Updated – Main Street project: Neighbors show what’s at “stake”

by Beth Melo on April 1, 2014

Post image for Updated – Main Street project: Neighbors show what’s at “stake”

Above: Stakes and ribbons mark proposed changes at the intersection of Route 85 and Main Street. (Ignore yellow tape on the Magnolia at the corner – it will be relocated within the yard.)

If you drove through the intersection of Route 85 and Main Street today, you may have wondered what the brightly colored stakes were for.

According to former Selectman David Parry, the stakes were put in through requests by St. Mark’s School and the Village Society. They are part of a neighborhood effort to physically demonstrate where land, trees and stone walls will be impacted by the Main Street reconstruction project.

The effort was made in preparation for Wednesday night’s meeting to review and ask questions about the town’s plans for the project. (Reminder, that meeting is 7:00 pm, April 2nd at the Senior Center.)

In some areas the stakes represent the edge of sidewalk, while in others, it marks the planned street edge.

Parry states that there will be no grass within the marked area. Unlike the current layout, there is no grass strip between the planned sidewalk and the road.

Note: Karen Galligan, Director of DPW clarified for me that how the sidewalks are laid out could be changed in the 75% phase of the construction plan. See her detailed explanation below.*

According to Parry, the stakes “accurate within a foot or two”. The lines mark:

  • Along Route 85 North (towards St. Mark’s School on the side of the field) – the edge of the road.
  • Route 85 South (towards Woodward School on that side of the road) – the edge of the sidewalk, next to either grass or a future stone wall.
  • Main Street East (towards the Fire Station along the side of the field)  – the edge of the sidewalk, next to the grass field.

Reconstruction plans also require taking down some mature trees. Some of the trees are damaged or have “health” problems, but not all. The Department of Public Works plans to plant new trees to replace some of these. But the loss of mature trees has been a noted concern of some residents.

Some trees that would be chopped along the intersection under current project plans have been wrapped in yellow caution tape.

I took a few snapshots today to share in case you can’t get by before tomorrow night’s meeting.

Update (4/1/14 4:20 pm) I posted before seeing a response from DPW to a question I posed about the sidewalks. Galligan explained:

The 25% plans are preliminary and the width of the travel lanes, shoulders, and sidewalks along with the centerline, intersections and creating an overall safer corridor are what the plan is about. The material for the sidewalk is to be determined in the next phase of design. There is still an opportunity, between the 25% and 75% design plans to discuss whether residents want the sidewalks adjacent to the roadway or off the road and what type of landscaping and “accents” they are looking for to beautify the corridor.

The right of way at St. Mark’s and at the Community House is maxed with the sidewalk being placed next to the roadway. Whether residents want to keep the sidewalk as proposed, have a large grass strip with trees, a small brick accent strip between the sidewalk and curb or anything in between, will be discussed during the next design phase. However, any changes at the intersection will require that the Town approach St. Mark’s and the Community House for larger permanent easements.

Updated (4/1/14 7:15 pm) Good news – Town Administrator Mark Purple tells me that the Magnolia tree won’t be taken down. The tree will be relocated on the Community Lawn property.

I removed the photo of the tree covered in yellow tape (which needs to be taken down) to avoid confusion.

1 RB April 1, 2014 at 8:45 PM

“According to Parry, the stakes “accurate within a foot or two””

Accurate within a foot or two??? That means a LOT when you are talking about pavement, or conversely, green space.

I understand Mr. Parry placed the stakes, which by his own admissions are “accurate within a foot or two”. Off by two feet for who’s benefit? Mr. Parry’s, who is against the proposed project? Does he mark and show an extra foot or two of pavement that shouldn’t be there?? That is like giving a kid the key to the candy shop!

Was the project staked by or with the assistance of an engineer this time using the appropriate measuring equipment? If not, perhaps funds should be expended to properly and accurately mark, yet again, the proper bounds of the proposed project!

Didn’t the Town lay out the project a few years ago with carious colored stakes when the project was APPROVED???

Look, and I am sure that somewhere in the annals of this blog it will bear this out, the entire project was vetted and discussed and approved four or so years ago after several meetings with adequate public input. Not everyone got their way, but the entire project was approved my a majority consensus with a LOT of input and concessions.

Unfortunately, his is not like youth sports of the 21st century where everyone, including winners and “not winners” get a trophy. Sometimes the minority has to suck it up to the majority!

2 Tim Martel April 2, 2014 at 8:46 AM

“Sometimes the minority has to suck it up to the majority!”

I wonder if this opinion will remain constant after Town Meeting has its say?

3 david parry April 1, 2014 at 9:26 PM

Yes the magnolia on the corner of main and 85 is to be moved. We all agree with that. it is wrapped in yellow tape because it will HAVE to be moved, because it now lies within the future roadway. We tried leaving it without tape, but that was more confusing, because the line of stakes runs beyond it by several feet, and that corner will be raised up and paved over. hence the tape on the tree.

it was decided to put the stakes where they are because this line will be the single most visible line in future, if this plan is built.

It is the line between asphalt on one side, and grass on the other.

There will be many lines and markers on the asphalt of the road and (where one is planned) a sidewalk, and the sidewalks are always shown placed tight up against the roadway asphalt. .The future lines and ,markers, etc., in the asphalt area will include — double white lines, single white lines, stop lines, left arrows, straight arrows, curb, etc,… and THEN GRASS…..so that is the line of stakes. It is the single major visual line.

Hope that is helpful. .

4 david Parry April 2, 2014 at 10:31 AM

The statement that the stakes are “Accurate to within a foot or two” was made for a special reason — So as not to mislead people. and be fair. Let me explain: .

Most stakes are accurate to within a few inches, as they were taped off. BUT in a few places there happen to be massive rock walls, and it is impossible to ram a wood stake through a solid rock, so where a rock is situated , as along the rock walls up and down Rte 85, the posts MUST be moved a foot, either one way or the other. In fairness, if we went a foot one way with the first stake, then we went one foot the other way with the next stake, and so on, where rocks were in the way. Therefore the discrepancy evens out, and it is fair as can be..

And furthermore Karen Galligan herself went to look, wrote to me, and said it appeared to be accurate.as can b, without hiring an expensive surveyor.

We took the trouble to do this work, with permission from the landowners, because the town did not, in an effort to make this clearer.

You, RB, whoever you are, seem to be disappointed with the results. However, I am sure readers know that one possible reason for your disappointment may be because the proposed road is going to look a lot larger. and you were hoping that simple fact might not be revealed.

In most cases residents have called me to say thank you,

“Now I can finally understand. That row of stakes is the line between the proposed black asphalt and the future edge of grass. Thank you for doing that. It certainly helps me visualize the State funded proposal. ”

You’re welcome.

5 SB Resident April 2, 2014 at 11:09 AM

I find it funny that St. Marks is part of the campaign against this when they have no stake in the game. (punny) As non-tax payers, what do they care if the state doesn’t pay, they don’t have to pay either way, maybe if the paid more in PILOT, their opinion would have more clout. I doubt anyone wants the turn lanes put in, but my math puts this project around $2000 per household, for my money, I’ll take the newly paved roads and live with the turn lanes and try to enjoy the freer flowing traffic that results.

6 just wondering April 2, 2014 at 2:01 PM

Does anyone recall why our former head of the highway dept. was so against the idea of taking state funds to do this project?

7 Doreen April 4, 2014 at 9:51 AM

I intended to go to the Main st. meeting but because of unforeseen circumstances I was able to attend. But, I have looked at the plans and talked with DPW superintendent.
Let me start with when I lived on Southville Rd, about 50 yards from the traffic light. It is an old home so it is right on top of the main road. When I first moved in the road was in bad shape, the intersection was antiquated and no sidewalks. I wouldn’t walk on the road if you paid me and trying to cross at the intersection was like putting your life on the line. At some point, we were told the road was going to be done over. My concerns…more speeding now that road was going to be resurfaced, more traffic, more noise and more pavement. To my surprise…there may have been more traffic but it went unnoticed because the flow of the traffic was managed well by the improved intersection. I, and my kids, were able to walk feeling safe because of the new sidewalks and improved intersection. More people were walking around the whole area. The Impanema building was eventually knocked down which made way for, a much nicer looking building (although a bit large for the area but better on the eyes). As for speeding I found it happens no matter what the conditions. We also had the train station project. Everyone, including myself were so concerned with commuters parking on our streets…..never happened!! All in all everything turned out to be great projects for our area.
I have since moved over to Main St. I have had the pleasure of almost being t-boned at the intersection near the Marlborough bank on many occasion (which I hope will be improved when main st. is done). Yes, folks it’s a 3 way stop sign and I don’t have a signal on my car that tells you I’m going straight!! I also get the pleasure of waiting and missing a left hand turn OR taking aggressive chances to make that turn at the lighted intersection. The intersection with the light has to be widened not only for traffic flow but most importantly so our fire trucks can safely and easily make the turns.
I don’t want to go through yet another study and spend more money on something else that may not happen. Or another plan where not everyone is happy…just like this plan.
Bottom line, I am not completely happy that there will be more pavement or loss of old trees but comprise has to happen. If people vote and pass for another study, there will most likely be trade offs in that one too.

I am in favor of moving forward with the current plan that was put together with public involvement and approved by the Selectmen.

8 just wondering April 4, 2014 at 12:11 PM

Nothing east of Park St appears to be part of the proposed plan.

I agree, the intersection at the bank is a disaster waiting to happen. The stop sign traveling east on 30 at East Main / Main is optional for too many.

Imagine that intersection with even more traffic after the project is completed and the 30/85 intersection is no longer a choke point that reduces the benefit of taking 30 instead of 9 or 90 for so many commuters to our west.

Make it more efficient and timely for commuters to avoid the problem which is rt 9 and the volume will only increase until it is no longer as much of an advantage vis-a-vis rt 9.

The problem on rt 9 at Fayville is so painfully obvious. Why not fix that and keep the commuters on rt 9 and have some hope of maintaining the character of the main street area? And maybe even address the worst part that is being ignored in the proposed plan that you note?

9 Frank Crowell April 4, 2014 at 12:49 PM

Doreen – Perfectly stated.

10 sl April 4, 2014 at 5:20 PM

Doreen, thank you for your comment. After watching the video I too think the project should move forward. As you say there is no project that will make everyone happy. I think that the area looks terrible now and that this project will improve how it looks, restore character with the granite curbs and likely increase property values when it is done. Also, thank you for stating something that I’ve pondered – the current situation must be a safety issue for the fire and police. When Rte 30 West backs up beyond the station exit, cars waiting at the light often block it. Getting cars through there more effectively will help that.

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