Editorial: Main Street Corridor Project

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A recent letter writer noted that only a few parties in Hopkinton were having portions of their property taken for the Main Street Corridor Project. Well the writer may feel correct, but I suggest that having 3, 5, or 15’ of one’s ‘front yard’ disappear to pavement will effect one’s property value far more than the compensation being offered for the taking of ‘minor pieces’ of front yard; the major disappearing portion having been within the Town’s Right of Way.

The current proposed plan does, indeed, make much needed improvements for pedestrians. No question. However, as I’ve pointed out previously, to the very best of my knowledge, and neither MassDOT, VHB, or the Town have yet to show me otherwise, there is, as far as I know, no ‘raised, separated, two-way’ bike lane anywhere in the Commonwealth, or the US similar to what is proposed for Hopkinton. It’s been nearly two years since this proposal was announced at the DOT meeting in January 2018 with not one example forthcoming. I have recently acquired a Database of approx. 600 ‘protected’ bike lanes from the People for Bikes organization. One might think that out of these 600 bike lanes, that there would be one similar to the proposal for Hopkinton, if the general opinion was, contrary to mine, that such a design is safe.

Of the 600, 241 are two-way on one side of the street. There are issues with two-way bike lanes on one side, as I’ve mentioned before. Those issues are exacerbated by the grades and multitudinous curb cuts in across this proposed bike lane. A study of 143 bike/car crashes done in Finland showed that 65% of the car/bike accidents occurred when the bicycle approached from the driver’s right, as the driver crossed a two-way bike lane separated from the street.

If the bike lanes were contained within the confines of the current roadway, much of the current cost and property owner financial pain will be eliminated. And I believe that will satisfy the bike-lane requirement for the Federal and State grants. In any case, the serious recreational cyclist will avoid this proposed bike lane, recognizing it for the danger it poses, and avoid downtown Hopkinton as the roadway (as shown on a recent plan) will be narrowed to 40’ curb to curb, minus 16’ for parking both sides, leaving no room for the savvy rider between parked cars and the ‘door zone’ on one side, and traffic on the other.

Ed Harrow

**This article was written by a group or person in the Hopkinton Community and does not reflect the views of HCAM or any of their Board Members or Employees.**