Published in the August 15, 2018 edition


WAKEFIELD — At a meeting last week, town officials discussed the “Complete Streets” program and presented a list of potential projects.

Nearly a year ago, in September 2017, the Board of Selectmen voted to enter the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Complete Streets program and adopted a “Complete Streets Policy.”

That policy states that “Wakefield’s Complete Streets Policy is to accommodate roadway users of all ages and abilities by creating a transportation network that meets the needs of individuals using a variety of transportation modes. This policy will be applied in all decision-making for related infrastructure planning and construction.”

At that Sept. 11, 2017 meeting, Town Planner Paul Reavis and Department of Public Works Director Richard Stinson appeared before the board to discuss Complete Streets.

A Complete Street is defined as one that provides safe and accessible travel for all travel modes — walking, biking, transit and vehicles — for people of all ages and abilities. Improvements may be large scale or focused on the need of a single mode.

After the selectmen voted to approve and enter the program last September, the town became eligible to obtain a small grant from the state of $50,000 to have an engineering firm look at the streets and the downtown. After that, the town becomes eligible to go to the state and ask for $400,000 in capital improvement money to fund initiatives. At that point the only cost to the Town would be the engineering work.

Last week, the Complete Streets Working Group held a community workshop to take community recommendations for a Complete Streets Prioritization Plan, which, once finalized and approved, will be submitted to MassDOT for funding of selected projects.

Wakefield has identified a “project list” consisting of 87 potential projects that could be submitted for funding.

Examples from the list include addressing long crossings for pedestrians at various points along Main Street by installing curb extensions or medians to shorten the crossings.

Other potential projects involve addressing lack of bicycle accommodations by installing “sharrows” to warn drivers to share the road with bicyclists along Main Street, Albion Street and North Avenue or even installing separate bike lanes. Installing “bike share stations” is also mentioned on the list.

Other possibilities include addressing lack of continuous sidewalks by installing new sidewalks and/or crosswalks in specified areas of North Avenue and Main Street.

Ensuring sufficient pedestrian clearance times by updating pedestrian timings for traffic lights along Main Street and North Avenue also appears on the list.

Other issues listed include accessibility, congestion and speeding along with proposed measures to address those issues at various locations around town.

Next steps include narrowing the list and prioritizing potential projects based on their ability to address defined issues/needs and assessing project details including the readiness level of each project, conceptual cost estimate, and benefits.

The full list of potential projects and solutions identified by the Complete Streets Working Group as well as more information on the Complete Streets program can be found on the town’s website at