By Ginni Spencer
At its December 12 meeting, the Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) and Police Chief Robert Bongiorno discussed a wide range of traffic-related issues in Bedford.
Chief Bongiorno acknowledged that traffic control and enforcement are a priority for the town and the Department has taken a number of steps to increase its visibility to motorists and deploy resources effectively to problem spots and areas with high-volume traffic. To this end, the use of portable electronic signs has been increased to deter drivers from speeding; and, not incidentally, to collect data with respect to volume and traffic flow. Residents who are concerned about speeding vehicles may request the Department to have the devices placed in areas they believe are problematic.
Bongiorno also reported that the department has reached out successfully to the security teams of both the VA Hospital (VA) and Middlesex Community College (MCC) on traffic and parking issues. This includes a cooperative effort with the VA to monitor the Springs Road area and with MCC on addressing the problem of students parking on nearby residential streets rather than in the VA overflow lot. In addition, the Bedford police have supported efforts to educate students about drinking and driving, and hope to expand that effort to include risks associated with driving and cell phone use.
Members of the TAC encouraged Chief Bongiorno to increase patrols along the bike paths and some of the trails as a means of encouraging walkers and bikers.
North Road resident Amy Hamilton asked to be on the TAC agenda to bring attention to what she believes is a hazardous traffic situation at the intersection of North Road and Routes 4/225 (the so-called “Renzo intersection”). After witnessing several accidents at the location, she expressed concern that unclear signage, limited visibility and visual clutter, including a double pole owned by NSTAR, create a potentially lethal combination of risks. Bob Dorer noted that in his experience the intersection has a problematic history, although various remedies, such as road striping and a flashing yellow light, have been tried to address the dangers at the location. Chief Bongiorno agreed to bring up the issue of possibly removing the double-pole at the next Traffic Committee meeting.
Committee member Ralph Hammond reported on the progress made to complete the two circuit trails in town, known unofficially at the moment as Circuit Trail #1 (the Short Walk) and Circuit Trail #2 (the Long Walk). The Short Walk is almost ready for “blazing” or marking; Hammond is working with Town Manager Rick Reed and DPW Director Richard Warrington to resolve the few remaining issues. The easements required from private land owners for the Long Walk have been verbally secured. At completion, each all will be marked with color-differentiated arrows. The start and end points of both trails are in front of the town library, and Hammond said he is hopeful that a Trail Walk Registration book could be maintained there.