In October 2000, Neil Baron developed a comprehensive plan for the development of a bicycling network for Needham. The original goals of the bicycle plan were:
- to reduce accident risk to cyclists;
- to make cycling an attractive means of transportation;
- to provide recreational opportunities that will improve quality of life for Needham’s residents;
- to promote a healthy, active lifestyle for citizens of all ages, and especially for children; and
- to improve mobility for children, lessening society’s reliance on teenage driving and on parent chauffeurs.
The document deals only with bicycle routes on existing roadways. Other aspects of bicycle planning such as bicycle parking, motorist and cyclist education and enforcement of vehicle laws are not covered. Also not covered are potential off-road bicycle paths (see also the Bay Colony Rail Trail website). Because of the overlap of bicycle and pedestrian needs, it also touches on pedestrian accommodations.
The plan focused on defining and marking bicycle lanes on designated streets, and adding “Needham Bikeway” signs. According to the town engineer, Tony Delgaizo, the current price tag of the plan is around $52,000
First Phase: Signage on existing bikeways (links show proposed routes using gmap-pedometer.com).
- Greendale Ave.: Kendrick St. to Great Plain Ave. (2 miles)
- Great Plain and Harris Ave. from Greendale To Harris Ave. to Dedham Ave. (2 miles)
- Webster Street: Harris Ave to Central Ave. (2 miles)
- Central Ave: Great Plain Ave. to Newton line (2.7 miles)
Phase 1 has been completed
The first phase of the implementation involved adding about 20 Needham Bikes to not only indicate good cycling routes but also to raise awareness to cyclists and motorists alike that cycling is an encouraged use of the roadways.
These signs were added to the following locations:
- Greendale Ave.: 6 signs
- Great Plain from Greendale To Harris Ave: 2 signs
- Harris Ave: 2 signs
- Great Plain from Central to Wellesley Line: 2 signs
- Central Ave from Great Plain Ave to Newton Line: 4 signs
- Town entrances: 8 signs
Phase 1 placed signage in the most obvious and accommodating routes in the town, and raised awareness by placing the signs at the town borders.
More work is required to determine priorities for the next phase of work – either as outlined in the current bike plan (link below), or a revised version of that plan that would be developed and proposed to the Town.