Town Center Improvement Project

The residents of Weston at the November 29, 2016 Special Town Meeting voted to approve design and engineering fees for the Town Center's Master Plan concept.  Follow progress of the Town Center Planning Committee by subscribing to receive meeting agendas and minutes, and watch for notices of upcoming public design meetings.

The Master Plan includes the following:
  • Level Service Improvements: Resume the deferred maintenance by repairing the curbs, streets, and sidewalks, including the required improvements for handicapped accessibility and drainage upgrades
  • The Master Plan: Reconfigure the location of the curbs and sidewalks to create more continuous and ample sidewalks, safer crosswalks, new open space, and traffic-calming strategies

A Revote

The Master Plan 'Plus', which included all of the features of the Master Plan as well as burying the utilities and removing the poles (pictured below, right) was not approved by Special Town Meeting; however, the vote was extremely close (18 votes).

Because of the close result and because this is a once-in-a-generation opportunity, the committee, with the approval of the Selectmen, are bringing the request for funding this option back to Annual Town Meeting. As a reminder:
  • Burying the utilities removes the utility poles and overhead wires, and allows for new trees to be planted along Boston Post Road between Colpitts Road and School Street
  • The request is an additional $456,000 because each of the utility companies will need to mobilize their own design teams
  • The tax impact:
    • Per $100,000 of assessed valuation - $285.577
    • For the median valued home - $3,289.75
    • Median valued home, average per year over 20 years - $164.49

A view without the utilities as compared to now

bury utilities view 1
Bury utilities view 2

Next Steps for Master Plan

 Approval of the design and engineering fees for the Master Plan has allowed for the concepts shown below and on the "Project Views" page to move towards additional development. This will include additional public input.

After the design phase, another Town Meeting vote will be required for the construction funds. The Level Service and Master Plan together will be $6.1 million in total. Tax impacts are below: 

Tax Impact

How much will my tax bill go up for this project?
  Article 1 Articles 1 & 2
Per $100,000 of assessed valuation: $77.61 $151.66
For the median valued home of $1,156,000: $894.11 $1,747.09
Median valued home, average per year over 20 years: $44.70  $87.35
level service-mp-mpp reduced.jpg

Historical Context

The last time Weston residents invested in a major safety and beautification project for the Town Center was 1912 when Arthur Shurtleff, an important landscape architect, was hired to design the beautiful and historically significant Town Green. Catalyzed by the emerging “menace of the motorcar” and storm water issues in the low-lying area behind the old town hall, Mr. Shurtleff’s elegant solution was as much a place-making project as a technical response. (Read more about the Shurtleff plan on Utile’s blog). It’s been 104 years since that landmark achievement.

Shurtleff Plan (1912)
Arthur Shurtleff’s original plan from 1912 created the Town Common that we know today. The trees were strategically positioned in order to direct important views through the Town Common, and from the Common to the Town Center.

Safety and Beautification

Fast-forward to 2016. Boston Post Road has become a by-pass to the Route 20 by-pass, with cars speeding through the Town Center during non-rush hour times, and paralyzed at rush hour by the confounding Church Street/School Street intersection. The proposed Master Plan dramatically increases pedestrian safety with better-located and shorter crosswalks, better sight-lines, and traffic calming strategies.

At the same time, the Plan improves the pedestrian connections and views between the Town Green, Josiah Smith Tavern and the Old Library, and the commercial heart of the Town. The Master Plan would make it easier for people to park once and walk, rather than drive short distances while doing errands.

View 02 cropped
This view looking north from above Brothers Marketplace shows the improved, easier-to-navigate parking, as well as the three new open spaces: The Terrace (left foreground), Town Square (center), and Knox Park (background next to the pharmacy). Additionally, connectivity between the Town Center, Town Green, and Town Hall (visible in the far background) is improved, both physically and perceptually.

Circulation and Parking

The proposed plan does not reduce the number of parking spaces, but rather consolidates them at the most convenient and desirable locations. At the same time, the turning radii for fire trucks and service and delivery vehicles have been carefully considered. The result is a better arrangement of driveways and parking areas that will be more functional, intuitive, and attractive for customers and visitors, with a net gain of 6 parking spaces.

Parking Diagram cropped
Diagram illustrating the redistribution of parking spaces across the Town Center, with a net gain of six parking spaces. The aim of this improved design is to make parking simpler, and for visitors to park once and walk between various businesses in Town Center, rather than driving and parking multiple times per visit, as is more common today.

Improved Sidewalks

The plan is predicated on putting Boston Post Road on a “lane diet” that doesn’t reduce the number of lanes or traffic capacity, but rather maintains a constant 12 foot lane dimension through the Town Center. This allows for the widening of sidewalks precisely where the sidewalks are in need of the most attention. In addition, the real estate gained by the “lane diet” will allow for better transitions from the sloped driveways on the south side of Boston Post Road. In the future, delivery trucks won’t bottom out when exiting the Brother’s Marketplace service area.

Reclaimed Space Diagram resized
By maintaining consistent lane widths, improving sidewalk conditions, and simplifying circulation patterns, nearly one acre of land is reclaimed for pedestrians (represented in blue). The result is a more continuous and accessible Town Center, with the addition of three new open spaces.