With improvements made to various sections of town in recent years, the city is aiming to revitalize the downtown Main Street area starting Oct. 5, according to city employees.
During a recent press conference at City Hall, Mayor Rob Dolan said the city has made improvements to areas includng Cedar Park, Melrose Highlands and West Wyoming Avenue; however, the downtown area is targeted for renovations in the near future.
"...We are going to focus on our downtown Main Street district, with a renovation project that will make the street more attractive, more pedestrian-friendly, and more handicap accessible (which means easier for people with strollers to navigate as well)," Dolan wrote on his blog. "The project will begin on Friday, Oct. 5, and (weather permitting) will run on a very aggressive schedule; by doing the most disruptive work at night and less intensive work during the day, we hope to complete the project in (10) days."
DPW Superintendent and City Engineer Bob Beshara discussed different aspects of the downtown renovation project.
"What we want to do is street repairs essentially. We want to do a curb-to-curb reconstruction, not a total reconstruction, grinding of the pavement out from Upham Street to West Wyoming Avenue (because) the pavement there is in very bad shape," Beshara said. "There are a lot of potholes and trenches there so we're going to take that stuff away. We're going to do safety repairs on the sidewalks and get rid of all the trip hazards and all the stuff the elderly tend to trip on on these sidewalks and hurt themselves."
Beshara said all the handicap ramps will be improved and made ADA accessible, and Dolan noted that "we don't have many curb cuts on Main Street and that's a big problem. And, some of our crosswalks go into live parking lots."
Other improvements planned for the project include:
- Traffic-calming devices, such as adding bump-outs at the two mid-block crosswalks located at CVS and Petrone's Pizza.
- Single-post bike stalls that two bikes can be locked to.
- Painting traffic signal posts black
- Replacing dying trees with new ones, as well as adding them to areas where there are none.
Dolan acknowledged that the improvements will cause disturbances both during the day and at night, as parking on Main Street will be disrupted during the day while night work will bother some residents in the neighborhood trying to sleep.
Night work will start Oct. 5 and run from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m., while the day work kicks off Oct. 8, according to the plan. Prior to the work starting, all Main Street businesses will be notified of the work planned by the city, according to Dolan.
The city will be posting updates on the project on the city website, according to Dolan's blog. For more information, or to discuss a specific concern, contact the Engineering Office of Public Works at 781-979-4178. To reach DPW personnel after hours, call the Melrose Police Department at 781-665-1212 and calls will be returned within 15 minutes, the blog noted.