On November 30, 2018, there were multiple accidents on Norwood Street, a fast, winding, narrow, heavily traveled artery. According to MassDOT crash data for the three most recently available years, it appears the number of accidents on Norwood Street outnumbered accidents on most other roads in Sharon by a factor of 40 to 1. (East Street was 30 to 1). Many people live on or near Norwood Street, and one of our town’s top ten employers, a nursing home, is located there, too. And yet, it is far too dangerous to walk or bicycle on the road where there is no sidewalk or shoulder, a gap from Maskwonicut to Edge Hill Road.
A few interesting facts:
**If someone lived at Avalon and wanted to get to work or visit a relative at Wingate, it should be a 7-minute walk. And yet, the condition of the road makes this incredibly dangerous or impossible.
**It would take 16 minutes to bicycle from Beaver Brook Road to the high school, but students in that area must either arrive by car or pay over $500 per year to ride the bus because it’s too unsafe to get to school otherwise.
**It would take 8 harrowing minutes to bicycle from Bullard Street to the train station.
**Regardless of your position on climate change, we all benefit when traffic is reduced in town. Roads that are too dangerous to walk or bike doesn’t help reduce traffic.
The town of Sharon has asked the Transportation Advisory Board to obtain an initial proposal to build a multi-million dollar parking garage at the train station. No plan has yet been formulated to mitigate traffic or reduce the demand for parking, but this may happen in the future. By completing the Norwood Street sidewalk and/or making effective improvements to bike safety, it would be possible for many people to reach the train station without driving and taking up parking spaces.
I (Heather Z.) have asked DPW to add a sidewalk to Norwood Street, which is overdue. Many of you helped sign a petition last year to request the same, and DPW responded by extending the sidewalk from Terrapin to Maskwonicut (yay!!!!). Now, however, DPW isn’t planning to add any additional sidewalks anywhere next year. It is, however, hoping to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to reconstruct roadway and sidewalks on Eisenhower and Livingston. At the risk of offending people who live there, I submit that those streets are neither as dangerous nor as heavily traveled as Norwood, and therefore should be pushed later in the queue. However, unless people speak up repeatedly and loudly, nothing will change. Regardless of where you live, reducing the number of cars on Norwood will be the most effective way to improve the air we all breathe, promote health and safety, and protect the town’s finances.
So, I am asking for your help, whether you have been in this for the long haul or are new to the discussion. Please write, call, or visit the following people to request that we complete the sidewalk on Norwood Street:
Sharon Board of Selectmen <firstname.lastname@example.org>, Sharon Capital Outlay Committee <email@example.com>, Fred Turkington <firstname.lastname@example.org>
The next Capital Outlay Committee meeting will be on Thursday, December 6, 2018 at 7:00pm at the Community Center, town hearing room. DPW will be presenting its capital requests at the time, so please contact them before and/or attend the meeting.
The next Transportation Advisory Board meeting will be on Tuesday, December 18, 2018 at 7:00pm at the Community Center, upstairs conference room.