Northfield submits Complete Streets plan to state

  • The sidewalks on the corner of Moody Street and Highland Avenue in Northfield, where a new crosswalk and sidewalk will be built. Contributed Photo

  • As part of the Complete Streets Prioritization Plan, a new 5-foot-wide asphalt sidewalk will be built on both sides of Moody Street in Northfield. Contributed Photo

Staff Writer
Published: 4/20/2020 12:37:04 PM

NORTHFIELD — The Franklin Regional Council of Governments (FRCOG) recently submitted a Complete Streets Prioritization Plan to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) which, if accepted, could help funding come to Northfield for roadway renovations and construction projects.

According to Senior Transportation Planner Elizabeth Giannini, FRCOG staff members started working with Northfield officials in September to compile the Complete Streets Prioritization Plan, which was completed last month and considers all forms of transportation, including biking and pedestrian traffic. Once approved, Northfield can apply for up to $400,000 in funding to implement the projects outlined in the plan.

Giannini said the deadline to apply for the upcoming round of funding was postponed until July 1. As a result, starting work to implement the plan is likely delayed, too.

“Realistically, I think that construction would be spring 2021 based on a July 2020 application deadline,” she said.

During its meeting on March 30, the Northfield Selectboard voted to rearrange the priority order for some of the 17 identified projects and submit the application. The Selectboard voted to move one project — installing flashing pedestrian crossing warning signs on Main Street at the intersections with Maple Street and Moody Street — to be a high priority.

“We have to consider where the pedestrian safety is going to be,” Selectboard Chair Alex Meisner said during a recent Selectboard meeting. “There’s more of a chance of pedestrian accidents happening in a busier area.”

Town Administrator Andrea Llamas said she reviewed the list to see how much the town could cover with roughly $400,000. Five of the top six projects on the list would total approximately $390,000 and, Llamas said, tie in to one another.

Some of these projects include improvements to sidewalks along Highland Avenue, pedestrian improvements on Winchester Road, and installing street lights on Moody Street and Winchester Road.

For example, the improvements on Moody Street involve reconstructing the 5-foot-wide asphalt sidewalk on both sides of the road, extending the sidewalk on the south side of Main Street and constructing Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant curb ramps at Highland Avenue and across Moody Street.

Another one of the top projects, focused on the Moody Street and Highland Avenue intersection, would create a T-intersection to provide a shorter crossing distance with more room for pedestrians and a simpler configuration for motorists. The plan is to relocate the stop sign at the intersection to be more visible, and install a crosswalk across at the intersection.

Other smaller projects, including the addition of Franklin County Bikeway signs on Warwick Road, Route 142 and West Road, could bring the final application to an estimated total of $398,000.

The rest of the Northfield Complete Streets Prioritization Plan can be viewed online at bit.ly/2Vry9vj.

Zack DeLuca can be reached at zdeluca@recorder.com or 413-930-4579.

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