Land Use Planner Stephanie Danielson and Director of Planning Gary Anderson presented comments from the various town boards they will send to the state on the coming South Coast Rail Project at Monday night’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting.
MassDOT and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers identified the Stoughton rail alternative last month as the best route for "transportation, environmental, and smart growth benefits." The FEIS/FEIR report, five years in the making, concludes that there are no practicable alternatives with less environmental impact.
“One of the areas of concern is public safety,” said Danielson, explaining that while the MBTA has indicated it would sponsor safety training for kids, emergency responders, and motorists, and commuters, the town recommends that training goes on periodically, about every two to three years.
Some construction improvements that will be made both by the town’s recommendations and the FEIR report will include upgrades on 138 at the intersections of Union and Elm Streets, as well as the Roche Brothers and 123 intersections.
One of the issues Danielson said still needs to be addressed is the infrastructure to support more pedestrians and an estimated 240 and 180 bicycle trips at the North Easton station and Easton Village, respectively.
“I don’t think there are 240 people walking and bicycling during rush hour currently,” said Danielson. “We’re looking for addition accommodations for the infrastructure there; There’s no sidewalk on 138, no dedicated bike lane leading to the North Easton station. These are things that the town would want to see.”
Other issues Danielson touched on during the meeting were expanding bus routes and local transit services, parking for when people pick up or drop people off near the stations, and visual impacts.“There’s still a lot of details to be worked out,” said Danielson. She said she recently spoke with several representatives and engineers from the project at a recent open house, who ensured “the towns will be integral to that process.”