What’s in Store for Route 9?
Local officials host a series of meetings about reducing traffic by way of mixed-use communities along the secondary highway.
Route 9 is one of Massachusetts’ most historic roadways. It bisects the enitre state laterally, providing access to many of Massachusetts’ smaller towns and includes many shopping options along the entire road.
However, it’s common traffic lights and single-lane areas can cause a gridlock nightmare for those who have to commute on the highway near the urban centers of Boston and Worcester.
The Metropolitan Area Planning Council along with the MetroWest Regional Collaborative will begin a series of meetings May 22 on how to reduce traffic on Route 9 by way of a method called Smart Growth, which includes the strategic placement of mixed-use facilities – residential, commercial and retail in one location – along the highway.
MAPC Transportation Planner Alison Felix said in a phone interview the purpose of these types of locations is to reduce the number of trips needed in a car.
“It’s an area where [people] might live there, they might work there and easily be able to go to a restaurant there, all without needing to make a trip to a different location,” she said.
The meetings will focus on an 18-mile expanse of Route 9, which stretches from Wellesley, across Natick and Framingham, to Southborough.
Felix said there would also be an emphasis on making Route 9 – specifically within these Smart Growth areas – more friendly for pedestrians compared to the “rows of strip malls or businesses” that currently line the highway.
Any change to the area would take several years, Felix says, and MAPC and the regional collaborative are in the process of seeking citizen feedback on the idea through this meeting series.
The first meeting will take place Tuesday, May 22 at 7 p.m. in Dwight Hall Performing Arts Center at Framingham State University. The meeting is free and open to the public, but MAPC has provided a place to register for the event online.