Sudbury Town Center Project

Various notes on the Sudbury Town Center Project, mostly from a First Parish perspective. After the Board of Selectman's meeting of June 2010 and input from First Parish, Alternative 6 was created: TownCenter_ALT6_20100720.pdf

This page was originally exclusively for the two Spring 2010 alternatives. At the Board of Selectman's Meeting of June 2010 made it clear there was little support for either alternative. From the minutes:

Chairman Drobinski summarized tonight’s feedback as reinforcing that the character of the Town Center is a priority and that a minimalist approach is preferred. He also stated that the feedback indicates that the Offset Tee Intersection proposal should be dismissed. Chairman Drobinski thanked the citizens for their interest and suggestions, and he concluded the discussion.

Summary of Community Goals from SCIAC's Final Report March 08 page 17:
- Preserve and protect historic, cultural and natural resources in the center.
- Improve safety and accessibility for all those that use Sudbury Center.
- Improve traffic flow, but not traffic speed, through the center.
- Protect the existing scale and visual character of the center.
- Establish a clear sense of the town center as a civic location.

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Everything below here is out of date and for historical purposes only! And speaking of history, here is a Map from 1974 and a letter to FPS from Town answering some questions.

See Also: First Parish Boundary page.

The letter to the Town following the Special Congregational Meeting 2007.

The two plans are the "Four Legged" plan and the "Offset T" plan, altho they have had other monikers. As presented at the SCIAC meeting in March, both plans have the same “level of servic

This page contains various notes for members for the First Parish of Sudbury congregation. TCHandout2010.pdf e” (traffic flow) and have similar costs - for the pavement and curbing and traffic lights.

More notes:
The traffic light infrastructure and drainage must be fixed.
2X (3X?) more accidents than average for the volume. The Town must do something!!
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Four Legged on Satellite
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Pink is current ROW to be paved.
Yellow is FPS property to be paved
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Offset T on Satellite
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Pink is current ROW to be paved.
Yellow is FPS property to be paved
Green is reclaimed pavement
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Hybrid Option from 2006 - 8.5x11 PDF (1.6MB)
JPEG 604K Full Drawing 1MB
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Offset T with more crosswalks
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Pixels counts show paved areas
closer in area than they seem!

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Image from the model - not too helpful
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Modified to show wider pavement and stone wall
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Image from the model - useful
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Blue Dots
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image TownCenterSatellite1200.jpg
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Hybrid on Four Legged

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Pan From South Side of Intersection 2010.04.11

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Pan From South Side of Intersection modelled in VRML

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From First Parish Steps 2010.04.11

See Also: Pan From Steeple, as opposed to steps.

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See Also: 2006 Town Center Photos, New Traffic Counts

PDFs of plans:

Update 2010.05.07 (original Thu, 15 Apr 2010 04:52:09 +0000

Town Center Project - Discussion


Present: Director of Planning and Community Development Jody Kablack, Department of Public Works Director Bill Place and Traffic Solutions Representative Jim Fitzgerald.

Chairman Drobinski welcomed Director of Planning and Community Development Jody Kablack to update the Board regarding the Town Center intersection project. The Board was in previous receipt of the Sudbury Center Improvement Plan Final Report dated March 2008, prepared by The Cecil Group, two maps of a Four-Legged and Offset Tee Intersection plan alternatives prepared by Traffic Solutions dated March 22, 2010, and copies of the March 22, 2010 Meeting Minutes of the Sudbury Center Improvement Advisory Committee (SCIAC). Copies of a letter dated June 1, 2010, from Sudbury resident Kirsten VanDijk, was also distributed to the Board for review. Ms. Kablack noted that SCIAC has worked on this project for four years, and is comprised of ten members, some of whom were in attendance tonight. She explained that, in the preliminary phase, done in conjunction with landscape consultants, SCIAC gathered input from many sources regarding the pros and cons of Sudbury’s current center and what the goals for re- development should be. For the second phase, SCIAC requested $100,000 at the Annual 2007 Town Meeting to study the project further and prepare design plans. In 2009, Traffic Solutions was hired, and representative Jim Fitzgerald will present two possible plans tonight. Ms. Kablack noted that many design solutions were rejected from an engineering standpoint.

Ms. Kablack reviewed the five primary goals for the project: to preserve and protect the historic resources of the Center, to improve safety and accessibility, to improve traffic flow, to protect the existing scale and visual character of the Center and to establish a sense of the Center as a civic location.

Ms. Kablack highlighted that First Parish has been involved throughout the process, and it is recognized as a major stakeholder in the project. Information and ideas expressed by First Parish are available on its website, and it will hold a congregational meeting next week. Ms. Kablack noted that both the Sudbury Historic Districts Commission and First Parish have expressed dislike for both plans presented tonight and oppose the roadways being widened. Ms. Kablack summarized the issue for the Town is to decide whether it would like to improve the Town Center conditions or only repair the current infrastructure for now.

Department of Public Works Director Bill Place highlighted the current conditions, including poor alignment of roadways and antiquated mechanical lighting systems. He stated he would appreciate direction from the Board as to how repairs/upgrades should proceed.

Chairman Drobinski noted that improving the traffic light system has been estimated to cost $360,000.

Traffic Solutions representative Jim Fitzgerald presented exhibits and briefly described two plans ( Four- Legged Intersection and the Offset Tee Intersection) to improve the safety and operations of the Town Center and to maintain its character and attract pedestrians. He described the Offset Tee plan as more dramatic, creating two smaller intersections, allowing for more green space. Mr. Fitzgerald briefly described the number of lanes contained in each proposal and the current level-service rating of “F” regarding traffic operations. He also stated that 53 traffic accidents have been reported at this location from 2005 to 2007, which is double the State average.

Vice-Chairman O’Brien stated that SCIAC specifically stated opposition to overhead traffic lights similar to those at the intersection of Routes 20 and 126 in Wayland. It was noted that both plans presented tonight utilize traffic islands for post-mounted signals so that overhead mast arms are not necessary.

Ms. Kablack noted that both plans would provide increased pedestrian and crosswalk opportunities. Sudbury resident Kirsten VanDijk, 29 Barnet Road, opined that it appears as if some of the plans have three lanes of traffic converging into one lane within a short distance, which she does not believe is effective. Ms. VanDijk suggested that all the traffic lights be eliminated and a traffic circle instituted, with three crosswalk areas. She believes a traffic circle will allow for the creation of a Town green and a circular route, which highlights the historic buildings for residents, as is the case in Concord and Lexington. Mr. Fitzgerald stated that a traffic roundabout would likely necessitate a partial land transfer from First Parish. Chairman Drobinski clarified that the Town Common is owned by First Parish.

Henry Noer, Goodman’s Hill Road, opined that the beauty of the Town Center for him is in its current informality. He asked if this change, with the addition of curbing and/or other traffic signal design elements, will be in keeping with the existing character?

Gerald Janowitz, 262 Old Sudbury Road, stated he travels through this intersection twice each day. He moved to Sudbury in the 1990s and has always thought the appearance of the Town Center is unique and beautiful. He does not believe that the Offset Tee plan maintains the Center’s character. He emphasized that safety should be addressed, and he believes it can be accomplished with new traffic lights and crosswalks. Mr. Janowitz does not support increasing traffic flow or the institution of four traffic lanes, since these objectives could compromise the integrity of the Center. He also believes that the Town has a fiscal responsibility to determine and consider the costs of each proposed plan before a decision is made to pursue one or the other. Mr. Janowitz also suggested that the traffic lights be painted black to compliment the Town’s character. He also emphasized that traffic problems are only experienced during rush hour, which constitutes only 10% of the week. Mr. Janowitz also suggested that the current cut-through lane in front of Town Hall be blocked off from use.

Design Review Board member Dan Martin, 86 Brookdale Road, referenced a problematic area of Route 20 which has two traffic signals within very close proximity to each other. Thus, he questioned why the Offset Tee plan would consider creating another problematic two-intersection area. He too expressed interest in seeing a roundabout plan presented.

Sherrill Cline, 84 Concord Road, asked for additional information regarding operational levels of service. Mr. Fitzgerald explained that an “A “equates to no experienced delays, and an “F” equates to a gridlock situation. Mr. Fitzgerald explained that in both plans presented, level of service will only be increased marginally.

Jan Hardenbergh, 7 Tippling Rock Road, opined that many residents currently avoid this intersection, but with improvements made, the area may attract more traffic. Thus, Mr. Hardenbergh questions whether traffic wait/delay times will actually be reduced.

John McMahon, 19 Pelham Island Road, has prior work experience as a traffic engineer and as a Department of Public Works Director and he offered his assistance to the project. He highlighted that no one plan is right or wrong, or will please all constituencies. He encouraged the Board to set the direction for the project, i.e., to either maintain the historic character of the Center, or to improve the traffic flow at all costs, etc., to help the process move forward and guide the engineers and consultants. He believes a traffic circle should be considered and that now may be a good time to take advantage of outside funding and/or Federal Stimulus dollars.

Milton Jones, 29 Moran Circle, noted that often, the traffic congestion is hindered by poor coordination of the timing of the traffic signals. He suggested that the green signal remain green for a longer period of time to allow more traffic to flow through the intersection. Mr. Jones also recommended that costs of plan improvements be considered and that the character of the Town Center be maintained.

Maurice Fitzgerald, 108 Old Lancaster Road, asked if Route 27 is a State Road, thereby requiring State design involvement and approval. Mr. Place responded that Route 27 is not under the State’s jurisdiction. Ms. Kablack stated that this project has been created as a local project, which would not be designed according to State specifications.

Carole Wolfe, 637 Concord Road, asked if the operational level of service has been determined for a plan which fixes the road alignment. Jim Fitzgerald responded that it would still be an “F,” and that adding two more lanes would raise the rating to a “D.” He also stated that the rating would remain an “F,” if only the traffic signal lights were upgraded.

SCIAC member Deborah Kruskal reminded the Board of comments provided by First Parish in a 2007 letter, which she referenced. She also emphasized that First Parish does not support a plan which adds significantly more pavement. Ms. Kruskal highlighted that First Parish uses the Town Hall parking area, and would prefer to retain convenient access to it. She also expressed that she believes the Town Center is lost within the Offset Tee Intersection plan, which she perceives as providing a drive-through situation.

Reed Shilts, 293 Concord Road, asked what the relative costs of each plan are. Depending on the final engineering decisions, Mr. Fitzgerald provided $950,000 to $1,300,000 as an approximate range for the Four-Legged Intersection, and a range of $1,200,000 to $1,500,000 for the Offset Tee Intersection. Selectman Haarde stated he prefers the Four-Legged Intersection plan. He believes the final design should maintain the character of the Town Center. Selectman Haarde suggested that the cut-through lane in front of Town Hall be eliminated and replaced with more green space leading up to the steps of the building. He also thanked the public for the opinions expressed tonight.

Vice-Chairman O’Brien stated that, perhaps a traffic roundabout should be considered again. He also supports the idea of continuous green space in the Center for community use. He posed the question of how best to pay for this project and whether Chapter 90 funds are available and could be used in combination with eligible Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds. Mr. Place responded that he believes Chapter 90 funds could be available and used if the costs are under $560,000. A few ideas were broached to be completed for approximately $500,000, with approximately $300,000 or so to be spent on the failing traffic signal lights. Mr. Fitzgerald stated that if the choice is to only improve the safety of the intersection and realign the roads, the project could probably be completed for approximately $600,000.

Chairman Drobinski summarized tonight’s feedback as reinforcing that the character of the Town Center is a priority and that a minimalist approach is preferred. He also stated that the feedback indicates that the Offset Tee Intersection proposal should be dismissed. Chairman Drobinski thanked the citizens for their interest and suggestions, and he concluded the discussion.