Design Exception Review - Concord Rotary

MassBike, serving in an advisory role on MassDOT’s Design Exception Review Committee, has formally asked the state not to grant a request to have no bicycle accommodation in the Concord rotary.

Founded in 2003, the DER Committee serves as a design forum for both internal district engineers and external organizations such as the Federal Highway Administration and nonprofit advocacy groups such as MassBike. While mostly serving as an advisory panel, the DER Committee has placed more attention in recent years on healthy transportation elements.

“Actually we believe bicycle accommodation in the rotary itself is arguably more crucial there than elsewhere,” stated Richard Fries, executive director of MassBike.

“While we appreciate the fact that Route 2 is a limited access roadway that does not allow bicycles west of the rotary, that roundabout intersects with roadways that do allow bicycles. Elm Street, Barrett’s Mill Road and Commonwealth Avenue all do allow bicycles. And those roads, as showcased by a GPS heat map of bicycle riders (see below) see considerable numbers of riders who go through that rotary.”Concord_Rotary_Heat_Map.png

MassBike stated there should instead be extra bicycle accommodation in that rotary in the form of signage, green paint and beacons.

“While the vast majority of rotary users there are motorists in an interstate frame of mind, we need to alert them of the prospect of bicycles being there. If anything, more should be done to get the motorists down to the 25 mph speed limit instead of engineering a belief that ONLY cars would be in that environment,” wrote Fries. “In the coming years we will also see the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail cut through this region. Invariably we will find lesser experienced bicyclists meandering from that trail and onto nearby roadways that could feed them right into that rotary.”

The DER Committee has yet to make a recommendation on the request.

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  • commented 2017-04-20 10:11:45 -0400
    I would add that the heatmap doesn’t tell the whole story. Living on the NE side of Elm St (2A), i/we avoid the rotary when riding/commuting to W. Concord. Instead, it is far safer to ride into Concord center and then back out Rt 62 to West Concord.

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