Panel Reminds Residents of New Traffic Calming Policy in Bedford

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The Bedford Transportation Advisory Committee is encouraging residents to make use of its traffic calming policy adopted by the Select Board a few months ago.

And indeed, according to the chair, at least one group has started activating the process.

“We wanted to put down a document to spell out what some of the options are and what process members of the community should go through if they want to see their issues addressed,” member Scot Shaw explained at a virtual committee meeting last week.

“It was based on our getting repeated questions from residents about what could be done about traffic on their streets, and frustration on our own part that we start from scratch every time,” Shaw said. Now there’s “a definite process, laying out for residents what steps to take.” 

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According to the policy, “Traffic calming is the use of engineering design to reduce speeding, high traffic volumes, aggressive driving, and unnecessary vehicular traffic through local neighborhoods.” 

The policy “describes the town’s process for conducting a traffic calming study, which includes a
defined process for receiving requests, gathering data, verifying problems, witnessing community support, and evaluating impacts of mitigation strategies and measures.”

The complete policy is accessible at https://www.bedfordma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/2048/Bedford-Traffic-Calming-Policy-FINAL_12-13-2022?bidId=.

“We worked on this for a couple of years,” Shaw said, adding that it was reviewed by relevant town departments. “This reflects a lot of what the committee has been doing and synthesizes it,” said Margot Fleischman, the Select Board liaison to the group. 

Shaw pointed out that “it’s the role of community members to organize and make the requests. It requires that residents who have issues start by organizing their neighborhood and getting a petition together.” After a threshold of interested residents is reached, a traffic study determines if traffic calming measures are necessary, “putting metrics behind perceptions.”

The Transportation Advisory Committee is “involved because we hold the public meetings, address the issues, get public comment, air concerns. Our role is providing a venue, providing advice to the town, seeing that things are getting done.”

“There are different types of traffic calming appropriate for different situations,” Shaw pointed out, such as speed limit changes or changing the geometry of an intersection.

Committee Chair Dawn LaFrance-Linden reported that residents of Hemlock Lane have submitted signatures to the Department of Public Works. Fleischman pointed out that since a segment of Page Road was closed a few years ago for a bridge replacement, Hemlock Lane “has experienced a lot of traffic-related concerns,” some of which were addressed with the installation of a sidewalk.

“We will probably see more of this coming as people get wind of the process,” LaFrance Linden said.

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