Town to study possible transportation improvements
The town of Wareham has received $37,900 in state grant money, which it will use to study ways that it can spend money from other grants.
The town received the grant last month, courtesy of the MassDOT Complete Streets Plan. The Complete Streets Plan awards grant money to towns across the state, which then use the money to identify and address transportation needs in their communities.
Once the town of Wareham identifies its own needs, it can spend $500,000 in previously-awarded state grant money to pay for necessary changes.
Wareham officials are working with the Kimley-Horn engineering consulting firm to develop a “prioritization plan” for transportation infrastructure improvements.
“We will be looking to gather information on a town-wide basis,” said Kimley-Horn senior project manager Bill Scully. “Let’s say you live on a particular street, and you have concerns that traffic is going up and down way too fast. Someone could actually pinpoint it and describe it as a pedestrian safety program.”
In the next few months, the town will research safety data and drive on major roads to assess sidewalk quality, accessibility for people with disabilities, sign visibility, walkability and bicycle access.
“At the end of the day,” Scully said, “we may have a long laundry list of potential projects. It could be anything.”
The Complete Streets Plan requires the town to make a list of at least 15 transportation infrastructure projects that it plans to begin in the next five years. Scully thinks that the town will have anywhere between 30 and 50 projects.
A “working group” consisting of the Police Department, Fire Department, Municipal Maintenance, School Committee, Planning Board and other officials will “fine-tune” the list.
Director of Planning and Community Development Ken Buckland, who applied for the grant with Scully last September, said that “there are a couple of intersections that could use a look-see.”
He specifically pointed out the intersection of Kendrick Road and Cranberry Highway.
“There are not defined lanes,” he said, “there’s a sidewalk that runs up to it that doesn’t have a crossing on it, there’s some boulders on public land beside it that are reducing the size of the intersection. There’s a problem with the turning radius for trucks entering the industrial park.”
Buckland said that research paid for by the Complete Streets Plan could give the town a way to solve these problems. He wants the prioritization plan to be done by April, so the town can get to work improving the roads.
The town, in collaboration with Kimley-Horn, plans to develop an online tool for residents to share how they think the money should be used.