Setting the Record Straight on the Kelley’s Corner Infrastructure Project

While Terra Friedrichs is certainly entitled to “An Alternative View of the Proposed Acton’s Kelley’s Corner Infrastructure Project”, she is not entitled to her own facts. Scaremongering has no place in this conversation.

In her March 14 column, Ms. Friedrichs speaks of “developers who have stated an intention to build over a hundred luxury condos at the K-Mart parcel”. Ms. Friedrichs, please publicly state the names of those developers and identify their companies.

The Kelley’s Corner zoning district, which includes the K-Mart parcel, is zoned for commercial uses only. Commercial uses include retail businesses, restaurants and office buildings. Commercial use does not include residential condominiums and residential rental apartments. To permit residential uses would require a zoning change needing a two-thirds vote at Town Meeting. No such zoning change is planned or is otherwise in the works.

Ms. Friedrichs ignores mention that the proposed infrastructure design began as a concept growing out of 38 to 40 community meetings held between 2014 and 2016. The “complete streets” concept gained the overwhelming support of these community meetings. Two other concepts, considered and rejected, were one for minimal improvements to the intersection and another for a substantial road widening creating a local version of Rt. 9.

Further community input and study between 2016 and 2018 resulted in the inclusion of a traffic signal at the Community Lane and Massachusetts Avenue intersection and the realignment and signalization of the Charter Road intersection with Massachusetts Avenue at the entrance to the school campus.

The Town has worked diligently to address concerns raised at the 2018 Annual Town meeting. A Main Street realignment has been approved by MassDOT that will preserve all twelve parking spaces at the Bueno Y Sano restaurant. Further up Main Street, a full redesign and realignment was made to eliminate the need for land takings by the Hosmer House. An arborist was retained to evaluate the two larger trees on the north side of Massachusetts Avenue between the Old High School Commons and the Main Street and Massachusetts Avenue intersection. Unfortunately, one tree will be lost and there will be an attempt to save the other tree.

For safer pedestrian crossings, the Main Street and Massachusetts Avenue intersection will be more perpendicularly aligned and the overall crossing distance will be decreased; five new crosswalks along Main Street and Massachusetts Avenue will be added that do not exist today; all crosswalks along Main Street and Massachusetts Avenue will be signalized either with a specific phasing sequence for pedestrians or with a rectangular rapid flashing beacon so that cars will be alerted to stop when a pedestrian initiates the signal push button; and two of the newly proposed crosswalks will provide a mid-crossing protection with a raised landscape pedestrian refuge island.

All Acton Forum readers are invited to attend an Open House Gallery Walk of the project this Thursday, March 21 between 1PM and 3PM and 7PM and 8:30PM in Town Hall 204. Members of the Kelley’s Corner Steering Committee and Town staff will be on hand to answer questions. We hope to see you.

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To Jon's article at Acton

To Jon's article at Acton Forum.

1) the claim that the town has "no plans' to rezone. First of all, note that the town engaged a PR consultant to help get enough votes for the KC rezoning. If the town was not planning the rezoning, why would they do this? See the scope of work here: EconomicDevelopmentProgramTHEN note this presentation just before the town decided to "separate" the rezoning of Kelley's Corner from the Infrastructure vote: Infrastructure Note the first slide: Will the roadway improvements be able to handle additional traffic from a redevelopment of the Kmart property if mixed-use zoning is passed? YES – The roadway improvement plan is designed to accommodate redevelopment in Kelley’s Corner of all underutilized properties, including the “Kmart property” at the highest density allowed under the proposed KC zoning." The minutes of the Kelley's Corner Steering Committee specifically speak to waiting on the zoning til after the infrastructure vote. So there are plans (see comments above), they are just waiting.

2) to the question about "developers"... WinnStanley from Concord, is a developer company, made up of "developers". He and his company have backed away. But anyone who thinks that they or someone like them won't be back, with a 40B proposal or something similar, as soon as this infrastructure thing is approved, I've got a bridge to sell them. Also, see next comment.

3) to the statement "further community input" wanting the turning lanes and can't be just coincidental that this is just about the time that the KMart parcel developers showed up and the CVS mall developer. I realize that the meetings with these developers are "closed door", so there's no public proof... but it's just a little too uncanny that these infra design changes turned up around the same time that these developers did.

4) average crossing distances don't matter to one kid who has to cross one of the longer ones. To suggest that some being shorter and some being longer zero's out the risk to the one kid who has to cross at the longer one seems silly to me. A family was run down while waiting on a "safety island" in Revere not too long ago. One kid killed. The average distance didn't help them.

community meetings

Also, Jon...these 38 to 40 community meetings were almost all supporters of the project. Any criticism (I had plenty) was limited. The businesses when they showed up were silenced. These forums were to check off the box that they held forums. They weren't to get actual input. Even the choices were ridiculously presented. Here's Rt9 in Framingham. Here's no change at all. And then here's the "balanced network" which of course, everyone chose, except me because I protested that the choices were cooked up to support what they wanted to do. That said, IF we moved forward with THAT design, I would not be opposing this so vehemently. But they did not move forward with the design that Town Meeting voted positively on. They added turning lanes and lights and basically anything else these large developers need. And then called that "balanced network" as if we already voted on it!