WAKEFIELD — The latest iteration of the Wakefield Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan received a mixed reaction after it was reviewed at this week’s Town Council meeting.

Town Engineer Bill Renault and Economic Development Director Erin Kokinda presented the latest updates made to the Bike and Pedestrian Plan since they last appeared before the Town Council in December.

They noted that the goals of the plan are to encourage walking, bicycling and rolling to key destinations throughout town, establish a plan that connects to surrounding communities and advance the Town’s Complete Streets Policy.

Renault went through the specific changes made to the plan based on feedback received at the December Town Council meeting.

He said that concerns from the Town Council about redundant and sometimes conflicting information were addressed. Chapter 3 of the plan was reformatted and general policy recommendations for bicycle accommodations and pedestrian and rolling accommodations were clarified. Also provided were example photos and cross sections. Renault said that the subsections on sidewalks and crosswalks were also expanded.

He explained that they also reorganized and consolidated Chapter 4 of the plan, which deals with bicycle network recommendations.

Renault and Kokinda reported that public feedback was opened for the Bike and Pedestrian Plan on Feb. 16, with a total of 36 responses received so far. The public response has been mixed, they said, with 17 supportive of the plan and 12 opposed to it. Two responders were indifferent and five wanted more information.

Some of the common themes in the comments related to safety, parking, traffic, sidewalks and crosswalks.

At Monday’s meeting, Town Councilor Robert Vincent suggested a number of additional changes to specific sections of the Plan. He also said that he was considering an amendment that would require any changes to the parking on Main Street along the Lake to be supported by a majority of five on the Town Council.

Councilor Edward Dombroski said that he thought of a master plan as a conceptual document and suggested that the Bike and Pedestrian Master Plan seems to go well beyond what a master plan should be.

He also questioned some of the cross sections of streets that showed the configurations for sidewalks, shared-use paths, bike lanes, parking and automobile travel lanes. He warned that shaving even a foot off the width of on-street parking spaces would increase the danger to someone opening a car door.

He also criticized the plan as “too bike-centric.” He said that the vast majority of people affected by the plan will be drivers, walkers and runners. He maintained that the plan should be focused on the safety and good of the largest number of users.

Dombroski also pointed out that the 36 responses commenting on the plan were not representative of public opinion in the town, adding that not much could be derived from such a small sample. He suggested that many of the comments were driven by the Safe Streets Working Group, which has a vested interest in the plan. 

Town Councilor Julie Smith Galvin said that she was “shocked” that anyone would be “more interested in protecting cars than people.” She also objected to describing the Safe Streets Group as having a vested interest.

Councilor Michael McLane expressed concerns about the process, including the lack of involvement by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council in the latest iterations of the Plan. He was also critical of the initial plan to eliminate parking on Main Street along the Lake.

“Had we (the Town Council) not interjected ourselves into the process, parking along the Lake would have disappeared,” he said. He also questioned some other assumptions in the plan related to the width of rights of way in certain areas.

Town Councilor Anne Danehy said that she viewed the Bike/Pedestrian Plan as “an aspirational plan with details.” 

Councilor Mehreen Butt supported the plan, saying that “People are excited about this. They want safety for walking and biking.”

During public participation at the start of the Town Council meeting, a number of residents spoke in support of the Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan, including several members of the Safe Streets Working Group.

Public comment on the plan remains open until Friday, March 1 via the town’s website at

The Town Council may vote on the final Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan as soon as next month.