Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chestnut Hill Square -- sidewalks along Boylston/Route 9

At tonight's Land Use working session, Deb Crossley asked a good series of questions. Why aren't the sidewalks along Route 9 wider? Why aren't there street trees and buffers? She wants the sidewalks to be attractive enough to encourage pedestrians.

New England Development's traffic engineer Jeff Dirks answer suggests that the developer's hands are bound. They are restricted by right-of-way, utilities, and ADA requirement of 5-foot sidewalks.

That's just not true. What's preventing wider sidewalks are the extra travel lanes and the position of the northern building. Dollars to donuts, the state would have allowed them to widen the sidewalk and add buffering on the northern side. And, the design of the southern sidewalk is completely up to NED. They are building travel lanes on their own property. They could just as easily make wide sidewalks in addition to or instead of travel lanes.

The city should demand top-level sidewalks.

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