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Where Will Bedford's Next Sidewalk Be?

Members of Transportation Advisory Committee presented a plan for a potential sidewalk project on Concord Road to the Selectmen on Monday night.

 

Every week we set out to answer a question submitted by one of our readers as part of our You Ask...Patch Answers feature. 

As the North Road sidewalk project nears completion, this week we decided to look into where Bedford's next sidewalk could be installed. 

At the Selectmen meeting on Dec. 3, members of the Transportation Advisory Committee presented a plan for a potential future sidewalk project on Concord Road between Casesar Jones Way and Hardy Road.

TAC member Robert Dorer, said the committee chose that stretch of Concord Road for several reasons, including the possibility of connecting the new sidewalk to the existing sidewalk network in the area. 

Dorer said another consideration made by TAC was the heavy pedestrian traffic in that area of Concord Road. 

"We have observed and got a lot of input that a lot of people walk, run and bike in this area, and are precariously close to traffic," Dorer said. 

TAC members presented two plans for the Selectmen to consider, one which would see the sidewalk built on the Northwest side of the road, adjacent to Ten Acre Drive and Warren Ave., and the other that would see the sidewalk built on the Southeast side of the road, adjacent to Hartwell Road and Caesar Jones Way. 

Dorer said the major advantage to putting the sidewalk on the Ten Acre Drive side of Concord Road would be that it would serve six more residences than if it were built on the Southeast side of the road, meaning six more families could walk directly to the sidewalk without having to cross Concord Road. 

The drawbacks of putting the sidewalk on the Ten Acre Drive side of the road would be that several utility poles would have to be moved to accommodate the sidewalk, something Bedford could end up having to pay for, according to Department of Public Works Director Richard Warrington. 

"We've had slim success with NSTAR in moving poles," Warrington said. 

The main benefit of putting the sidewalk on the Southeast side of Concord Road would be that it would connect to the existing sidewalk, and would provide a connection for pedestrians to John Glenn Middle School and to the center of town. 

A primary drawback of putting the sidewalk on the Southeast side of Concord Road would be opposition from the owners of  New England Nurseries stemming from the danger that would face pedestrians using the sidewalk from the four vehicle entrances into the nursery at that part of the road. 

The owners of New England Nurseries attended the public meetings TAC held leading up to their Dec. 4 presentation to the Selectmen, and indicated they would consider legal action against the town if the sidewalk were to be built on the Southeast side of Concord Road. 

Selectman Margot Fleischman said the next step in consideration of the potential sidewalk project would be determining a cost for the construction. 

Selectmen Chair Catherine Cordes said she would be in favor of a sidewalk on Concord Road in the area of Caesar Jones Way and Hardy Road. 

"I think this is a great piece of sidewalk to put in," Cordes said. 

Selectman Mark Siegenthaler noted the benefit of connecting a new sidewalk to the exisiting sidewalk network on Concord Road.

"You can't ignore the fact we could connect this to exisiting sidewalks," Siegenthaler said. 

Would you be in favor of a new sidewalk on Concord Road between Caesar Jones Way and Hardy Road? If not, where do you think Bedford most needs a sidewalk?

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