Re-Envisioning Central Street With Safety, Accessibility Improvements
The Massachusetts Department of Transportation Highway Division (MassDOT) and the Town of Winchendon (Town) proposed the reconstruction of Central Street (Route 202) between Front Street and Maple Street. The primary goal was to provide a safe, accessible, and multi-modal corridor to spur economic development in downtown Winchendon and better serve an aging population. The existing roadway and underlying utilities were in poor condition and did not adequately meet the needs of the community. The project enhanced accommodations for all users, with improved sidewalks, bicycle lanes, a parking lane, and travel lanes, while also introducing streetscape elements to improve the livability of downtown.
The project included the full-depth reconstruction of the roadway with changes to the curb lines and a minor shift of the centerline of the road, installation of new storm drain, sanitary sewer, and water main, and introduction of streetscape features and complete streets elements to improve safety and aesthetics. Minimal earthwork was required to complete the project and the proposed improvements did not necessitate land takings.
The subsurface utilities were replaced to increase the reliability of the sanitary sewer and public water supply, as well as improve the collection and treatment capabilities of the storm drain. To enhance treatment capabilities, the new storm drain had several Best Management Practices (BMPs), including catch basins with deep sumps and hoods and strategically sited stormwater treatment units (SWTUs). Service laterals for each utility were provided to abutting properties.
Central Street is now a multi-modal roadway section that includes two sidewalks, two bicycle lanes, two travel lanes, and one parking lane. The new cross section improves safety and accessibility for all users and enhances the community’s existing resources, such as downtown businesses and the North Central Pathway. The new sidewalks include Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliant grades and curb cut ramps to ensure that downtown is accessible to all.
New signage and pavement markings were installed to improve roadway safety operations. Pavement markings include a double yellow centerline and single white edge lines to separate the travel lanes from the bicycle lanes and the parking lane. New signage meets current standards, including readability and retro-reflectivity. In addition, pedestrian actuated rectangular rapid flashing beacons (RRFBs) were installed at strategic locations to alert motor vehicle operators when a pedestrian intends to cross the street.
New ornamental street lighting was installed to provide a uniform and effective system with aesthetic value. Various amenities, such as bicycle racks, benches, trash receptacles, and a transit shelter were strategically placed to enhance the roadway. Plantings and landscape elements were introduced on the corridor where space allows. Traffic calming measures, such as pedestrian bump-outs, were used to help control motor vehicle speed and improve safety at crosswalks.
The Central Street reconstruction project enhanced the appeal of downtown Winchendon and aided in the ongoing revitalization of the Town. The infrastructure improvements provide the backbone for continued future growth.
Tighe & Bond provided design and construction phase services for the improvements to Central Street. Tighe & Bond also assisted the Town of Winchendon in securing funding for the project through the Massachusetts State Transportation Improvement Program (STIP) and federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG).