Letter to the Editor: MassDOT standards and bicycle safety

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    I came to the Hopkinton Board of Selectmen’s meeting of Oct. 30 to discuss my concerns regarding the ability of MassDOT to safely integrate bicycles into our roadways and, more particularly, to their bike lane design designated for downtown Hopkinton. I did not, as was reported by a local website, come to the meeting to simply discuss the hazards of parallel-bar storm-drain grates per se, which are not an issue in Hopkinton.

    At the meeting I provided ten photographed examples of 10 different bicycle swallowing storm-drain grates, and provided copies of the MassDOT Construction Standards Drawing E201.11.0, dated Oct. 2017. (This standard states the “proper” installation of parallel-bar storm-drain grates.) The purpose of my presentation was supporting my position that the bike lanes planned for the middle of Hopkinton, by MassDOT, are not bicycle safe. If MassDOT were truly bicycle aware, they would not, as late as 2017, be specifying that installations of these grates be such that the openings are parallel to the direction of travel.

    I understand the purpose of the design is to facilitate water flowing into a storm drain. The design is only suitable for limited access highways, not for use on other roadways where bicycles are commonly ridden.

    I also need to point out that such hazardous installations are exceedingly rare in Hopkinton.  I recollect only one, and it was replaced in less than 24 hours after I reported it. Kudos on both points to our DPW.

    Edwin E Harrow, Hopkinton

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