, but failed to plan for pedestrian access. There has already been one fatal hit and run on Cold Spring Rd. Roads like Depot, Graniteville, Rte 40, Boston Rd, Main, Plain all need sidewalks.
jw May 29, 2013 at 04:53 PM
Town could use a sidewalk on north side of CARLISLE RD. in between Walsh Field and Freeman Rail Trail (at corner of Acton Rd.).
Stephen Marple May 29, 2013 at 05:05 PM
I totally agree! To squirrel around the existing law by charging those within 2 miles of a school for busing fees without adequate access is shortsighted.
Nola Burkhard May 29, 2013 at 05:20 PM
I would LOVE to see something done about the intersection at Plain and Depot. With EBC now "the place to be" it has become real dicy. I know the train poses some problems too---but something to keep the folks zooming down Depot heading towards town would sure be welcomed but those of us who use Plain Road. The number of times no one EVEN LOOKS my way grows with every passing week. Also, I can't belive the towns/higway dept. let Kimball get away with just cross walks--I sure wish they had mandated an OVERHEAD walkway for that spot!!! Maybe a flashing light or something at Providence and Main would be nice--that's become a very busy intersection and the cars on Main zip by way too fast. Just my two cents.
Wayne Bruce May 29, 2013 at 09:15 PM
Has anyone actually tried to figure out how much sidewalks would cost on even those major roads? Anyone? Bueller?
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) May 29, 2013 at 11:40 PM
On the first attached plan on Robinson Road it was stated last night that it would be around $300,000. The problem is it would probably vary at different places in town.
Jill L May 29, 2013 at 11:45 PM
Nutting Road from Depot to Groton Road is also very dangerous. With the new Nutting Rd fields and a cut through to Stony Brook Middle School off of Nutting, there are frequently kids walking on Nutting. I've almost been hit by cars on this road about a dozen times in the past few years. I am very worried that someone will be hit walking to the fields to/from Stony Brook.
Dawn Brooks May 30, 2013 at 12:45 AM
I agree to some extent- especially on major roadways- not in neighborhoods. We have a terrible time at the Nab school- there are sidewalks coming into the school from only one direction. If you live in the other direction, you have to walk on narrow shoulders with the school traffic and it is very dangerous for the younger kids.
Wayne Bruce May 30, 2013 at 01:34 AM
Just using that as a ballpark, that .2 mile stretch of sidewalk would come out to be $1.5 million per mile. There are about 175 miles of town roads, but let's say maybe only a third are major thoroughfares (Depot Road, Main St., Robinson, Flagg, Cold Spring, Graniteville, etc...) that would warrant the additional safety of sidewalks. That's still upwards of $60-70 million, even factoring in some job pricing savings if it was all bid out at once....
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) May 30, 2013 at 02:27 AM
Wayne and everybody, Do me a favor and take that number with a gigantic grain of salt. I believe that's what I heard, but there are probably factors in there beyond what I know right now, and from how it sounded, that number sounded really approximate. Next time I see Paul Staratt, I'll see if I can get some more details on what goes into a sidewalk in terms of cost for a Patch Answers.
D Brunelle May 30, 2013 at 11:48 AM
Thank you Pedestrian Safety Committee. School areas, crossing and walking up to any school entrance is a problem. Very few commuters abide by the 20mph speed limit. At school beginning and end times I can wait up to 10 min for someone to finally decide to stop and let us cross the street. While they fly by at 40+ mph. Officers should make their rounds and make their presence known at these times it may help a bit if sidewalks and cross walks are not an option. Hopefully you can at make some had way and at least get the crosswalks addressed in all key areas!
Chris Daley May 31, 2013 at 12:04 AM
Hildreth St. is not a freeway. It is a residential neighborhood where we breathe, cycle, walk and drive too fast. Please respect my space like you would like me to respect yours! It CAN BE nice if you try? And if you can't the police will be out 'cause we're next for the orange signs and PAVING dont ya know. I understand it's not Wyoming, but maybe I could take a walk without being brushed by a black Audi. I'll be watching you.
Amber May 31, 2013 at 12:46 AM
Probably crossing at EBC, given drivers coming down Depot are too stupid to understand what the YIELD sign means and regularly blow right through, occasionally trying to kill those of us coming down Plain toward the RR tracks. God love anyone who actually tries to cross the road there.
Amber May 31, 2013 at 12:48 AM
Yep, just came inches from being sideswiped by some old guy who never even slowed down at the Yield sign. Agree agree agree. More officers need to sit at the EBC entrance and bag people for rolling through there!
Amber May 31, 2013 at 12:52 AM
Oh, and just never, ever, EVER, try to walk or cycle from North Main onto Bridge St. or vice versa. It's barely wide enough for two cars to pass each other under the RR bridge, if you were walking or riding there you'd be killed for sure. Drivers barely look to turn, let alone slow down and think about walkers/riders.
Dee12 May 31, 2013 at 06:20 AM
Wouldn't it be nice to be able to walk from the center of town down to 110. No one could do it. The area on Boston Road coming from the Center is very dangerous. The Abbott School on Depot has only a partial sidewalk and then the kids have to walk in the street.
Wayne Bruce May 31, 2013 at 12:47 PM
Dee, I've done this several times but... It's ridiculously dangerous.
Wayne Bruce May 31, 2013 at 12:48 PM
I do this nearly every weekend. It's only busy during the usual morning rush...
Andrew Sylvia (Editor) May 31, 2013 at 06:31 PM
For more information on the Pedestrian Safety Committee and all the Committees, you can go to https://data.westfordma.gov/bc/
Martin Luther June 02, 2013 at 04:05 AM
After the sidewalks are constructed who will be responsible to clear the sidewalks of snow during the winter?
Peter June 02, 2013 at 11:31 AM
Guess it'll be the same people that clear the entrances to the crosswalks.
Patrick Henry June 02, 2013 at 06:09 PM
Amber! Was the old geezer driving a red and black Z-28? If your answer is Yes, he was delivering a message to bike riders.
Peter June 02, 2013 at 07:19 PM
Flashing light would have no effect, just like the yield sign issue. As very little is done to control the ridiculous speeds that people do on the roads in town perhaps the time has come for some passive traffic calming. A few speed humps are cheap and would have an amazing effect, might even get rid of some of the NH traffic that use the rat run across Westford to cut of the Rt 3/495 intersection.
TK June 07, 2013 at 12:55 AM
Dear runner, that I just passed (8:30pm) on narrow blind curve of Depot street between Timberlee Ln and Nutting Rd! I do understand your desire to get your late evening exercise, but it’s already dark, and I barely can see you! And why do you decide in such late hour to take your big off-road stroller, put a small kid in it, and push this stroller on the dark sloped overgrown non-exiting edge of the Depot Street! Please, if you want to take your kid with you, consider different time and different route!
Amber June 07, 2013 at 02:06 AM
Patrick: I was driving my four-door, not riding my bike. And it was some old geezer in a sedan, not the flashy mid-life crisis special. ;) :p
Amber June 07, 2013 at 02:10 AM
Wayne, I was just on a ride the other day and saw a tan Suburban buzz me at a much-higher-than-speed-limit clip. I was stunned to see one of Westford's Finest sitting on Bridge St pull out after he passed, NOT to follow and pull the guy over but driving in the opposite direction! I was stunned. That guy must know somebody, because I hear tan Suburbans are speed demons in town yet magically avoid being pulled over. I need a better cloaking device for my car, clearly. Wonder where this guy got his??
Peter June 07, 2013 at 11:37 AM
Some people just have a death wish. Like the couple of people I met northbound on the TOTALLY blind corner of Chamberlain road just before Garret drive, walking 2 abreast even. Luckily for them I normally take that very gingerly due to numerous huge suv's that come flying around the corner on the wrong side of the road. Sharing the road is all very well but pedestrians also should consider some of their actions.
Steven Sadowski June 28, 2013 at 08:28 AM
We don't need a pedestrian safety committee. At most we need pedestrian safety PSA's to instruct people on how to walk in the street if you absolutely have to walk in the street. I don't know how many times I see people jogging with their children in strollers on a winding road. Talk about putting the fate of youself and your child into the hands of a driver you've never met, hoping they aren't texting! Sidewalks, like roads will cost money, and upkeep, and all kinds of variances and possible eminent domain issues. Lighting? Trees? Benches? When does it end? Oh yeah, when we officially become Brookline, I guess. School busing is a state issue. The state gives the town $ for busing outside only of a certain distance (I think 1.5 mi), so if there is an issue with school transportation, and walking to school, the funding needs to be addressed on Beacon Hill. But if you keep sending statists to Beacon Hill, you are going to get top-down, one-size fits all big govt. solutions. Elections have consequences.

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