SHREWSBURY – Officials in Shrewsbury know what they would like the downtown area to look like by 2030. Now, they want to make sure the district has the infrastructure needed for it to flourish.
Town Manager Kevin Mizikar recently announced the launch of the Town Center Multimodal Study. The study will be taking a look at all types of traffic in the Town Center, including pedestrian, bicycle and motor vehicle, and make recommendations on ways to make it more convenient, safer and business friendly.
“We are excited to get the Town Center Multimodal Study underway,” said Mizikar.
He said there will be an abundance of opportunities for stakeholders to share their thoughts to shape the development of the Town Center.
“This is an opportunity to implement changes that will enhance safety, improve walkability, increase commerce, and improve economic development for generations to come,” he said.
The district includes sections of Maple Avenue and Main, Grafton and Boylston streets.
Mizikar said that depending on the recommendations that emerge from the study, all options are on the table for improving the downtown experience. This could include enhanced sidewalks and pedestrian pathways, alterations to traffic flow and improvements to parking.
“We want people to be able to come to downtown, park once, be able to walk around and get to the places they want to go safely,” he said.
Several firms are participating in the study, including Kimley-Horn, Toole Design and Capital Strategic Solutions.
One of the key elements to the study is community engagement.
Capital Strategic Solutions will be helping with these activities and gathering feedback from community stakeholders, who could include nearly everyone who lives or works in Shrewsbury.
No dates have been announced for community-engagement events.
While the launch of the study was announced last week, work actually began several weeks ago. According to Mizikar, motor vehicle traffic counts were conducted at several intersections downtown. Cameras were not just capturing numbers of vehicles, but also what those vehicles were doing at the specific intersections.
The Town Center Multimodal Study won’t simply be a standalone document.
According to Mizikar, it will dovetail with previous planning work done in the form of Shrewsbury’s 2030 Strategic Plan, along with the Town Center Visioning Study and the Town Center Parking Study.
Shrewsbury officials see mixed use development, such as the proposed Beal Commons project, as a cornerstone to the future of the Town Center, as it would bring new business while also bringing ready-made pedestrian consumers to both the new and existing businesses.