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 stormwater 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.