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Any sidewalk project requires a multi-stage process that includes developing the design and getting input from residents, town engineers, and consultants. Once the design is complete, the project can be put out to bid and built in the following construction season.
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The Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) is established by the Select Board, with roles and responsibilities laid out in the General Bylaws of the Town. TAC consists of seven volunteer residents, appointed by the Select Board to three-year terms.
TAC meeting dates can vary from month to month, but we typically meet on Wednesday evenings at 7 pm once a month. As of March 2023, TAC is still conducting meetings virtually via Zoom. Links to the Zoom meetings are included in the TAC agendas when they are posted to the TAC and Town website.
There are a number of ways to get your questions and comments in front of TAC. First is to come to meetings, whether in person or virtual: residents are welcome to contribute. Second is to submit comments to TAC via its email address: TAC@bedfordma.gov. We read every message that comes in, and attempt to either answer questions ourselves or direct residents to the appropriate town employee or committee if we don’t know the answer.
Note that both comments at TAC meetings and any correspondence sent to the TAC email address are considered public records under state law.
Any vacancy will appear in the list of TAC members on the TAC website. The first step toward becoming a member is to attend some meetings. This will let you become familiar with the way TAC operates, the current members, and issues that come before the committee. Reach out to the committee at the TAC email address if you have any questions.
If you remain interested in joining the committee, contact the Volunteer Coordinating Committee and complete a Candidate Questionnaire:
The VCC identifies and recruits qualified candidates for appointed positions on town committees, and coordinates hearings for candidates before the Select Board. You will be scheduled to appear before the Select Board, which will consider your application and decide whether to appoint you to a term on the committee.
In 2015, the town completed the Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan after over a year of work gathering information. This plan assessed current conditions in the sidewalk, crosswalk, and bike lane network around Bedford, and took in comments from hundreds of residents about the routes they use and which neighborhoods need such amenities. The resulting plan identifies and ranks improvements throughout the town:
The Town is working to complete the network identified in this plan at a rate of a few projects a year. To choose those projects, the Transportation Advisory Committee, Bicycle Advisory Committee, and Department of Public Works collaborate to consider priorities based on the Ped-Bike Plan as well as areas of concern brought to our attention by residents. Other considerations include available funding and areas where other construction creates opportunities to address needs.
Overall, the Town prioritizes projects that will connect the greatest number of residents to the center of Town and other neighborhoods, with particular focus on providing safe routes for biking and walking to schools.
As of the latest review, the sidewalk projects flagged as priorities are:
A line item (or multiple line items) in the budget presented at Annual Town Meeting (ATM) each year provides funds for the Department of Public Works to design the projects, hire consultants, and eventually construct sidewalks and crosswalks. Bike lanes are typically added as parts of larger construction projects. At the time of writing, it is important to note that this budget line was not approved at 2022 ATM, meaning that there are currently no funds for planning or constructing any sidewalks, crosswalks, or bicycle accommodations. 2022 was an anomaly, and in 2023 ATM will again have the opportunity to fund such projects.
The first step to check is the Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan to see if your issue has already been identified. If it has been, then it is on the list for eventual construction. Whether it is listed in the plan or not, residents can write to the Transportation Advisory Committee, Bicycle Advisory Committee, or Department of Public Works to request that the Town move ahead with a particular project.
Many locations for crosswalks are called out in the Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan, so first check that document to see if your area of concern is listed. Constructing a crosswalk requires considering a number of criteria for eligibility:
To advocate for crosswalks in locations that meet the eligibility requirements, residents can email the Transportation Advisory Committee, Bicycle Advisory Committee, or Department of Public Works.
In 2022, the Town adopted a Traffic Calming Policy that spells out options for slowing traffic in Bedford neighborhoods, and the steps residents can take to advocate for them. Any such projects require both neighborhood buy-in and a traffic study. See the Traffic Calming Policy for more information on how to request such a project in your neighborhood:
In 2018, Bedford adopted a Town-wide statutory speed limit of 25 mph. This means that, on any street without a posted speed limit, the default limit is 25 mph.
However, lowering posted speed limits is difficult. To reduce the speed limit on any street with a posted limit, state law requires the Town to first conduct a speed study. The Town must then base any new speed limit on the “85th percentile speed” – the speed that only 15 percent of cars exceed – even if that means raising the speed limit.
Because of that requirement, the first step is to use traffic-calming measures to slow drivers down. If those are effective, the Town could then propose a change in the speed limit based on the new reality on the street.
Addressing traffic on Great Road has been a concern of the town for many years. A major resource for that work is the 2021 Great Road Master Plan, which the Town is implementing in phases. For a chronicle of this work, see:
The Town also recently commissioned a study of the Great Road corridor that proposes numerous changes to traffic and pedestrian signals and upgrades to several intersections. The study includes a timeline for implementing them:
Town of Bedford10 Mudge WayBedford, MA 01730
Town Main Directory: 781-918-4000
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