Compiled by The Bedford Citizen
Bedford’s Pedestrian + Bicycle Master Plan Open House drew scores of residents – cyclists and pedestrians alike – to Town Hall’s multi-purpose room on November 12 to hear consultants from the Toole Design group, the nation’s leading planning, engineering and landscape architecture firm specializing in bicycle and pedestrian transportation, and to share ideas in a charrette-like atmosphere.
Be sure to scroll down to the end of this article to view Bedford TV’s recording of the Open House.
Adding notably to the evening’s ambiance, Bedford Farms, a prime walking and cycling destination, provided ice cream, to the participants’ delight.
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Master Plan seeks to
- increase the amount of walking and bicycling in Bedford;
- make walking and bicycling safe and comfortable for all ages and abilities; and
- take engineering, education, encouragement and enforcement into account.
Existing conditions will be analyzed, design guidelines and standards will be developed; final recommendations will include a plan for Bedford’s walking/biking network and identify an implementation strategy. A final proposal for six priority nodes around town is expected in spring, 2015.
Several maps were shared by Patrick Baxter, of Toole Design Group.
On line Wikimaps
By the time of the Open House, nearly 200 individuals had used the online Wikimap created by the Toole Design Group to solicit input about walking and biking hot spots around Bedford.
Almost 450 comments attached to the map included suggested much-needed changes where trails cross roads, and places where “spot improvements” are needed around several intersections in town.
Suggestions from the Open House participants
There was time for each table to consider suggestions. Some of the ideas that attendees brought forward:
- Emphasize support for a “Bedford Likes Bikes” campaign
- Implement traffic calming devices such as raised crosswalks
- Ensure that all new developments have sidewalks; and take space for sidewalks through eminent domain if necessary
- Enforce speed limits
- Employ a Pedestrian Advocate in the DPW
- Enlist Bedford TV to create and share educational videos
- Balance the needs of cyclists and commuters
Toole Design will sift through the suggestions and the Wikimap data to create a proposal that is expected to be available early in 2015.