WINCHESTER - The Select Board approved a design plan from Toole Design Group concerning work at the intersection of Wildwood Street, Woodside Road and Wickford Road.
Erica Guidaboni, from Toole, met with the board at a previous meeting to discuss plans to improve the intersection between Wildwood, Woodside and Wickford; however, the board suggested several alterations and asked Guidaboni to return with a slightly modified design.
This week, she offered two alternative options, both involving the crosswalk across Wildwood. Previously, Select Board members shared concerns the original design of the crosswalk forced pedestrians to cross Wildwood with their back to the traffic. This time, Guidaboni offered two plans that shifted the crosswalk on a 90 degree angle. Option A also modified the ramp on the south side of Wildwood near the utility pole to make it more asymmetrical.
Option B shifted the crosswalk across Wickford Road to the north side to allow for warning signage. Both options added yield lines and edge lines.
Guidaboni also performed a site line evaluation to see how wide to make the turns. She shrunk them to the minimum for people driving 30 MPH, as the speed limit slows to 20 MPH through the intersection. Her design would force drivers to slow down.
She also suggested adding the speed limit to the roadway itself, plus reflective signage at the corner.
Besides the issue involving the crosswalk on Wildwood Street, the board also inquired about adding a raised crosswalk to the intersection. Guidaboni informed the board it would cost $60,000 (or close to the cost of the entire $90,000 project) and came with many challenges including drainage and grading, plus the utility pole (not to mention possible issues with placing a raised crosswalk on a curve and its affect on headlights).
Instead, Guidaboni suggested speed humps before drivers reach the intersection to slow speeds in the area. Before any of that, however, she said Toole would measure current speeds on Wildwood Street to see if additional measures are even needed.
Select Board Chair Susan Verdicchio called both options “much improved,” adding she visited the area to see it in person feeling the plans looked large on paper. On foot, “you can really see it,” she said.
The board didn’t have a specific preference except for Mariano Goluboff who called option A “friendlier to pedestrians.” Therefore, the board approved that option.
Select Board member Michael Bettencourt called the improvements “a good outcome for the intersection,” adding he always favors infrastructure that slows people down.
The next steps, according to Town Engineer Beth Rudolph, involve getting to the 100 percent design phase (which can happen now the board approved the plan) and putting the project out to bid. Rudolph hoped to do that as soon as possible. The town also plans to start the project before Eversource begins repaving the roadway.
DPW Director Jay Gill agreed with the town engineer about getting the project moving sooner than later, calling it a great project and plan. He assured the board it wouldn’t interfere with Eversource’s repaving efforts. He added how the project should make the intersection safer.