A recently completed traffic study related to the redevelopment of the Finnerty's site at 150 Main Street revealed that the project can be "safely and efficiently accommodated" provided some suggested improvements are completed, according to an independent traffic engineer.
Current plans for the development include two buildings, a CVS and a second building housing a restaurant with patio seating and office space. Entrances and exits to the development are planned on West Plain Street and Main Street.
Kevin Dandrade with TEC Inc., completed the peer review traffic study for the town of Wayland and reported his findings during a joint meeting of the Planning Board and Board of Public Works Monday night. (Read a PDF of his report.)
In particular, Dandrade said, he would not support a left-hand turn option on Main Street, but the current plan calls for a right-in, right-out option only, which Dandrade said he believes will be an effective and safe option for that corner. He said that a raised triangular island in the Main Street curbcut will direct traffic into a right-turn exit and help prevent left-turn entrances to the property.
Dandrade acknowledged that he has multiple concerns about the intersection of West Plain and Main streets, stemming from its outdated equipment and the poor alignment through the intersection from West Plain to East Plain. Still, he said corrections could be implemented with the existing equipment, and the town could later tackle a larger overhaul of the intersection.
He also recommended adding new curbing in front of the parking area of the Wayland Fire Station on Main Street, a change that Fire Chief Vinnie Smith said would require apparatus drivers to maneuver the vehicles differently, but shouldn't pose a problem.
While Dandrade said he doesn't anticipate the development to be an efficient cut-through for impatient drivers trying to avoid the traffic light, several residents spoke up to express concerns about cut-through traffic through area neighborhoods.
Because cars cannot leave the development and head directly north on Main Street, a few residents said they expect cut-through traffic to use King Street and Mitchell Street to head north.
But by far the largest concern expressed Monday night was related to pedestrian safety. Police Chief Bob Irving said he was specifically concerned about the curbcut on Main Street.
"By putting in that curbcut, we put in a spot for another conflict between pedestrians and vehicles," Irving said. "When we get to the point when we’re putting in a curbcut on a street like that, it needs a lot of thought. It’s going to have to be something that the people, especially in those neighborhoods, are going to have to live with and be comfortable with.”
But resident Doug Alongi spoke up to ask why so much concern was being directed toward this particular corner when there were several other curbcuts, noted to be dangerous by other speakers, at different points of that same intersection, including those at the Dunkin' Donuts commercial space and Liberty Pizza strip.
"I think if we’re all so concerned about the safety here, I think we should have some concerns for these other corners as well,” Alongi said.
Dermot Kelly, a traffic engineer working with developers Jesse Adelman and Matt Levy, has drafted responses to the report comments Dandrade issued. The responses include creating ADA-compliant ramps at several crossing points, moving the dumpsters to create better site lines and several other actions. (The report of the response is available as a PDF.)
"Rather than argue … I just tried to do as much as I can that he’s suggested,” Kelly said Monday night. "I basically did everything he asked for. There’s a few more things to do, but we’re really down to mitigation and what’s appropriate for that project."
No vote or action on the project was taken Monday night. The hearing was continued to Jan. 8.