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“Saving” Lexington Center?

Friday, Dec 9, 2016

We are puzzled by the “Save Lexington Center!” signs proliferating around town. Save it from what? From whom?

These are the real threats to Lexington Center:

  • A collapsing Mass Ave roadbed with a failing drainage system.
  • Uneven, heaved and crumbling sidewalks.
  • Crosswalks that are too long, poorly placed, and poorly lit at night.
  • Intersection and crosswalk configurations that contribute to Lexington Center’s high crash rates.

The real plan to save Lexington Center is . . . the Center Streetscape Project.

This project is a need, not a want.

  • This long planned-for infrastructure project of the Town of Lexington (estimated at $8.5 million) will address the failing Mass Ave roadway and drainage system.
  • The project will address the current traffic situation, which gives us these troubling statistics: According to Mass DOT and Lexington Police reports, there have been nearly 1,000 crashes in our small downtown since 2002. Almost 200 of those resulted in injuries, some of them critical. Two were fatalities.
  • While rebuilding the roadway, the project will revitalize Lexington Center and make it safer, more accessible, and more attractive.

The Town’s planning is proceeding responsibly, with professional guidance and robust citizen input.

  • This is a project that is still in development, with many formal and informal opportunities for every resident of Lexington to express their hopes and wishes for their Center to the Board of Selectmen, Town Meeting Members, and Town staff.
  • The 25% progress stage of the project as it stands right now covers traffic engineering aspects of the project and possible locations for trees, benches, and landscaping for the purpose of promoting further discussion.
  • The Center’s sidewalks have become a community flashpoint. Brick sidewalks are very handsome. Estimates suggest that they will cost more than the hybrid brick-with-concrete solution requested by the Commission on Disability. People of good faith can differ on what to do, which is why there is an open, public process. The Selectmen want know what you think about accommodating all users, about making the Center attractive, and about managing the project’s costs. Tell them.

There is no need for alarmist rhetoric. Our community can discuss these issues calmly and civilly - and we’ll make better decisions if we do.

You can help keep this important project on track:

  • Help to tone things down. Spread the word that while the impetus for the project is the need to reconstruct the Mass Ave roadbed and drainage system, the project will also make the Center safer and more vital. Rebuilding the basic infrastructure represents the largest portion of the project budget. Explain that the Center’s trees are dead and dying, benches need refurbishment or replacement, crosswalks need better lighting and sidewalks that are heaved and crumbling need to be made safer. Addressing these issues is part of the project.
  • Assure your friends and neighbors that the project is being shepherded through an open and active public process by reasonable people who represent all viewpoints, who are of good faith and have good intentions.
  • Ask your friends, family, and neighbors who are Lexington residents and over 18 to sign our petition. (Please note: if you have already signed the petition, thank you! No need to re-sign.)
  • “Like” our Facebook page, invite your friends to like it, and share our posts.
  • “Follow” LexStreetscape on Twitter.

Thank you for supporting a safer and more vibrant Lexington Center!

Jeri Zeder, co-organizer, with Vicki Blier, Irene Dondley, and JJ Krawczyk
Friends of the Center Streetscape Project

Addendum

Let’s dispel a few of the many myths circulating around town about the Center Streetscape Project:

  • Myth: The Friends of the Center Streetscape Project are advocating for concrete sidewalks.

    Fact: Our website explains the rationale for hybrid sidewalks, but we have not taken a position on this issue or on any of the specific aesthetic elements for Lexington Center. We support the ongoing, open, public process that will eventually lead to a decision on sidewalk materials and other design elements.
  • Myth: The Town is ignoring the intersection of Harrington Road and Bedford St, a serious crash hot-spot in Lexington Center.

    Fact: That intersection is being addressed in the Battle Green Project, a companion initiative to the Center Streetscape Project. Another important fact is that, even though the Harrington Rd intersection has had a high number of crash injuries, the Woburn St intersection actually has had twice as many crashes that injured pedestrians and bicyclists.
  • Myth: The Town is planning to demolish and destroy Lexington Center.

    Fact: The passage of time is what is demolishing and destroying Lexington Center. The Town’s plans will repair and rejuvenate it.

Friends of the Lexington Center Streetscape Project | Lexington, MA