Yellow line on Flagg: Resident reaction and DPW response (driver feedback signs coming this fall)

by beth on September 18, 2017

Post image for Yellow line on Flagg: Resident reaction and DPW response <em>(driver feedback signs coming this fall)</em>

Above: A new yellow line down the center of Flagg Road blindsided residents and prompted some angry comments on the blog. Public Works explains the surprise move and upcoming measures to improve safety on the road. (photo by Beth Melo)

On Friday morning, residents on Flagg Road were surprised to discover that a Yellow Line was painted down the middle of their while they were sleeping. It caused a stir in this week’s open thread comments.

I followed up with Public Works to get their response. Superintendent Karen Galligan was offsite, so asked me to use a response she had written earlier to a resident’s inquiry.

In that message, Galligan explained that stripe painting was one of multiple safety measures being implemented on the road. Flagg was added to the list of locations in the vendor contract and treated the same as any of those projects. Apologizing for resident being hit off guard, Galligan acknowledged:

since we were adding a line [to the] street, in hindsight, we could have sent a note to eliminate any confusion.

The Town has been under public pressure from residents to make the street safer. Much of residents’ concerns have been based on plans for 320 future residences to at Park Central to use the road as its only egress.* But in several public meetings, residents have complained that the road is already unsafe for pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers. And the Town had promised to take action on improving safety.

According to Galligan’s communication, no plan had been agreed upon in public meetings, but the Town couldn’t “continue to let a safety issue sit.” The next step is driver feedback signs to be installed this fall. And, as I have previously posted, Public Works intends to reconstruct the intersection between Flagg and Deerfoot roads. That work is planned for the spring. (Click here for more on that.)

Below is Galligan’s full communication:

Thank you for sending your e-mail to Selectman Kolenda asking for information, often residents get incorrect information because they don’t send their inquiries to the Town.

First, I apologize that the centerline stripe hit you off guard this morning. The single yellow centerline was added to the DPW’s annual long line striping contract this year as a traffic calming measure. Road striping is done during the overnight hours in order to lessen traffic and parking conflicts. Line striping is something that we contract every year and that we don’t notify people about. However, since we were adding a line on your street, in hindsight, we could have sent a note to eliminate any confusion.

As I said, the line was added as a traffic calming measure. In spring 2016 the Town contracted a Safety Study on Flagg Road because residents along the corridor stated at several public meetings that they felt Flagg Road was unsafe for pedestrians and vehicles. The Safety Study, found online [at this link], suggested several traffic calming measures in order to reduce speeds along Flagg Road. Speed humps, a sidewalk on Deerfoot Road, a centerline stripe on Flagg Road, driver feedback signs and the redesign of the Deerfoot and Flagg intersection were the primary recommendations from the study. The study was discussed at several public meetings.

The public meetings where the Safety Study was discussed did not lead to any definite plan of action on the recommendations, therefore, no action had been taken. However, the Town can’t continue to let a safety issue sit. The DPW determined that the road stripe and the driver feedback signs were low cost, high impact traffic calming measures and we have moved forward with both of those measures. The stripe was added last night and we have purchased driver feedback signs for installation this fall. Other issues at the Deerfoot Road and Flagg Road intersection, along with the value the redesign of the intersection brings to the speed control on Flagg Road, has led to the Selectmen approving the use of Chapter 90 money to redesign and reconstruct the intersection. We hope to start work on that intersection late next spring. Residents will be notified when that work is going to start. I believe Flagg Road residents will see speed and safety improvements because of these three measures and that the Town will have acted appropriately on the resident’s concerns and the Safety Study’s recommendations.

When the first comment about the line was posted to the blog, it was an inquiry, not complaint. I was in the area, so drove down the road to check it out. As I commented on Friday, I personally found that being forced to half the street even without oncoming vehicles made it feel more natural to drive slowly. (In at least one area, I even found myself below the speed limit.)

But subsequent commenters’ opinions were mostly negative (and none were clearly positive). Complaints included: drivers will go faster, it ruins the country road look, the line is closer to one side of the road in some areas, and it will cause greater danger to pedestrians and cyclists when drivers are pushed to the side of the road.

Yet, that was only a handful of commenters and most didn’t refer to personal experience driving the road. So, I’m unclear how many were simply reacting to the concept.

So, for those of you readers who live on/walk on/bike on the road:

How do you feel about the stripe? Are you upset about aesthetics? Are you happy that the Town is trying to make the street safer or do you agree with commenters who think it’s making the street more dangerous?

Have you noticed any change for good or bad in driver behavior or impact to pedestrians/cyclists?

Share your thoughts in the comments below.

*Park Central plans are for 180 condos and 140 townhouses. The Zoning Board of Appeals approved the development with all residential access to be via Flagg Road. The Board of Selectmen has lobbied the state to try to get access via Route 9 and is looking at egress options. The development is still going through appeals and the final site plan has not been approved by the Planning Board. (Click here for past coverage of that project.)

{ 70 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Gloria Linden September 18, 2017 at 12:20 PM

I live on Flagg Road and was surprised by the line on Friday morning. After living with it for a few days I can’t say I like it. On some portions of the northbound lane heading to main street, the lane is a bit too narrow and I find I can’t help but drive over the line. Meanwhile oncoming traffic in the sounthbound lane heading to Rt. 9, having plenty of space drives confidently on their side of the line. I think this can spell disaster, especially when snow piles start to accumulate on this road.

I think the yellow line really highlights what a tight squeeze Flagg Road really is, even in perfect weather conditions like we experienced this weekend. While the line is an inexpensive action, I don’t think it is a solution to the safety issue. I am eager to see the driver feedback signs installed, but I’m also interested in the town investing more in speed calming humps and in removing one or two of the large trees that create dangerous blindspots where cars are unable to see the pedestrian traffic around the bend.

As a resident of the road and frequent traveler by car, bike and foot I would like to do a walkthrough of the road with the town department to point out where the dangerous areas are. I think Galligan would also find value in finding a way to consult with the local school bus drivers for their opinion on the efficacy of the yellow line and how to proceed with safety and calming measures on this road.

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2 beth September 18, 2017 at 1:42 PM

I suggest that you send that feedback directly to the DPW. (Readers shouldn’t assume they read the blog!)

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3 Thaea September 18, 2017 at 4:03 PM

This solid line solves nothing. The road is simply too narrow to be handling cut through traffic and large amounts of volume. Children are biking, walking, and traveling in groups on a daily basis to and from school and social activities between neighborhoods. The lack of side walks, police presence, and trees that are blinding many corners provides an obvious safety risk that doesn’t seem important to this town.

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4 Arborist September 18, 2017 at 8:01 PM

I like the yellow line, All drivers have to do is SLOW DOWN, I think all the small roads with houses on them should have a yellow line down the middle, There too many drivers hogging the roads Plus it just might prevent a serious accident some day. Drivers drive way to fast on these narrow roads in southboro and the police can’t be on every street at the same time.

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5 CAW September 22, 2017 at 8:52 AM

I agree with this comment. All you have to do is slow down. This is the point of the yellow line, and that what people need to do on this street and many other streets in Southboro including Middle Road — people fly down this road to cut over from Rte. 85 to Rte. 9 — witnessed it myself on a walk the other day. When I first pulled out onto Flagg Road and saw the yellow line, I was surprised, but glad for safety reasons and also glad to see the “Hairpin Turn” sign for turning onto Clifford Street. There is a beautiful country road on the Southboro/Framingham town line called Edmands Road that leads out to Stearn’s Farm and Hanson’s Farm. This road is also has a yellow line and is narrow and has lots of turns. The line in the road does not take away the beautiful, rural feel passing through that area and am thankful for the yellow line to remind us all to drive slower.

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6 Rob September 18, 2017 at 11:01 PM

The fact that people are upset about a line is upsetting. It’s a road. Roads have lines. Roads aren’t owned by people unless they are private, hence the public nature of a road and the town should do what it feels is best to address public safety for the community within the budget they have to work with. If you are one of the few that are really upset about a yellow line in the road, I think you might want to take a minute to breath and assess. Their are much bigger issues we should all be worrying about in this town and in this world.

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7 North Sider September 20, 2017 at 12:49 PM

Yes, specifically Park Central and the traffic it would flood onto said road with yellow line. That is something much larger to be concerned about in town.

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8 Townie September 19, 2017 at 7:43 AM

What did residents expect was going to happen? They made a huge stink about safety on that road because of Park Central. The DPW actually takes bare basic safety measures and everyone freaks out. I think it was the least invasive safety measure the DPW could have taken, and ablaud Galligan for attempting to make it safer.

Speed bumps have been attempted on Parkerville, and they don’t slow people down one bit. We all know everyone ignores those blinks speed signs in this day and age. Just take a trip down Middle road and see how those pretty expensive signs work… There’s only one true fix to the safety of Deerfoot road, but NO ONE on that road wants to hear it. That’s widening the road.

The big picture here is, Southborough is no longer going to be a quiet rural town everyone wants it to be. Literally, every boardering town is growing at a super high rate, residential as well as commercially. There’s nothing we can do about this. Most of the traffic we see isn’t residents, rather people using Southborough as a cut through. You can blame modern day GPS for that. When traffic backs up on rt 9, 495, or the Pike, most GPS units will find an alternate faster route, which is right through our town.

It’s time people realize that it’s going happen. They only way I see traffic getting better on these roads is if every side road that has access to rt 9 was blocked. Deerfoot, Flagg, Middle, Parkerville, and so on. This would force traffic to bigger main roads such as 85 and 30. Making these smaller side roads truely side roads and not short cuts. But we all know, no one wants that either. Time to face the truth people.

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9 Matthew Brownell September 21, 2017 at 8:20 AM

“Townie”, the majority of Southborough’s residents prefer a community that keeps its rural charm, and serves as a welcoming oasis from a world turning compositely nuttier each day.

I unequivocally disagree with you about the “inevitability” of more congestion and greater volumes of traffic in Southborough’s future.

And please, let’s immediately discard your bizarre narrative that the future traffic impacting Southborough primarily originates from GPS technology.

You mysteriously speak of “facing the truth” , and compelling hundreds of residents who should be open to widening Flagg Rd.

You want the Truth, Townie? The Truth is , the planned Park Central development (estimated to generate 4,000 new car trips per day) was denied direct egress onto Rt 9 West by MASS DOT . . on the simple premise that the volume of egress traffic was too great, and too unsafe, to inject directly onto a fast, busy highway.

With the Park Central developer now backed into a corner with an ill-fitting, landlocked parcel, the Southborough ZBA granted a Comprehensive Permit to the Park Central developer, along with planned egress to Flagg Rd.

Am I the only one who is still puzzled by this reckless and imbecilic decision by the Southborough ZBA? If 4,000 car trips per day can’t be safely directed onto one of the busiest highways in the Northeast, why in the Wide World of Sports would one allow Park Central to use the narrow, blind-curve Flagg Rd??

There is simply no compelling argument or solid public interest that hundreds of Southborough residents should be forced into changing their neighborhoods, so that a developer and his bully , serial lawsuit attorney can re-purpose these country lanes as their personal thoroughfare.

Additionally, I would wager a fair amount of money that Townie, and some of the other anonymous posters on this blog string don’t live anywhere near the vacinity of the impacted roads, and that it’s no skin off their onion one way or the other.

The three (3) “traffic calming” measures that are referred to in this chain originate from a very deeply flawed “Peer Group” traffic study (also paid by the Park Central Developer . . . LOL).

More on this in the days ahead –

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10 em September 19, 2017 at 7:50 AM

I agree with you, Rob.

Also, all this complaining about the width of the road, the trees, and cars is really a bit much. These are all things that should be considered when buying a home, especially if you or your children or pets plan to use them. Anyone who bought a home in this neighborhood should have considered the walkability of the neighborhood. Imagine if someone purchased a house abutting the Mass Pike or 495 and then was outraged at the noise of traffic. Would demanding that the state eliminate the Road noise be reasonable? No.

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11 D. McGee September 19, 2017 at 10:08 AM

RIGHT!!! The hell with the safety of the kids walking to school! The people who bought houses there deserve it!

What a silly position.

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12 summit September 19, 2017 at 12:29 PM

The argument that you bought a home here simply does not hold water. The situation with regard to traffic has changed. Why should someone ignore a life safety issue. Should we wait for a tragedy and then do something? Will you explain to the Parents or family member that they should have thought about this before buying a home here. That is silly. That said, I am not sure that putting the line on the blind corner between the intersection of Flagg/Deerfoot and Strawberry Hill makes sense. You are forcing cars on a blind corner closer to the side of the road where the people are. Take out a few trees and put a sidewalk from that intersection (where the town built walking path from the schools) to red gate. What is the big deal? I bet most of the people on that stretch wouldn’t mind. The piece of land between the road and the stone wall is a poison ivy garden anyway.

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13 North Sider September 20, 2017 at 2:44 PM

People bought their homes knowing about Flagg road and how narrow it is. They did not buy homes so they could welcome Park Central’s flood of cars onto the road. The yellow line just proves how narrow it is. It’s not about the line, per se, it’s about how it draws more attention to how dangerous the road already is/was and how it cannot handle more traffic.

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14 em September 19, 2017 at 8:14 AM

Yes, Townie. Exactly. Thank you.

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15 Arborist September 19, 2017 at 8:37 AM

to townie, You hit the nail on the head, Right on, the bottom line here is people have to just slow down, what is the hurry?, leave enough time to get where you are going, an old-timer in town once told me That most of the back roads in N.E were build for horse and buggy, And to this day many of the back roads remain the same. roads that come to mind are pine hill,Parmenter, lovers lane, chestnut hill, middle, mt vickory Gilmore,breakneck hill, edgewood, woodburry, Oregon,highland, atwood, and bridge st.. just to name some

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16 Lisa September 19, 2017 at 8:52 AM

I feel all 3 measures, once in place, will certainly slow down traffic. Any road leading to a highway is going to be higher in traffic. This is something to consider BEFORE purchasing a home, not complaining about it after.

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17 ktp75 September 19, 2017 at 12:15 PM

I don’t agree with this statement. We are talking about life safety issues, should they not be addressed? Also some of the people in the surrounding area bought these homes 10+ years ago, before a Park Central development and before the population grew in our town and around us. The situation has changed.

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18 MarthaB September 19, 2017 at 9:12 AM

Living here on Richards Rd., I’ve seen the traffic and speed increase tremendously over the years. It’s a quick cut through between Parkerville and Cordaville. You’d think living near a school would slow folks down a bit, but it seems the opposite. What can be done? Not a bloody thing except station the police at a few strategic locations now and then. Sorry to rant on like this, but I’m tired of seeing this from not only detours off Rt.9, but kids being driven like bats out of hell from he Finn School.

End of rant.

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19 D. McGee September 19, 2017 at 10:06 AM

I’m just blown away that we found a way to screw up lining a road. A long stretch of Flagg road heading toward Route 9 is CLEARLY smaller than the other side. When the road is narrowed by snow, it will be impossible to stay within the line on that side.

Just to confirm, I measured, and one side of the road has materially more space. How do you mess this up?

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20 Townie September 19, 2017 at 12:55 PM

D. McGee, clearly it sounds like the road needs to be widened to be able to probably handle 2 lanes of traffic and add a new sidewalk to make sure pedestrians can safety walk down the street.

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21 D. McGee September 20, 2017 at 8:28 AM

Not my point at all. A line that actually goes down the MIDDLE of the road would allow for two lanes of traffic. They screwed up the painting and made one side of the road smaller than the other.

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22 Frank September 19, 2017 at 9:33 AM

I drove the road just to see what the big to do was about. I have to say the pedestrians on this road seem to be pretty cavalier about being in the road. Walking two abreast, reading the mail at the mailbox, gardening the front lawn while crouched down on the side of the road. These are things I wouldn’t see on the road I live on. The person reading the mail in the road didn’t even look up to see if was giving them enough room. Not sure if this pedestrian behavior is trying to drive home a point or not. Pedestrians have the right of way on the road but I didn’t see any self preservation behavior on this road.

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23 Chris September 19, 2017 at 11:05 AM

So lets put stripes on Sears, Pine hill,Parmenter, Lovers lane, Chestnut hill, Middle, Mt Vickory, Gilmore,Breakneck hill, Edgewood, Woodburry, Oregon,Highland, Atwood, and Bridge st. Then we can truly get rid of the country feel of the town. Lets see how many complaints come in then. It will clearly effect the price of my home. And it won’t work. If its not wide enough for two-way traffic then make it a one-way.

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24 Kevin Poultney September 19, 2017 at 12:19 PM

Have you driven through Sudbury where the real estate is actually more expensive? Take a look at the road. That is simply not true.

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25 Rob September 19, 2017 at 12:23 PM

Hey Chris, I am pretty sure a line on the road is not going affect the value of your home. Last time I checked an appraisal the comps used did not include a reduction or addition in value because the road had a line or not. They compare homes and their locations. Not roads and whether they have lines. Come on.

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26 Al Hamilton September 20, 2017 at 8:29 AM

Just so you know, we do have lines on Parmenter and on Pine Hill at the Parmenter intersection for about 2 years. In my opinion, the have had a modest benefit in traffic calming.

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27 D. McGee September 20, 2017 at 8:31 AM

This is a ridiculous assumption. In a month, no one will notice the line. Are you really counting on unlined roads to preserve the feel of the town? Drive through any other well-to-do town. Lined/unlined roads have nothing to do with the value of the properties.

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28 SD September 19, 2017 at 12:54 PM

True, we bought houses on Flagg knowing this was a busy road, true, we bought houses on Flagg understanding walk-ability might not be ideal for anyone, nor biking etc. But that does not mean we need normalize those that speed on that road. Calming measures should be encouraged and i’m happy to see the town is trying to do something about it. I’m 100% for speed humps (not bumps). Bumps are what Parkerville drivers barley notice. Humps are more effective especially at Lovers lane Flagg intersection.

“The hell with the safety of the kids that walk to school, they deserve it” is an ignorant thing to say. Beth, i have NO idea why that was even allowed on this forum.

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29 beth September 19, 2017 at 4:36 PM

The sentence you are quoting was clearly a sarcastic remark, in response to someone who said home owners should have taken the road into account before they bought it instead of complaining now. It was followed with “What a silly position.”

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30 D. McGee September 20, 2017 at 8:39 AM

Thanks for the proper interpretation of my sarcasm, Beth :). SD…I was responding to the callous suggestion that owners and their children somehow deserve to be put in harm’s way because they bought property along Flagg road, which is an odious and ridiculous statement.

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31 Arborist September 19, 2017 at 2:07 PM

Chris, I don’t understand how a yellow line will affect the price of your house? I have been researching this, and my findings come up with 3 things, keep your vehicle under control at all times, and if there is no room to fit, whatever being the reason STOP until it is safe to proceed, and drive Slow .

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32 Louise Barron September 19, 2017 at 9:27 PM

A suggestion to cut down trees now. Oh boy! Have a look at St. Marks field. Hundreds of trees were decimated for solar panels. This was a wildlife sanctuary for all kinds of creatures. And for the residents to walk and enjoy. As has been stated numerous times, we chose Southborough for its bucolic setting. Folks, speed on Flagg Rd. is NOT the source of the problem. . Numbers of cars and car trips is the issue.

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33 Resident September 20, 2017 at 8:59 AM

Not all of us chose Southborough for its bucolic setting. We choose it because it was a good commuting location and had good schools.

You can’t change the number of cars and car trips. Like it or not, this part of MA is becoming more developed. There are more businesses and more people, and therefore there will be more cars.

One thing we can change is the width of the road and the number of trees. I think the time has come for people to recognize that safety is an issue we need to address and its more important than trees. The arguments about the rural bucolic nature are getting tiresome. We can’t wait until someone is killed to do something.

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34 JOJAMA September 20, 2017 at 9:15 AM

I have stayed out of this debate long enough. Louise you are incorrect…speed is the source (although not the only). Most times sadly by Southborough residents and actual neighbors. I know this because I walk/drive on Flagg everyday! The lines are not enough, but give drivers a perspective on how narrow the road is and maybe they need to slow down to stay in their lane. I have found in my limited study that some cars have slowed down..but there are always inconsiderate IDIOTS who don’t care. As for residents/walkers walking in the road. Yes it is a strategy for oncoming cars to slow down.I of course only do it when only one car is approaching. If two cars are approaching I ditch it into the grass/poison ivy.
I moved to this neighborhood knowing there were no sidewalks. Stupid maybe? My children did ride their bikes/walk to school/run/learn to drive on these roads. They were taught the same strategies that I described. I grew up in a similar town with similar roads, I survived. But, I never encountered so many inconsiderate drivers. And sadly again our actual neighbors.
We NEED to SLOW DOWN and maybe have some speed traps that are actually not visible from 1/2 a mile away. People need to respect their fellow citizens and neighbors and slow down on your to Routes 30 or 9!

BTW full disclosure to those interested. I am a liberal.

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35 Ann September 29, 2017 at 12:26 PM

Louise, I think about the wildlife too. It’s heartbreaking. If they survive, they are forced into neighborhoods and roads. I saw a mother turkey and her baby walking along the road that was once recently all woods. It made me so sad. I wish there was more we could do.

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36 RTZ September 20, 2017 at 10:30 AM

I also hate to see a yellow line painted down the center of the road I grew up, but unfortunately the behavior of drivers has changed radically from 30 years ago. I would like to see the town take a comprehensive approach to traffic safety and calming measures around town. I’m all for more driver feedback signs and speed humps. A couple targeted traffic cameras perhaps in the school zones would not be amiss either. It could be a nice revenue source for the town. A glaring problem in my neighborhood are the giant landscaping trucks and trailers that are allowed to block traffic along the road spring through fall. The town should require these companies to park in the driveway of the property they are servicing. Frequently they park on hills, blind curves, and near the entrance to streets – forcing drivers to pull around and pray nobody is coming.

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37 CAW September 22, 2017 at 3:43 PM

RTZ… I completely agree with you about the landscaping trucks and trailers along these roads spring through fall! I have felt the same way trying to get around them when they park on a blind, curved, skinny road…praying as I pass through there is no other car coming the other way. Park in the person’s driveway that they are servicing….awesome idea! Police should warn or ticket these companies when they park like this and cause this kind of danger for their profit.

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38 SD September 20, 2017 at 11:07 AM

Beth, D McGee,

My apologies for for the confusion. Thanks for the clarification

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39 Louise Barron September 20, 2017 at 1:55 PM

Park Central = many hundreds of car trips down Flagg. That’s the numbers I’m speaking of. Speed will be a small problem in comparison. Folks think about that. You think you have problems now. Just you wait Henry Higgins.

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40 resident September 20, 2017 at 4:00 PM

It all started with a little yellow line. OMG!

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41 Louise Barron September 21, 2017 at 10:41 AM

“Resident” It’s not the yellow line per se. It’s attention to an already extremely narrow road, made more so with the painting of the yellow line, which will be used for thousands of car trips per day by Park Central, the greatest blunder of this town by Selectmen and ZBA who should pay for this mistake. Sadly the residents will pay in many ways.

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42 Thaea September 21, 2017 at 10:55 AM

Thank you Matthew Brownell! Your intelligent, mature response is much appreciated!

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43 Arborist September 21, 2017 at 8:04 PM

to Matthew: You are not alone, sure we care, but there is nothing we can do about it,, nobody cared when 2 very large condo projects were built on our town lines
The first one is off Northboro road, buildings are in( Marlboro)
The second one is just off southville road , Buildings are in( westboro)
southboro gets all the traffic to and from these very large condo projects, so don’t feel alone . As someone already said it is called urban sprawl

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44 Louise Barron September 22, 2017 at 10:44 AM

Arborist There is a lot we can do going forward. It’s at the ballot box. Vote for people who have the same values we have, and have a care for our taxes, and our town.

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45 Matthew Brownell September 22, 2017 at 11:26 AM

“Arborist” , in no way, shape, or form is Park Central related to “urban sprawl”.

It is, however, directly an outgrowth of “Conflict of Interest” by some of our current and former Town Officials, the marketing of a bogus “Peer” traffic study, and a clear denial and complete disregard for the manner in which the neighboring residential, low-volume historic roads to the planned Park Central project are **CURRENTLY USED** , (and have been used for decades!!).

Arborist,, forgive me, but I find your referral to the 2 condo projects above entirely unrelated to the matter of Park Central. . . in terms of suitability to the immediate neighborhood, scale, size, and impact to residents by the project’s ingress/egress. If allowed to move forward, Park Central will inundate the northwestern side of Southborough with 4,000+ vehicle trips per day, add approx 1,000 more residents (10%) to Southborough’s population, while severely jeopardizing the safety of both vehicular, and non-vehicular users.

Southville Rd./ Flanders Rd have always been a **MUCH** heavier trafficked, higher volume road than Flagg Rd. and the surrounding lanes (Lovers Lane, Deerfoot, Clifford) . Southville/ Flanders Rd. shares **NONE** of the characteristics of the roads surrounding Park Central – which are 100% residential, and barely fit to accommodate a god-damned ox-cart or landscape trailer.

The Northborough condo project you refer to above is **correctly** sited so that the condos are flanked by I-495 on the east, the Simarano Drive /I-495 exit /entrance ramps to the north, and commercially/industrially zoned areas to the west , and south ( Northborough Rd)., where the condo residents ingress/egress. The closest Southborough residence / driveway is a new construction home – about 1/3 mile east down Northborough Rd.

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46 em September 22, 2017 at 12:35 PM

Mr. Brownell and Mrs. Barron,

Both of you have called out increased cars as the source of the problem. You also have publicly opposed the Park Central housing development on many occasions.

Do you also support a moratorium on houses with three-car garages? They go up all the time in that part of town (north of Rt. 9) and my guess is that Chestnut Hill will be next.

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47 D. McGee September 22, 2017 at 3:17 PM

Once again, a very silly comment. If 100 of these 3-car garage houses are built in the next few years, the incremental traffic over 1 or 2 car garage homes would be a negligible fraction of the incremental traffic that Park Central would bring. Pure nonsense.

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48 em September 22, 2017 at 7:38 PM

D. McGee, you seem very upset by my comments. I understand that one may feel passionate about one’s neighborhood, but your dismissiveness is not helpful to getting other town residents to advocate for your neighborhood.

In any case, I was specifically asking two commenters who have repeatedly championed preserving the rural character of Southborough and blocking an apartment/townhouse complex if they would be willing to also block three-car garages in pursuit if maintaining the rural character of town.

Many on this thread are arguing that the traffic in town and the neighborhood have already increased dramatically in recent years. If that is the case, it is not Park Central’s fault. The development does not exist yet. There seems to be a conflation of recent-ish (last decade or two?) traffic increases in town and fears about future residents of a yet-to-be-built apartment complex. While I can follow the logic in fears of the latter, Park Central cannot be blamed for all the current traffic woes. And given how terribly dire the current a traffic situation is made to sound, I would assume any effort to limit traffic would be appreciated.

Then again, maybe not. Maybe, as suggested by the criticism of the DPW actually responding to complaints and painting a yellow line the traffic is a red herring. Maybe this is more about blocking an apartment/townhome complex in Southborough.

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49 Matthew Brownell September 22, 2017 at 10:14 PM

em –

No “red herring” here.

The roads and lanes in the vicinity of the planned Park Central project are already dangerous, and have been so for decades. Park Central will only make it exponentially worse.

My objection to, and opinion of the solid yellow line is that it’s a fairly dumb decision and action on the part of the Town, since it (again) disregards the current way in which Flagg Rd. is used, and encourages many drivers to hug the shoulders of a vary narrow Flagg Rd., squeezing vehicles directly into the path of pedestrians, bicyclists, and cars backing out of their driveways.

You’ll need to trust me on this . . . since it happens to me at least three times a week when I’m leaving for work in the morning, returning from work in the evening, or running general errands. Pedestrians in dark clothing, early morning or night joggers, dog-walkers . . . many of whom don’t wear one stitch of reflective or light-colored clothing.

The lanes and ” roads” around the planned Park Central project are 100% residential, thickly settled, exceedingly narrow, contain multiple blind curves and driveways, no streetlights, no sidewalks, and filled with **LOTS** of **people** engaged in recreational, non-motorized activities.

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50 em September 23, 2017 at 8:10 AM

Fair enough. I am completely following your objection to Park Central on these grounds.

What DO you support as other measures to improve the road, however?

51 Matthew Brownell September 22, 2017 at 6:55 PM

em –

Not really sure how your above comment is relevant to this blog chain.

Have you ever taken a random walk down Flagg Rd, Clifford, Deerfoot, Lover’s Lane, or Lynbrook? ( you know, the impacted roads on which you’re opining?)

Ever taken a car ride down these streets? I travel these streets multiple times each day, and have done so for 17 years.

“em”, have you taken a few hours to observe and study the MANNER in which these narrow, blind streets and lanes are CURRENTLY used?

Pedestrians, bicyclists, kids walking to/from school, high school students waiting in the dark for the 6:20 am bus, the elderly out for daily walks, families out for hikes, mothers pushing strollers? People with disabilities out for a daily rehab walk or jog; packs of runners and pelotons of bicyclists from area clubs. Empty nest couples out for an evening stroll. Dog-walkers impatiently peering into their mobile devices, with Fido and Buster in tow.

Then there are the crazy chicken-at-the- wheel exercises that drivers encounter on these lanes during heavy winters, where high, encroaching snow-banks often squeeze cars into 1-lane passage only.

Did I mention the landscape trucks/trailers, service vehicles, FEDEX/UPS/DHL delivery trucks routinely parked alongside these lanes, again, forcing vehicles into 1-lane passage? Or the homeowner/ landscape laborer with ear-protectors on, operating a leaf-blower, oblivious to an oncoming vehicle. Or high-school students and guests of local residents who have no place to park their car to attend parties or
events, and form a parked vehicle Conga-line a couple hundred yards long down the sides of these narrow lanes.

There is simply ***NO*** question that the roads and lanes surrounding the planned Park Central development are patently unsuitable for accepting additional traffic.

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52 em September 22, 2017 at 9:29 PM

Yes, yes, yes, got it. The imagery is staggering. Well done. We get it.

Let’s take your portrait of how dire this situation is at face value. If that truly is the case, 1. Do you support the yellow line as a way to get cars to slow down now? And 2. Do you support a moratorium on three-car garages in new developments?

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53 David Parry September 22, 2017 at 2:27 PM

The residents who bought houses along Flagg Rd had no reason to expect that several hundred condos would be built off it. They had every right to expect the road to be limited to the existing houses along it, and the existing zoning to protect them.

There was no vacant land off Flagg for new residential. There was only the industrial zoned land at Park Central, which had one road access, and that was off Rt 9.

Approval of a huge housing project accessing a new side rd onto Flagg rd was totally unexpected and unplanned — but it was approved. THAT is the problem, and it has not even occurred yet. IF it survives the court appeals, and is built, the impact of many additional cars using Flagg will force more changes to the road, changing its character forever. It is very unfortunate.

There is one significant benefit to the entire town created by Park Central, and that is it will take the town over the 10% threshold for affordable housing, after which no developer will be able to use State Law Ch 40B to overturn our local zoning. The unfair situation is that the burden has fallen entirely on that one neighorhood.

Many residents have bought houses in Southborough for its bucolic character, and its location. We CAN make more efforts to preserve this character throughout the town. Depending on the Court cases, it may be that Flagg Rd must change to accommodate greatly increased traffic from the condos, but it is NOT a forgone conclusion that OTHER roads in this town have to change so drastically. We do NOT have to become a typical congested suburb.

Some decisions have been made and are locked in. If you think Flagg is going to be bad, because it will have more cars, then just wait until Main St gets torn up in 6 months. After 2 years of construction you will witness the results of “traffic planning” simply to get “free” State money. The volumes of traffic will drastically increase. There was never any study done for a vision of what downtown Southborough should become. There was just a traffic plan designed specifically to grab state money, which of course required following State design rules. For our future, go look at State-funded Rt 20 in Northborough, with its 5 ft “shoulders”. And of course the reason the State is paying for it, is because the State WANTS this town to become a relief valve for Rt 9.

Main St will be first, and it is possible (depending on the law suits) that Flagg Rd will follow. But this does not mean that the future is pre-ordained for all roads to change. We can still draw the line if we set clear priorities.

In my opinion, our traffic planning must become VERY long range, and the top priority should be to get Rt 9 less congested, so that the traffic on Rt 9 does not seek alternate local routes. Of course this is a State Highway and it is a Sate planning problem, but changes to Rt 9 require local input and approvals. From Southborough’s perspective, Rt 9 used to be considered an asset. Now to many people is has become a huge problem. For instance, one of the worst intersections on Rt 9 between Worcester and Boston is at Fayville, causing 2 mile long queues. One solution might be to have Rt 9 pass under Central St/Oak Hill Rd, (the topography is ideal for a bridge over Rt 9). This might have several benefits:

(1) Relieve congestion on Rt 9, and allow traffic to pass more quickly through town, without temptation to seek alternate routes.

(2) Take pressure off Main St and downtown Southborough.

(3) Take pressure off Fayville Village.

Of course this would need careful study of all impacts, before it is considered.

I simply make the point that traffic planning must be very long range, because we cause our own problems by zoning and lack of vision, and we can have significant input to planning of State highways passing through our town …. and new roads take decades to plan.

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54 Jessica October 16, 2017 at 9:34 AM

Great points and ideas.

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55 Gloria Linden September 23, 2017 at 10:01 AM

The yellow line is there and this is just a fact. Cars are now being pushed to the edges of a narrow road with multiple blind spots and many pedestrians. While the road is now arguably safer for cars, pedestrians are worse off. For local residents this is an immediate reality. The most pressing question to answer now is, “How can we recover some safety for pedestrians now that the yellow line is here?”

It is not easy for me to think about change because I like Flagg as it has been over the years, but I would expect my neighbors to put safety first and if the yellow line did anything it highlighted just how unsafe the road is and that the problem is only growing. I would like to think we can all agree that we need to accommodate traffic safely, AND (not OR), residents should be able to check our mail, garden in our front yards, and safely take a walk down the street to our local school. Even without development this is the challenge we are facing.

We know the short term solutions. We’ve talked about a combination of speed, signs, humps, removing trees, and all options have their pros and cons and I’m looking forward to some more of these solutions being implemented soon.

Long term I’d love to see sidewalks and I’ve seen others on this blog suggest them as well. Would having sidewalks be controversial? If we imagine a world where we all agree sidewalks are desirable, given the physical constraints that exist now how can we move forward in a smart way? I think our choices are widening the road to enable sidewalks (which means taking down trees, easements, and changing the character of the road) or making the road a one way street (controlling traffic flow in the area, loss of access to 495 for local residents, and again change to character of the road.) I think we still have a chance to shape what happens on this road. I’m interesting to hear what others think of sidewalks on Flagg and the idea of widening or one way-ing the street to get them.

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56 n September 25, 2017 at 11:09 AM

One way sounds good. Preserve the character with sidewalks and some humps to slow people down.

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57 Jessica October 16, 2017 at 9:35 AM

I like these ideas, too.

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58 Louise Barron September 23, 2017 at 10:49 AM

3 car garages. What in the world are you talking about. This is my last post here on this subject. Park Central is going to happen, sadly. No thanks to the selectmen and ZBA. The traffic numbers will be staggering. This is a town where the citizen concerns are ignored. You all keep voting for pro developer politicians here. So, you reap what you sow. Unfortunately, we will all pay.

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59 Mike Robbins September 25, 2017 at 10:37 AM

Living on Deerfoot I can attest to both drivers cutting through to Rt. 9 and the parents racing to drop off and pick up kids for school events. The rate of speed is shocking as are distracted drivers. Park Central or no I believe Deerfoot and Flagg need numerous i.e. many speed humps. This is the only way drivers will slow down – would this be a pain for me every single day x2 -3 times a day? Yes but I would rather this then for someones child to be injured on their way to school. I do not understand the objection to a clearly needed safety measure and hopes the town puts these in.

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60 Gloria Linden September 25, 2017 at 4:54 PM

I initially thought speed bumps were the answer too, but the more that I think about it I think strategically placed stop signs might be more effective than bumps and wouldn’t reduce response times for emergency vehicles.

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61 Jessica October 16, 2017 at 9:37 AM

I’d be happy with speed humps EVERYWHERE in town if it would slow down my fellow drivers!

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62 SD September 25, 2017 at 3:50 PM

I live on Flagg and have attend plenty of meetings regarding calming measures. In reference to Park Central, I believe a decision was made that pretty much said should PC be built, Flagg road would be closed where John B. Drive meets Flagg so residents of PC would not have access to Flagg hence making Flagg road a dead end. I recal safety department was not thrilled about the idea citing they use Flagg as a quick means to town for emergency’s. Hopefully we can find middle ground that makes both sides happy but i’m 100% in favor of closing Flagg road. There have been great suggestions put out regarding mitigating the safety/access issue.

As much as my wife and I love easy access to Rte 9, i’m happy to see that go. I’m also aware that other side streets would feel the impact if we dead end Flagg, but thats a fraction of traffic compared to the thousands that would be coming down your street if we dont close flagg.

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63 Gloria Linden September 25, 2017 at 5:08 PM

I recall that there was a proposal last year to close Flagg Road if PC goes in, but it was put to a town vote and I didn’t think it passed.

I also live on Flagg and am alarmed by the idea of our road becoming a dead end. Dead end roads are usually poorly maintained, don’t have good snow removal, and have a close social dynamic that is very different than what we currently have. In my opinion this would dramatically change the character of the neighborhood and not for the better. I’m all for quiet streets, but if I wanted to live on a cul de sac there are plenty in town I could have moved to instead. I specifically chose living here because it wasn’t a dead end road and I value the privacy created as a result. I’ll give it more thought, but my impression is that dead ending the road would not just isolate this neighborhood and make the neighborhood feel like a cul de sac, but it would push the problems Flagg has onto Deerfoot and Clifford, solving nothing and simply passing the buck. I sure hope this solution is not a foregone conclusion!

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64 David September 25, 2017 at 9:59 PM

Forget the yellow line. IF DPW wants to do something useful, how about removing the giant dead tree at 46 Flagg Road that hangs way over the street. If that tree should come down (storm, wind, rot, etc.) and injure or kill a motorist, the town will have a lot more expensive and legal problems on its hands.

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65 Kaysee October 1, 2017 at 2:27 AM

Good luck with that. I asked to have the rotting dead oak in front of my house taken down after a large limb completely took out my very healthy maple tree (which is now a 10′ tall maple trunk) and partially ripped the cable & electrical wires off the house. It was difficult enough to get someone to come out and look at the damage to my property. DPW drove by my house and “didn’t see any damage”. When I asked if they actually pulled INTO my driveway to see my entire tree down in the yard and was told no, because they didn’t see anything. I demanded they send someone back out to look, someone else shows up and “oh wow, I guess there is an issue.” DPW sent tree removal company to remove the downed limb and my tree, but left us with 10′ trunk. The rotting oak is still there which is surprising because of how many times it has been hit by cars.

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66 Louise Barron September 29, 2017 at 1:13 PM

Regarding the yellow line on Flagg. Has anyone thought to call the Ma. Highway Dept. to see if painting the yellow line is even LEGAL.

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67 Chris October 12, 2017 at 11:46 AM

I would be curious whether anyone who walks on Flagg Rd has notice a reduction in the speed on the road since the line. Why didn’t the line extend down Deerfoot? Was this just to help the developer?

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68 Kaysee October 12, 2017 at 11:41 PM

@Chris
My son walks to Blackthorn Rd every morning at 6:20 for the Assabet bus, which then drives by our house. He’s lost count of how many times he’s almost been clipped by cars. The Algonquin bus travels by our house in both directions, usually at a pretty good speed when it’s heading to Rt 9 to pick up kids, then a little slower when it comes back the other with the kids on board. Neither direction is the Algonquin bus doing the speed limit of 25 MPH. I do not posses a radar gun, but you can hear the speed of the bus coming.

I have noticed the cars heading to Rt 9 tend to travel faster than the ones heading away from Rt 9 (to Deerfoot). The line doesn’t seem make a difference to the speed. (at least going by my house).

For some reason, I do recall there being a line years ago before the road was repaved though. It may have even been a double solid line. That’s one reason why I don’t understand why this is such a big deal. Really, the line doesn’t phase me at all. Those bright shiny new road signs that have been installed this week, might be quite the distraction. However, I am a bit curious as to why the line started/ended where it did on the Rt 9 end. It does not go all the way to the end of the road.

I grew up in Framingham. There are lines on the roads (even roads less busy than Flagg Rd), there are sidewalks, there are speed humps. Speed is speed, it’s going to happen.

As someone else already posted in this thread, you do have a voice, it’s your vote. Attend the meetings and let your vote be heard.

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69 JohnB October 17, 2017 at 8:27 AM

Give me a break!

Problem with a yellow line?

All roads should have a yellow line!

It’s a guide line. It’s helpful at night on windy roads.

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70 Kelly Roney October 18, 2017 at 6:07 PM

Yes!

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