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Special Town Meeting Approves Construction and Repairs to School Way

Town Meeting members approved a $348,260 plan for construction and paving to areas of School Way and Mudge Way.

 

In a vote with 105 Town Meeting members in favor and 40 opposed, Article 9 on the Special Town Meeting warrant, which appropriates $348,260 for construction and paving in the area of School Way and Mudge Way, was passed on Nov. 13. 

Selectwoman Margot Fleischman said the Selectmen recommended approval for the Article, based on concerns on the current state of the intersection at School Way and Mudge Way such as safety to pedestrians, parking issues, poor sight lines, a blind corner and an abundance of young families in the area. 

Construction in the municipal complex under Article 9 will be on the portion of Mudge Way from the northeast corner of the Town Hall complex to School Way, Elm Street to School Way and Maple Street to South Road.

Finance Committee and Capital Expenditure Committee both recommended disapproval on Article 9, with members of CEC citing the cost of Article 9 was being taken out of context at Special Town Meeting instead of waiting for Town Meeting in the spring when it could be considered in the context of the costs of other projects the town needs to tackle. 

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John Gibbons, a resident of Ledgewood Drive and a Minister at First Parish Unitarian Universalist, said he believes the area around School Way, Elm Street and Mudge Way needs a renovation to make the intersection more safe for pedestrians, especially those with young children. 

"Indeed a hazardous condition exists there at this time and is in dire need of improvement," Gibbons said.

Town Meeting member John O'Connor asked Fleischman if there were any statistics on accidents between vehicles and pedestrians in the area of Mudge Way and School Way, and what made that area more hazardous to pedestrians than other areas of town.

Fleischman said most of the evidence was anecdotal and was based more on near misses.

School Committee member Anne Bickford said she strongly recommended approval of Article 9 for student safety based on the number of new student drivers that use Mudge Way and School way when going to and leaving school, and that there is currently no stop sign at that intersection. 

Andrea Batista, a resident of Foster Road, said her children wait at the bus stop in the area, and that there have been several near misses due to the current use of Mudge Way and School Way to Elm Street as a cut through. 

"My children wait at that bus stop and there have been a number of close calls," Batista said. "It is used every morning as a cut through." 

Rich Doherty, a resident of Elm Street, said he frequently walks in the area of School Way and Elm Street with his young grand daughter, and is concerned with fixing the intersection before someone gets seriously hurt.

"This is a dangerous intersection. I walk across there with my 16-month-old grand daughter four times a day," Doherty said. "We got to fix this before someone gets hurt."

Joe Piantedosi November 15, 2012 at 11:57 PM
I was very disappointed to see this article on the Special Town Meeting Warrant which circumvented the whole Capital Expenditure Committee approval process. Special Town Meeting articles that require funding typically have been items of an urgent nature and or adjustments to the operating budgets that cannot wait until Annual Town Meeting (ATM). There is nothing urgent about this project and the safety hazards that were pointed out are very similar to many other town intersections. Short term measures like signage, roadway striping and more Police presence could have addressed these issues until a thorough analysis could have been done at ATM along with having a better sense of the state of the economy. Due to the late hour many people had already gone home and there was not a good representation of registered voters present as would have been the case at ATM. I also am deeply concerned about the present state of the economy and serious problems still unresolved by our law makers. This is not the time for the Town to be spending huge sums of money like this article and Article 4 (Turf Field Project) did. I am very disappointed with our Town Elected Officials especially when they totally ignore the two key committee's (Fin-Com and Cap. Exp.) that are chartered to provide oversight to this whole process.

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