Falmouth roundabout part of Route 1 North discussion

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FALMOUTH — A roundabout at a major intersection is contemplated as the town discusses the best ways to make U.S. Route 1 more attractive for all types of users.

In recent workshop sessions the focus was on Route 1 North, the 1.3-mile section from the Turnpike spur to the Cumberland town line.

On Thursday, Feb. 16, at 6:30 p.m., the town will ask for input on a Complete Streets study that looks at Route 1 all the way from Falmouth through Yarmouth.

Theo Holtwijk, Falmouth’s long-range planning director, said draft recommendations under the Complete Streets study include redesign proposals for two Route 1 intersections that residents have rated as being the most dangerous.

Those intersections are the Route 88-Route 1 intersection in Falmouth, north of the Martin Point Bridge, and the Route 88-Exit 17 intersection in Yarmouth.

Holtwijk said a roundabout for the Falmouth intersection is being seriously considered and “throughout the corridor, additional turning lanes, bike paths, sidewalks and pedestrian crossings are (also) being recommended.

He said next week’s meeting in Falmouth on the Complete Streets study would also include a second meeting of the town’s bicycle-pedestrian stakeholder’s group, which, he said, has specific concerns about the newly revamped Route 88-Route 1 intersection.

“All area residents, commuters and businesspeople are invited to this meeting (on Feb. 16),” Holtwijk said, adding, “You do not need to be a resident to voice your opinion.”

In referencing the public workshops the town held on Route 1 North last month, Holtwijk said, “What we heard is that there is definite interest in making bicycle and pedestrian improvements, as well as in mixed-use development.”

He said about 75 people attended the workshops, which were held at noon and right after work Jan. 25.

“We know this area provides an interesting opportunity and we’re pleased by the community interest in this effort,” Holtwijk said. The workshops attracted “a really nice mix of people,” he added, saying they were “very productive.”

He said what the town wants for Route 1 North is “an articulated vision” that’s proactive and not reactionary. In all, Holtwijk said, there are about 300 acres included in the study area and about 150 of those acres are still undeveloped.

The goal, according to Holtwijk, is to hand the Town Council a two-fold report in early May that would make recommendations for both infrastructure improvements, as well as for land use or zoning changes.

Those who attended the Route 1 North workshops last month seemed to be in general agreement that the biggest challenges in the area include safe access for pedestrians and bicyclists and creating a real sense of place or neighborhood in that section of town.

That’s according to a summary provided to the town by VHB, the consultant on the Route 1 North project.

There was also general agreement among attendees that the town should focus its efforts on providing both aesthetic improvements, such as street lighting, street trees and more, and amenities such as bicycle lanes and sidewalks.

Along with the idea of creating a sense of place for Route 1 North, workshop attendees also said it was important that the area becomes a real destination for working, living and playing.

Overall, those who attended the workshops said that the primary role of Route 1 North should be to “balance all modes of traffic,” including cars, bicyclists, pedestrians and public transit.

Kate Irish Collins can be reached at 710-2336 or kcollins@theforecaster.net. Follow Kate on Twitter: @KirishCollins.

The town of Falmouth is making plans for the future of this 1.3-mile section of U.S. Route 1 from the Turnpike spur to the Cumberland town line.

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