Traffic and Safety

For some time now Medfield Parks and Recreation has been pushing plans for a new center in various locations of the town. If you read the Medfield Hometown Weekly this week, you probably saw a good summary of the history of the project, as well as of the arguments for and against it. (more…)

I am looking for like-minded individuals who are interested in forming a local Bike Advisory Committee.
Initially, I see this group working on getting funding and town approval for the construction of bike paths on several of the Medfield streets (North St, South St, and Green St come to mind).
Please read this guide published by MassBike (Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition) and if you are interested in joining and maybe helping in forming and serving on the board of a 501(c)3 corporation, contact me.


Our town has a lot of potential for the development of bike paths and trails, but for now there seems to be potential only. I have not heard of or seen evidence of any actual projects. I am particularly interested in the Millis-Medfield-Dover-Needham rail corridor (I believe this is part of what was formerly called the ‘Bay Colony’ line).
Does anybody have information about existing plans or prior initiatives for converting the rail corridor into a multi-use trail? This trail would be a hit. Imagine being able to safely bike to the Needham train station … this would be so much fun with the kids. Having used the Minuteman bike trail in Arlington and Lexington almost daily for some time, I appreciate the recreational value of a multi-use trial.
According to maps on, the MBTA has ownership of the Right of Way for this section. The line is desolate, though, and no longer seems to be usable. Particularly the bridge over the Charles no longer seems to be passable, not on foot, let alone for a train. I would actively support and participate in an initiative with the goal to convert the Bay Colony line between Millis and Needham to a bike path. Are there any other supporters? Anybody who can educate me about why this has not already been done?

Realizing that such projects face many obstacles in other communities (see Holliston, for example), I am enough of an idealist to at least educate myself a little bit about the possibility.

Subdivision plan as submitted on 4/23

The Planning Board approved the 10-lot subdivision in last night’s meeting. The approval is contingent on several conditions, all of which were discussed in prior meetings. They include easements for the emergency cut-through and the trails with the buffer zones shown on the plan. No further connections to other subdivisions will be allowed, and one lot (11H) containing a retention basin will become town property.

I somehow missed the article when it first appeared on 2/18. Luckily, it is still available online.


Street could go one of two ways

Safety officials, neighbors at odds

By Charlie Russo, Globe Correspondent (February 18, 2007)

Is it better to be connected? That’s the question being asked in Medfield after a developer proposed two layouts for a new development.

Scott Colwell has presented proposals to the town’s Planning Board that would allow him to build more homes on Quarry Road. In one, he would simply build an extra-long cul-de-sac at the end of the road; in the other, he would connect the road with Morse Drive, linking the Woodcliff Estates and Pine Needle Park neighborhoods.

Colwell said he prefers the cul-de-sac plan, but he has submitted the “cut-through” plan as an alternative, which he said is a requirement in requests for road extensions.

Town Administrator Michael Sullivan said he and most department heads, including the police and fire chiefs and the head of the Department of Public Works, favor the cut-through plan, mainly because it would provide emergency vehicles with alternative routes to reach people in the two neighborhoods.

Residents are worried, however, that shortcut-seekers would drive through Pine Needle Park and Woodcliff Estates, which are north and east of the town center, respectively, to bypass the center and its stoplights.

“Most people think this would be a very attractive cut-through. . . . I’m very concerned that we would see a lot of traffic,” said Christian Donner, a Pine Needle Park resident.

Planning Board members also indicated through an unofficial poll taken at a recent public hearing that they unanimously oppose the cut-through plan. The Board of Health must review the developer’s proposals before the Planning Board renders its final decision. The next Planning Board meeting is Feb. 26.

“I feel that creating a through street does give the potential for a safety hazard,” said Planning Board member George Lester. “These are small residential streets; they weren’t designed to be a through way.”

But a second group of residents, whose streets are already used as shortcuts to bypass the town center, support the idea of a cut-through as a way to spread the traffic burden.

Maureen Hufnagle, a Brook Street resident, said opening up the road would be “in the best interest of the community. . . . We’ve just seen a huge increase in traffic in the 15 years we’ve lived here.”

Roads that would have linked the two neighborhoods have been proposed before and rejected. Past agreements between Colwell, who has built dozens of homes in the area, and the town specifically banned him from building a road that would link Quarry Road to Erik Road, which is also in Pine Needle Park.

Colwell recently purchased a home on Morse Drive that would allow a connection to an extended Quarry Road. Some, like Donner, are hoping that the earlier bans set a precedent that could be enforced now.

As a result of the earlier bans, neighborhood roads were engineered to handle only the cars of nearby residents, not for the additional traffic that a cut-through would attract, Lester said.

“The town had the opportunity twice in the past to proceed on a plan that would have connected Woodcliff Estates and Pine Needle Park but chose not to for reasons of public safety, since these were residential streets,” Lester said.

Colwell, who has built 79 homes in the Woodcliff Estates neighborhood over the last two decades, said he wants to build the cul-de-sac to honor a promise he made to residents that he would not build a cut-through.

The cul-de-sac plan would allow Colwell to build 10 new homes, while the cut-through would allow him to build 13.

© Copyright 2007 Globe Newspaper Company.

The hearing for the Quarry Road development will not be held on March 12 as previously announced. The Board of Health decision is still outstanding and the next Planning Board hearing in this matter is now scheduled for 4/9.

The Board of Health did not meet on Feb 14 due to the snow storm.
Therefore, because the next steps depend on the results from the Board of Health review, the Quarry Road subdivision is not on the agenda for the 2/26 Planning Board meeting. Instead, the discussion will
continue on March 12 at 8:15, again at the Town House.

The question has come up at several occasions whether prior decisions of the Planning Board prohibit a road connection from Woodcliff Hills to Pine Needle Park. Here is the original Certificate of Vote from 1995 so that you can decide for yourself.

Woodcliff Estates discussion draws crowd
By Brandon Todesca/Correspondent
Thursday, January 11, 2007 – Updated: 07:00 AM EST

The Planning Board continued the discussion of future development at Woodcliff Estates Monday, drawing a rowdy crowd which filled Town Hall to capacity.
The second floor of Town Hall was packed with developers, neighbors and town officials. The crowd occasionally grew rowdy, shouting comments during the meeting.
For a number of months, the Planning Board has been examining either the creation of an extended length cul-de-sac, or a cut-through that would ultimately make a connection between North Street and Rte. 109 in the vicinity of Shaw’s Plaza.
“We want to build a cul-de-sac… we’re giving up [housing] lots to put the cul-de-sac plan in,” said Scott Colwell, developer from Colwell Homes. Colwell explained that it had always been his intention to build a cul-de-sac.
Colwell said a cut-through would be an alternative only if the length of the cul-de-sac, which is beyond the town’s 500 ft limit, is not OK’d by the planning board.
John Prego, who lives in the area, asked the board what the spirit of the limit was. Planning Board member George Lester said the limit was intended to ensure two ways out of the area for public safety in case the entrance is blocked.
Included in the evening’s discussion was an alternative route for emergency access through the as-yet undeveloped Erik Road. In previous drafts of the development, emergency access was set to lie on an existing trail between the development and Erik Road.
Fire Chief William Kingsbury said the original path would be too difficult to manage with their bulky fire engines in an emergency. Colwell presented an improved emergency access set at the property lines of two of the housing lots. The alternate emergency entrance would stretch approximately 180 ft, he said.
One concern still held by Kingsbury and the members of the board regarded the actual development of Erik Road, and what emergency access could be available in the meantime. “You can’t approve something that doesn’t go anywhere,” said board member Keith Diggans. Additional research inquiries would be needed, he said, as owners Edward and Bonnie Musto control the Erik Road area.
Town Administrator Mike Sullivan said 4.4 percent of the town’s school children are located in the area. Greg Slowik, whose property is next to the planned development, said the board should take the number of children who are too young for school into consideration as well.
Dickinson was met with few hands when he asked the public if anyone was in support of a cut-through. Maureen Hufnagle, a resident of Brook Street, said she has seen a steady increase in traffic and felt a cut through would cut down on the traffic flow on Brook Street. She said she thinks the board should “value the safety of all of our children.”
A resident of Green Street, Maria Baylor, agreed. She said Brook Street is the only traffic outlet in the area. “It’s fair for the town to consider to take some of the burden off Green and Brook Street,” said Baylor.
When the issue of getting traffic reports for both the cul-de-sac version of the development and the cut through version, the planning board met stern response from Colwell. The developer said the request was not reasonable, as it would cost a large sum of money. Colwell asked the Planning Board to make a decision on a cul-de-sac or cut through, so they could move forward in whatever direction the Planning Board allows.
Dickinson said that with some minor alterations to the designs and some additional paperwork, he thinks the Planning Board could take a vote on the development at their next meeting.
Due to the large crowd that had showed for the meeting, the Planning Board will be holding their next meeting at the High School Auditorium on Feb. 5 at 7:30 p.m.

Here is a link to a January 11 article in the Medfield Press covering the January Planning Board meeting. An earlier article is not available online anymore, so I took the liberty of placing it here in full length. (more…)

The next Planning Board meeting will be on Monday February 5 at 7:30pm at the highschool auditorium. The board has indicated that they are planning to vote on the issue at this meeting.

Concerned Medfield Residents Against a Public Roadway Connecting the Pine Needle Park Neighborhood and Woodcliff Hills

We the undersigned petition the Medfield Planning Board to vote against a proposed public roadway connecting Quarry Road in Woodcliff Hills and Morse Drive in the Pine Needle Park development.

This document is also available for download in the Microsoft Word (256kB) and in the Adobe PDF(196kB) formats.

January 12, 2007

Dear neighbor,
I am writing to you in an urgent matter. The town’s Planning Board is currently in the process of conducting hearings about the possible construction of a public roadway connecting Morse Drive in the Pine Needle Park neighborhood (off of Green Street) and Quarry Road in Woodcliff Estates. This road connection would be an attractive shortcut to and from Route 109 for motor vehicles from a large part of Medfield and neighboring towns. (more…)

To subscribe to the mailing list discussing the cut-through between Morse Drive and Quarry Road, please go to:

All that’s needed is your email address. Your name is optional. You must register with the email address that you will use to post to the list, or otherwise your postings will not be automatically authorized.

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