Project Update: Community helps guide Route 28, Cotuit congestion options

2017-01-30-Cotuit-Realignment-Proposed
The willingness of project stakeholders and area residents to consider big ideas, such as a relocating he intersection of Routes 28 and 130 (top) and a roundabout at Santuit-Newtown Road (bottom), is representative of the thoughtful public engagement throughout the Route 28, Cotuit Corridor Project. A report will be available for comment this month.

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Route 28 in Barnstable is a major regional east-west transportation corridor on Cape Cod. The section of Route 28 from Santuit-Newtown Road to Route 130 was identified as a priority for investigation. At the request of the Town of Barnstable, the Cape Cod Commission drafted a corridor study over the past year.

This section of road is often congested, particularly in the summer months, and exhibits many safety issues.

Particularly problematic are the three major intersections: Route 28 at Santuit-Newtown Road, Main Street, and Route 130. The purpose of this study is to develop alternatives that will provide safe and convenient access within the study area for all users of the roadway system including pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorists.

The report will be released this month with short and long-term recommendations.

Comments and suggestions received through the extensive community engagement part of the study directed recommendations toward those with a level of acceptability to those living in the area, as well as meeting safety and congestion reduction goals.

A surprise for the Commission team was the willingness of residents and stakeholders to consider a realignment of the Route 130 intersection to the west of its current location as a long-term solution. Historic properties close to the roadway, especially in the immediate area of the existing intersection, make reconfiguration and widening next to impossible.

Along with easier, short term solutions, such as adjusting light cycle times, sliding the intersection west provides necessary room for turning lanes. It would also allow west-bound traffic to turn right on Route 130 without interference from the traffic signal. Such a project would not be inexpensive and would require land takings and/or easements, but it was generally viewed as worth further consideration.

While traffic congestion is the focus for the intersection at Routes 28 and 130, safety is the primary consideration at the other four-way intersection in the corridor. The Santuit-Newtown Road/Route 28 intersection presents some acute safety issues based on its configuration and the volume of traffic. A traffic signal or roundabout are suggested for further investigation.

Short term recommendations include new lane markings to prevent gridlock at the intersection with Main Street, working with the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority to establish a formal transit stop in the area and a Commission-led road safety audit of the intersection with Route 130 and Santuit-Newtown Road.

Providing connectivity for sidewalks and bike paths is also among the recommendations in the report.

The study will serve as a guidance document for the Town of Barnstable and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which has jurisdiction over improvements to state roadways. The segment of Route 28 to the immediate west of this study area will be the subject of its own corridor study in the coming year. Route 130 to Orchard Road in Mashpee will be reviewed for safety and congestion issues.

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