Editorial: No to Downtown Corridor Project by Rob Phipps

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Early proponents of the Downtown Corridor Project described Hopkinton`s Main Street as unattractive, dysfunctional, unsafe for pedestrians, and suffering from dangerous traffic congestion. Ten years of promotion by town officials and Chamber of Commerce plus innumerable D.O.T. design engineering alterations attempting to alleviate traffic and improve safety, have been continually thwarted by the downtown area`s unalterably diversified topography. Traffic solutions remain illusory in our so-called “dense urban environment” and safety improvements will be negligible as traffic will increase. The offset 85/135 intersection will not be straightened and dangerously designed bike lanes invite unwary bicyclists into this challenging traffic environment for the first time in over 40 years. The Main Street Alliance was formed by those of us residents and business owners most directly affected by what we consider to be an unnecessary beautification project that will create an unacceptable disruption to all who live, work, and commute through Hopkinton, while compromising our private property rights.

Despite the attractive lure of state and federal funds, more signage, ramps, bump-outs, blinking lights, we know many of Hopkinton`s citizens remain unaware that traffic will continue unabated with or without the DCP and no one should feel safer downtown because of this Project. We know that no endeavor this size comes in under budget and on time but we are led to believe that current time and cost estimates are gospel. We know that bike lanes aren`t inherently safe AND are optional to use. We know that despite mission statements and promises to the contrary, town officials have failed miserably with their limited and non-existent communications with local businesses and residents over the years. We know it was a big mistake for town officials to let state funding and the recreational demands of a few bicyclists outweigh the rights of downtown property owners.

It`s time to promote what is already right about Hopkinton. An Upton friend recently told me how much she likes to drive through town on Main Street, even in traffic, because of the well-tended old homes, gardens, picket fences, old stone walls, wide streets, obvious pride of ownership. Since then I`ve noticed more and more of what she sees. This Downtown Corridor Project is unnecessary! Although the town has paid $500,000. toward the project, like Thomas Edison who found 10,000 ways NOT to produce electricity, the effort hasn`t been wasted. But it`s time to tell the state to stuff their intrusive bike lanes and distracting ADA mandates, do our own pavement and sidewalk repairs, and prepare for whatever comes next. One of the pointed questions floating around town is, “What about growth and the future of the town?” I would answer not to worry as long as Hopkinton`s location/location, good people, good schools, clean air, lakes and state parks, remain the attractions. However, should new residents admit they chose Hopkinton for its distinctive street lighting, benches, and streetscapes….it would already be too late to worry about Hopkinton`s future.

**This article was written by a group or person in the Hopkinton Community and does not reflect the views of HCAM or any of their Board Members or Employees.**