Daily Buzz | Select Board Hears from Mass Highway About Plans for Cambridge Street Repaving
And progress made on waste collection discussion
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Select Board Recap
Last night the Select Board had several conversations that have been on people’s minds for quite a long time. Here’s how they shook out. You can also watch on Facebook.
AMC will extend their hours to 2AM for the premier of Black Panther: Wakanda Forever the weekend of November 11th and for the following two weekends as well. (It was hard for me to hear if the other weeks were for the same film or some other event.) They stop sales of alcohol at a prescribed time and coordinate with the police department for these events to ensure everything is orderly.
Sculpture Park event - The Pumpkin Party will be this Saturday! A local artist from Billerica will demonstrate painting on large pumpkins and supplies will be provided for participants to paint their own small pumpkins. Also, free cider donuts. 🤤
Mass Highway 3A Presentation - MASS DOT plans to begin this project, which involves paving and restriping the area of 3A between BHS and Cook Street in Billerica, in late spring of 2023.
The plan is to keep the current striping patterns at “signalized intersections” - so the cars will still be able to spread out in two lanes at these intersections, turning lanes at these intersections will be preserved, etc.
The areas that are not currently marked as two lanes - you know, the wide areas where folks try to drive two-by-two even though there’s really not quite enough room? - will be a clearer one lane, and dedicated bike lanes will be added. (In some areas, such as the Town Center and the intersection with Wilmington Road, bicycles will be allowed on sidewalks.) There will be continuous bicycle and pedestrian access, and some new crosswalks will be added - the ones with the flashing yellow lights.
Traffic studies suggest no significant increase in travel times with this plan and also no significant benefit to having a turning lane rather than bike lanes.
A virtual public forum will be held on 11/17 at 6:30 to further explain to plan and welcome any questions or input from residents.
Trash Contract Renewal - Our contract for waste removal is up for renegotiation, and keeping the same level of service would increase costs by $500,000 or more. Neither of the other two haulers in the area are able to commit to a contract at this time, and so there are a few options through our current carrier if we want to keep costs down for the town and for residents.
Option 1: Eliminate or reduce yard waste collection. We currently do 17 collections per year (significantly higher than the average in this area). Residents are not in favor of this option.
Option 2: Change to every second week recycling. This is the option that probably received the most negative feedback, per DPW officials.
Option 3: Move to four-day collection. This wouldn’t affect us financially but it’s good to know people didn’t really seem to mind this option.
Option 4: $100 per year resident fee to maintain our current level of service. This option received mixed feedback.
The idea of instituting our own waste collection system was floated, but it’s not feasible at this time. It was also suggested that we take a closer look at the idea of composting so we can remove food waste from our waste stream.
No vote was taken at this time. If the Board decides on a 5-year contract (rather than 3), that will need to go in front of Town Meeting as a warrant article. Either way, this will come back in front of the Select Board when the DPW is ready for a vote. The Select Board is in favor of keeping the same level of service for this contract and making it work with the budget, but this conversation will need to be ongoing.
Sidewalk Program - Town Engineer Tom Hayes presented on our evolving sidewalk program since 1995 and unveiled the ten-year plan.
We have $500,000 each year for sidewalks: half for rehabilitation and to bring sidewalks in line with the 2017 Select Board Policy, and half for new sidewalk construction on “Gateway” and “Collector” streets.
The way they’re prioritizing takes into account where sidewalks already exist (they don’t plan to build additional ones where they already exist, but they do want to fill gaps between sidewalks and create them where they don’t exist); how heavily traveled the street is; and, when possible, they coordinate with the paving program so they can do the sidewalks when the street paving is done.
Streets that are on the priority list for installation:
Streets that are on the priority list for rehabilitation:
Of note, sidewalk construction costs about $190 per linear foot. So that $250,000 will get about 1/4 mile of sidewalk.
Town Common Policy
This was reviewed again, but they’re going to put it on the agenda one more time because there are some details to iron out. A flagpole policy was mentioned, but not discussed, so it’s still on the Board’s radar.
Sealer of weights and measures - a few months ago the SB discussed sharing this position with Lexington because we don’t need a full-time position but it’s hard to get a part-time person (among other reasons). The inter-municipal contract is now finalized, and the Board approved it. Now begins the search to fill the position.
Today in Burlington
Meetings and Events
11:00 AM - Library Foreign Affairs Forum; register at link.
12:00-4:00 PM - Early In-Person Voting - at Town Hall
6:00 PM - Shawsheen Budget Subcommittee meets to start talking about FY24.
6:30 PM - What’s It Worth Appraisal Program; register at link.
7:00 PM - Shawsheen School Committee will do a first read of a few policies and a second read and vote on their social media policy. They’ll also hear reports from various subcommittees. (Watch online)
Sports and Activities
Varsity field hockey took home a 1-0 lead thanks to a goal by Lexi MacKinnon, assisted by Renee LeComte.
In soccer, Girls’ Varsity won 3-2 against Wakefield; Boys’ JV lost 1-0.
Varsity volleyball lost a hard match against Melrose 2-3, but JVB (2-1) and JVA (2-0) both won their matches. Congrats to player of the game, Ula Rinkeviciute!
In cross country, boys and girls both take on Melrose at home today at 4:00.
Phew. That’s it for me. I’ll see you tomorrow!
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