Town seeks public input on intersection redesign

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Selectmen Mark Porter and Kevin Feeney, along with other town officials, will soon be scheduling the first of three public meetings to gather resident input on a possible redesign of the intersection at Washington and Randolph streets.

The three-way intersection, located at the convergence of two high-volume roadways, has long been considered one of Canton’s worst traffic bottlenecks and was identified as an early study priority of the town’s Blue Ribbon Traffic Committee. There is no traffic light at the intersection, which is currently configured as a “skewed” T junction with a stop sign at the end of Randolph Street.

Porter and Feeney are both founding members of the Blue Ribbon Traffic Committee and came in as new selectmen following the planning and construction of the Pleasant Street roundabout — a hotly debated issue two years ago. A roundabout has also been mentioned as a possible option for the Washington/Randolph Street intersection; however, Porter, who has met with Town Planner Laura Smead, DPW Superintendent Mike Trotta, Police Chief Ken Berkowitz, and Town Administrator Charlie Aspinwall as well as officials from the Boston Region Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO), emphasized that there is no definite redesign plan on the table now and with good reason.

Porter said he wants all interested residents to come to the initial meeting — which will be held in either March or April at a location to be determined — and be free to air their suggestions and comments.

“At the initial public meeting we want the public to exchange ideas and have an open discussion and dialogue,” he said. “All ideas will be listened to.”

After the meeting, Porter wants the Boston Region MPO and other officials to comment on the feasibility of each suggestion. Another meeting will be called in either May or June to hear the progress of these plans and look at traffic counts and analysis. “We will look at the feasibility of each idea,” said Porter.

A third public meeting will be called in either September or October to officially define two or three alternative options and costs and prepare a warrant article for the May 2018 town meeting.

Porter said he wished there could have been an article for this year’s town meeting, but he did not want to rush the process and wanted to give residents several opportunities to offer their input and suggestions.

Smead applied for a grant to receive the free transportation planning services of the Boston MPO, a regional transportation policy-making organization consisting of representatives from local government, regional transit operators, and state transportation agencies. She is working with Seth Asante, chief transportation planner on the project.

According to the organization’s website, the Boston Region MPO is responsible for conducting the federally required metropolitan transportation-planning process for the metro Boston area, which encompasses 101 cities and towns. The MPO uses the planning process to “develop a vision for the region and then decides how to allocate federal and state transportation funds to programs and projects — roadway, transit, bicycle, and pedestrian — that support that vision.”

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