With our Main Street reconstruction getting underway for the third year, I can’t resist opining on a topic I know so little about.
I do know the new Fruit Street bridge is planned at 32 feet wide, curb to curb, features a 5-foot-wide paved walk on one side and, according to the MassDOT [Massachusetts Department of Transportation] Fruit Street traffic study, carried approximately 4,000 vehicles/day in 2021.
The plans for Hayden Rowe Street, incorporating a 10-foot-wide shared multi-use trail (SMUT) on one side, depict a road width, curb to curb, of 26 feet. Interestingly, I have not been able to learn of a traffic count for Hayden Rowe Street. One might think, with another new school being planned there, and the most recently built school being expanded, that there would be a MassDOT traffic study for Hayden Rowe Street.
I have inquired as to the availability of traffic counts for Main Street and Fruit Street, and none, but for Fruit Street, have been forthcoming. I have found traffic studies for West Main Street (~13.000 vehicles/day), for the attendant ramps to Interstate 495, and for Wood Street (~6,000 vehicles/day).
I note on the town’s drawing for the proposed Upper Charles Trail Committee SMUT on Hayden Rowe Street that there is reference to the 2012 AASHTO [American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials] Guide for Bicycle Facilities, which states, “For … grades less than 2 percent, a design speed of 18 mph is generally sufficient, except on inclines.” Main Street features grades of 6 percent. I have been unable to learn of AASHTO or other standards design speeds for grades greater than 2 percent.
My read of the MassDOT Separated Bike Lane Planning & Design Guide (Page 59, Exhibit 4D) is that when driveways cross bike lanes, the driveway should rise to meet the bike lane. I see on Main Street that the proposed bike lane drops to the driveway grade. [So] in Hopkinton we have the opposite of what is stated in the Planning & Design Guide.
Lastly, I wonder why a SMUT is planned for Hayden Rowe Street but not for Main Street. A 10-foot-wide SMUT could at least possibly provide a degree of separation between descending bikers and eastbound Main Street traffic. Make no mistake, I do not suggest this as the “fix” for a fatally flawed design.
— Edwin E Harrow, Hopkinton
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