Shrewsbury Town Meeting to consider Town Center transportation study

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Shrewsbury Town Meeting to consider Town Center transportation study
Trucks drive through the intersection of Grafton and Main streets in Shrewsbury’s Town Center.

SHREWSBURY – Town Meeting will consider plans to study transportation in Shrewsbury’s Town Center when members convene next month, according to a recent presentation of the Town Meeting warrant by Town Manager Kevin Mizikar.

One of the articles on the warrant will request funds to develop and fund what is called a Town Center comprehensive transportation and multimodal study.

“We believe it’s important to really perform a detailed analysis of motor vehicle traffic in the Town Center to determine current traffic volumes in the area,” Mizikar said in his comments to the Board of Selectmen on April 5.

This comprehensive analysis would go “beyond the scope” of any single project to determine how traffic is moving through the Town Center, according to Mizikar.

He said the study would help residents and visitors find non-motor vehicle methods to use the shops and restaurants in the center.

That could involve looking at pedestrian and bicycle opportunities, Mizikar said.

The study would also investigate the impacts of tractor trailers and heavy-duty vehicles in the center.

Mizikar said the town would additionally be working with local operators of trucking companies to find alternative routes outside of the Town Center.

“We really think this is important, and a continuation of the work that we’ve already started,” Mizikar said.

This comes as Shrewsbury has already moved forward with various efforts in the area, such as establishing a new Town Center zoning district.

The town has also conducted studies for parking and wayfinding signs in the area.

This additionally comes following progress on projects like the redevelopment of the former Beal School site on Maple Avenue.

Developers have pitched the redevelopment of the school into a mixed-use project tentatively called Beal Commons.

Town officials have said that this project would be a catalyst for the revitalization of the Town Center, with recent plans calling for 55 apartment units and between 7,000 and 8,000 square feet of commercial space. Shrewsbury would retain 0.7 acres of open space on the site.

Mizikar noted that there will be traffic studies conducted in connection with any redevelopment in the Town Center, including the Beal site.

“This is a much broader scope and is greater than just an individual site or a project area,” he reiterated.

Selectmen signed the Town Meeting warrant during their April 5 meeting. There is still a public hearing on the Town Meeting warrant, scheduled, however, during a Finance Committee meeting on Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Board of Selectmen’s meeting room.

Town Meeting is scheduled for May 21.

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