Letter received today about sidewalks on Harding Street –
To Medfield Board of Selectmen,
As a resident of Hospital Road I was dismayed when I recently watched the July 21 selectman’s meeting on Medfield TV where the prospect of adding sidewalk access into town via Harding Street was discussed but it was concluded that it should be put on the “back burner”. If there is one place where a sidewalk has been long over due and needs to be seriously addressed it is the Harding area now more than ever. As it stands the only safe access to the athletic fields, sledding hill and the hospital property is by car due to the dangerous intersection at Hospital Road and Harding Street as well as the sharp curve on Harding that follows into town. This should be a troubling fact given that this area is one of the most popular and heavily traveled destinations by thousands of residents and children year round. To continue to ignore the existing need for sidewalk for this area is extremely poor planning in the least and will not be cost effective in the long run as it is inevitable that accessibility to the area is going to need to be improved due to the development we know will happen.
Currently there are only scattered sidewalks on the north side of Medfield and none of them lead to a destination point with the exception of the Hospital Road sidewalk. As a result it would make sense to find a way to continue that sidewalk into town and there are a few workable options other than installing a sidewalk directly down Harding Street to North Street which would involve wetland issues. If a sidewalk could be continued from Hospital Road down Harding Street to the north side of West Mill (where the trees are set back) and then up to Adams Street and into town that would give access not only to the Senior Center and Kingsbury Club but also the Memorial/Dale St schools. Another scenario would be to utilize the current sidewalk on Copperwood Road and at the end of the cul de sac have a sidewalk only cut through to Ice House Road and then West Mill to Adams. As Ken Feeney brought up in the meeting a sidewalk installation on Adams Street would be less of a problem as the houses and poles are already set back. However, with both these scenarios the intersection at Adams and West Mill would have to be reconfigured to make it safer to cross as would the fork at North and Harding if that sidewalk option were to be pursued.
As stated previously the Hospital Road sidewalk is the only sidewalk on the north side of town that actually leads to a destination and as a result it sustains heavy use. Now that the town owns the land and is in charge of the maintenance of the sidewalk it would be extremely helpful to the many residents who walk that way on a daily basis to have the overgrowth cleared from the sidewalk near the stone gate entrance and in front of the old Harding house as now the sidewalk is impassable at that point. Also, during the winter months the Hospital Road sidewalk is never plowed so it is completely unusable for any residents who still want to get out and take a walk, walk their dogs or more importantly for the children who want to access the sledding hill safely without having to walk in the busy road. If that can be addressed as well it would be greatly appreciated.
I hope you will reconsider a sidewalk proposal for the Harding area and put ideas and planning on the front burner as it would not only be an improvement to the quality of life but it is a safety issue that needs to be addressed and is long overdue.
Thank you for your time and consideration
20 Hospital Road