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Focus on Lower Village: Update 1

September 2, 2016

As we mentioned earlier this summer, the Stow Planning Department has submitted an application for the 2016 MassWorks Infrastructure Grant Program, continuing to advance the community’s efforts to improve our main business district.  The MassWorks Program funds municipal projects that support economic development, transportation improvements, and mixed-use development.  Our application this year is stronger than ever, highlighting our Community Compact with Governor Baker Administration, our finalized traffic improvement design plans, and our recent acceptance of a Complete Streets Policy. The grant will allow Stow to move forward with our shovel-ready Complete Streets designed traffic improvements.

The Complete Streets design for Lower Village is derived from years of public input. The illustrations below, designed by Howard Stein Hudson (HSH), show how sidewalks, bike lanes, pedestrian islands, and turn lanes work together to create a more defined traffic pattern.  Not only do the plans increase safety by providing a balance between road users, but the improvements utilize well placed turning lanes and raised medians to create gaps in peak hour traffic that will make it easier to make turns into and out of local businesses.  To learn more about Howard Stein-Hudson, and their design process for the Lower Village final design, check out this past post.

The image below helps further visualize what these plans illustrate from a street- level perspective. Lower_village_Stow_TV_Rendering

Stow finds company in Complete Streets goals.  Our neighbors in Maynard adopted a Complete Streets policy, and installed temporary features as part of a pilot project last month.  The pilot helped residents and visitors visualize the scope of improvements with the addition of traffic interventions, altered curb cuts, bike lanes, and even a parklet. If you visited downtown Maynard during this time, fill out a survey to let them know your thoughts!

Through the years of planning for improvements to the Lower Village corridor, we’ve heard an evolving vision of what is most important to Stow residents: pedestrian safety, reduced congestion, bicycle lanes, accessibility to businesses – balancing improvements with the Town’s rural character.  Updates to Rt. 117 are part of the larger picture of improving the safety, convenience and curb appeal for Lower Village.  The Planning Department will continue to focus energy on a developing partnership for water infrastructure upgrades, and we’ll be building on zoning and design guideline efforts to complete the community’s visioning.

Check back here in the weeks to come or stop by the Planning Department to look at the plans and get updates on our progress!

What are you most excited to see?

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