Marion residents question safety, timeline on bike path

Jul 30, 2019

MARION — Residents gathered on July 30 to hear about and respond to plans for a bike path between the Mattapoisett border and Point Road, with many expressing support for the project but concern about its traffic impacts and timeline.

Engineer Jeremy Packard noted that the current bike path has “nothing accessible,” and said he hoped to improve that with the 10 to 12 foot, paved path.

He added that “we hope to bring a safe condition to the Route 105 and Spring Street intersection. There’s a lot going on at that intersection.”

In Town Public meetings for the bike path proposal held in 2016 and 2017, engineers working with the Department of Transportation had presented three options for changing that intersection. At the 2019 meeting, they said they would prefer to realign the southbound exit of Route 105 and the Spring Street northbound approach.

This would allow for a single crossing on Spring Street. Packard also proposed adding a crossing signal, yield signs and other pavement markers.

The 3.8 mile path would also include parking areas on Point Road and near Washburn Park, which the path crosses through.

The $2.9 million project would be funded by federal and state funds, but this also pushes out the project’s end date. Selectman John Waterman and John Rockwell both expressed frustration with the pace of the project.

Rockwell said the project was originally slated for 2021. “Tonight I find out that we’re on 2023. Another year gone. I would like to see it moved back to the 2022 budgeting cycle,” he said. 

Sherman Briggs, a developer who owns land in that area and has plans in the works to develop it said he had donated land to the bike path years ago and expressed frustration that the project has not moved forward in 15 years. He asked that the town look carefully into the easements to ensure the project can be completed.

Don Marshall expressed concerns on the speed limit on that stretch of 105 and Spring Street.

“It’s too fast now, it needs to be slowed down,” Marshall said. 

Organizers responded that the Department of Transportation usually has to do a speed study to change limits.

Jenifer Francis of the Transportation and Circulation subcommittee proposed that the area coming from Route 105 and heading toward Route 6 be made a one way street. She also said she would like to see the bike path connect North Marion to Marion Village. Her comments were met with applause.

Todd Zell, owner of the Brew Fish, expressed concern about a one way policy. The shared use path organizers reminded him and one other commenter that the one way proposal was a suggestion by another attendee, and not the official plan.

Waterman also expressed that the Department of Transportation should look into the impact on a number of intersections in the area, since changing one will likely impact all of the others.

The bike path project will have a ten day comment period, which will end on Aug. 9. Commenters can mail their feedback to Patricia Leavenworth, P.E. the Chief Engineer for the project at 10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116, Attention: Roadway Project Management Project file 607979 within ten days to have it accepted.