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August 13. 2014 10:04PM

Town Council approves discontinuing 2 Bedford roads

BEDFORD — The Town Council unanimously approved the discontinuance of portions of Harvey and Bedford Center roads at its meeting on Wednesday night.

The discontinuance of Harvey Road was approved with little discussion. Planning Director Rick Sawyer explained that Harvey Road and Autumn Lane were extended in 1995, leading to two “bulb areas” that no longer needed to be public roadways.

“What is before you tonight is to formally convey those bulb areas remaining, from the cul-de-sac, back to the property owners,” Sawyer said.

No public comments were made. The council approved the motion unanimously.

The Bedford Center Road item, however, led to a lengthier discussion.

The request before the council, Sawyer said, was most closely aligned with the portion of Bedford Center Road near the Route 101 Plaza. Sawyer said that, as part of the request, access to Route 101 would be closed.

The town would work with the state to remove pavement, and the portion of the road to be closed would become part of the driveway into the plaza.

Steven Keach, president of Bedford-based Keach-Nordstrom & Associates, representing the owner of the Route 101 Plaza, offered to answer questions. Councilor Normand Longval expressed concern that drivers might cut through the parking lot, after the road portion is incorporated into the driveway.

“Part of the site plan that we are in the process of advancing to the Planning Board…[include] some restructuring of the parking lot to create a sense of order that may not exist there today,” Keach said. “Is that going to prevent people from cutting through as they do now? Probably not, but it’s going to make it more difficult for them.”

Chairman Chris Bandazian said he felt the expansion of the plaza driveway would be “an important safety improvement.”

He added, “To eliminate a curb cut that is situated right at the start of a turning lane, to me, makes a great deal of sense.”Unlike with the discontinuance of Harvey Road, several residents spoke during the public comment portion to discuss the Bedford Center Road item.

Susan Tufts-Moore, of 27 Bedford Center Road, asked if there would be an exit from the plaza back onto Bedford Center Road. Keach said the intent was to maintain two-way traffic from the driveway, allowing shoppers to both enter from and exit back onto Bedford Center Road.

Kate Hanna, of 58 Bedford Center Road, said she was concerned that the road would become one-way and asked exactly what it would be for the road to be discontinued.

Keach explained that discontinuing that segment of Bedford Center Road would no longer be under control under the town, but was “not intended to mean that the passageway ceases to exist.”

After the public hearing, Bandazian asked Department of Public Works director Jim Stanford if the section of Bedford Center Road closer to the Bedford Village Inn was in worse shape than the area being discussed, and if the project to improve that area would also be moved up. Stanford said that was not likely.“There’s enough separation between the two roads … so it doesn’t necessarily have to be at the same time,” Stanford replied.

Councilor Kelleigh Domaingue made a motion to approve the release from all public servitude the portion of the road near the plaza, and to allow Town Manager Steve Daly to sign any required documentation related to the matter. The motion was approved unanimously.

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