District 8 Councilor Proposes Sidewalk, Bike, & Trail Advisory Committee

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FRAMINGHAM – District 8 City Councilor John Stefanini is proposing the creation of a sidewalk, bike, & trail advisory committee for the City of Framingham.

“At the Council’s March 2 meeting I suggested that we broaden our pedestrian and bicycle activation discussion to include all trails, bike paths, sidewalks, and streets to advance our long stalled efforts in these areas,” said Councilor Stefanini.

The proposed ordinance is on the March 16 City Council agenda, to be referred to the City Council’s environmental subcommittee for review.

“Framingham is home to the Cochituate Rail Trail, the Hultman and Sudbury Aqueducts, and smaller trails that link neighborhoods together, and the future final piece of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail,” wrote Councilor Stefanini.

“Framingham has great potential to be the trail hub of MetroWest; and Whereas, pedestrian oriented development benefits Framingham and its residents; and Whereas, access to a vehicle is not readily available to everyone in the community; and Whereas, promoting alternative modes of transportation has great environmental and traffic relief benefits … Pedestrian and bike facilities are accessible, especially when ADA infrastructure is in place … Framingham believes such amendment will promote, protect and facilitate the public health, safety and welfare of the community through coordinated and practical land use and land development for the betterment of our community,” wrote Stefanini in submitting the ordinance to the full City Council.

If the City Council approves the proposed ordinance, the Committee would:

  • Protect, enhance, and preserve existing pedestrian oriented infrastructure throughout the City
  • Develop and promote accessibility through alternative modes of transportation
  • Strengthen civic engagement through connected neighborhoods
  • Ensure sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails compliance with Americans with Disabilities Act
  • Encourage healthy living through a more active lifestyle.

“I modeled this new committee after our now defunct bicycle committee that was very successful in building consensus and securing funding,” said Stefanini.

Stefanini is proposing the advisory committee would have seven members, with staggered 3-year terms.

The proposal calls for one member selected by the Disability Commission (three years), one member selected by the Parks Commission (two years); and, five appointed by the Mayor (1 – three years, 2 – two years, and 2 – one year.

The advisory committee, under the proposed ordinance, would “recommend the location and acquisition of easements for sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails, within the City” and “catalog existing and future sidewalks, bike lanes, and trails, and make recommendations regarding present and future sidewalks, bike, and trail needs and sidewalks, bike, and trail use conflicts.”

The proposed advisory committee also would “develop and update the sidewalk, bikes, and trails plan to create a network of off-road trails and sidewalks which link major open space, parks and other public facilities and neighborhoods, and to set priorities to optimize the use of public funds.”

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editor

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