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POLL: How Walkable is Milford?

How easy is it to navigate Milford without a car? Not so much, according to a survey.

Milford is "car dependent." And are we really surprised by that?

Is it possible to get from point A to point B in town without a car? According to a recent survey of Massachusetts communities, it's not. Milford ranked 45 out of 100 for "walkability."

This places the town squarely in the "car dependent" zone.

A state project to improve sidewalks and intersection crossings on Main Street, from to Water Street, should help with Main Street.

And a campaign recently begun by Healthy Futures Milford Coalition aims to get people walking more often.

Is this enough to get us out of the cars?

Tell us what you think, and what could be done to make things better.

Milford Senior Man July 19, 2012 at 01:32 PM
On foot I crossed the intersection where Dilla St meets Cedar St (by Wendy's hamburgers). Now that was scary.
UglyHat July 19, 2012 at 01:46 PM
Sidewalks alone will not solve Milford’s “walkability problem”, assuming you believe it to be a problem. Things in Milford are spread out and we have a lot of hills in Milford. Is it really a lack of sidewalks keeping people from walking from Depot Street to the courthouse, or to Target? Bowdoin Drive to Fino Field has sidewalks the whole way but its 2.5 miles and it’s uphill the whole way back. Face it, people don’t walk because it’s harder than driving and it takes a lot longer. A big sidewalk project will probably make driving through town more difficult though. It may also raise property and other taxes, and it will keep that police detail money rolling in.
Mary MacDonald (Editor) July 19, 2012 at 02:28 PM
I had my car worked on a while back at Bob's, and I rode my bike in from Upton to pick it up. And found that scary enough to not do again. But it's nice to not have to rely on the car, especially when the weather is nice. I wouldn't walk on the roads without sidewalks here, in Upton, which also got a "car dependent" rating in this survey...
Kathy July 19, 2012 at 03:11 PM
I was at the traffic light at Cedar and Dilla last week. A group of 10 children and adults crossed Cedar on the Gulf station side with the light... it made my heart pound watching them come so close to getting hit. Once across, they tried to cross to Wendy's when I realized, with all the new shopping/business areas on Fortune Blvd, not one crosswalk is at the Dilla Cedar St. intersection. Thank God it was daytime! How could Milford establish business zones with NO CROSSWALKS!!!!! Not a car stopped for the group, then the right turn arrow was lit for the change of signal. They had no prayer of getting across the street until one car stopped. The wait seemed endless. One person has died near that intersection on foot. Milford needs crosswalks there!
UglyHat July 19, 2012 at 03:13 PM
I agree Mary, biking on-road can be scary in the burbs too – that’s not just a city problem. I used to ride from Milford to work in Natick. Most days were fine but there were plenty of near-death experiences. And I sort of agree that it’s nice to not need a car but we do live in the suburbs, it sort of comes with the territory. I’ll take the woods and farms with my car over the walkability of city-life any day.
Mary MacDonald (Editor) July 19, 2012 at 03:41 PM
We should be able to have both! I think a "car dependent" town means you don't have a choice, even when you want one. Not everyone has a car, and it's just so much better to be able to get around safely, if that's what you choose to do. I saw a house for sale, near the trail, and with a sidewalk in front. And I remember thinking: that's the one I'd want. Plus, just walking a dog can be a reason to need a walkable town. Where I live, I can walk to what passes for a supermarket in Upton, and I can get to the little downtown area, too. But I can't get to Upton State Forest safely, without a car. That's too bad....
UglyHat July 19, 2012 at 05:05 PM
And that is where our disagreement begins. Yes it would be nice to have everything, but things cost money. If Milford had sidewalks everywhere, many, if not most would see very little usage. But the cost to install, maintain and plow would remain forever. There are a lot of older homeowners on or near fixed incomes in town who should not be forced to move because people want everything and don’t care who pays for it – even if they will likely never use it. I do agree with Kathy that better planning and more crosswalks, especially at the Dilla St./Fortune Blvd. intersection would be good.
Mary MacDonald (Editor) July 19, 2012 at 05:34 PM
I don't think we're so far off... everything is not what I said we should have. But sidewalks and bike lanes connecting heavily traveled areas? Absolutely! It's not a Milford thing. This is beyond one town...
G Linden July 19, 2012 at 05:42 PM
Milford is walkable in good weather. I'm not afraid of a good long walk at all, but it isn't walkable for kids...if you live less than a mile from the school 1st graders and up (and their families...including younger siblings) have to walk. Fine in good weather, but in rain and snow it is dangerous because there are no sidewalks on parts of the route, yet the school district calls these areas the 'walk zone' and they don't provide buses even at a fee. Everyone in Milford pays taxes, but not everyone gets access to sidewalks or transportation and my experience is that the majority of people in the 'walk zone' just drive to school and then idle their engines in the pickup lines forever rather than try to fix the issue (that either we need cleared safe sidewalks or bus transportation for students.) It is really a pity.
UglyHat July 19, 2012 at 06:06 PM
I know you didn’t ask for ‘everything’, but no one ever asks for everything. They just ask for one thing at a time, insisting each thing is a critical need until suddenly it is not affordable for many long-time, elderly or low income people to live there.
UglyHat July 19, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Oops - typo. Should have said long-time residents.
UglyHat July 19, 2012 at 06:40 PM
That’s a good point G Linden and one I’ve often thought about. Many towns in this area have ‘Green Initiatives’ to increase recycling or reduce power consumption or ‘save the planet’ in one way or another. Then they cut the school budget so that busses must be restricted, which causes a ‘car for every kid’ situation. Ironic.
eric July 20, 2012 at 02:05 AM
Better than driving.
Tim Doyle July 20, 2012 at 05:19 PM
I'm 19 years old, I don't have my drivers license, and I live on Purchase Street (in my opinion one of the busiest streets in Milford). I'd just like to throw in my 2 cents about this topic. I get rides when I can if I have to go far, but I don't like to rely on other people. I spend a lot of time walking and/or riding my bike year-round, in any weather, and at any time of day/night. Know the rules of the road, use good judgement/decision making and you should be fine. For example: bikes (are supposed to) follow the same rules as cars; they stop at lights and stop signs, use turning lanes, use hand signals, be predictable, and if you're riding at night, use lights. Also, WEAR A HELMET. I think of it this way: "I like to ride my bike and do the things I do.....I wouldn't be able to do them very well if my head was split open." If you're walking use a sidewalk. If there is no sidewalk walk on the left side of the road facing traffic (as far to the left as possible). If you are walking at night USE LIGHTS! (A lot of cell phones have a flashlight app now, but even just opening up your cell phone and waving it around when cars are coming can be enough to save your life). I agree that sidewalks and crosswalks need to be added in certain areas. Some street lights on poorly lit roads could help too. It also seems that the drivers of Milford are not used to bikes/pedestrians on the road and I see far too many bikes/pedestrians not following simple rules. USE COMMON SENSE!
Shannon Pataky July 20, 2012 at 05:35 PM
I've blogged about sidewalks in milford a few months ago. I live in a different part of town now, and we do walk everywhere. The center of town is actually quite accessable sidewalk wise. My kids are more then the mile away from school, but on days I don't have to bring them out of town after school, we walk home. East main street area and fortune blvd, I would NEVER walk them towards that area unless on the bike path. Dilla street is terrifying. But, just like when I was a kid, kids make paths to avoid this. people get mad seeing teenagers cut through thier back yards, but it's safer. this is how the bike path started, a bunch of people walking through the woods along old tracks to avoid cedar street.
Not a Townie July 21, 2012 at 07:50 PM
Excellent points - the most dangerous places for walking are also the busiest for traffic - Dilla Street, Purchase Street, Congress Street. Yes, one side of Dilla, Purchase and Congress has a sidewalk (partially), but could I tell you the number of times I have seen pedestrians almost get hit from walking in the street, especially bothersome with school children trying to make their way home....it's far too dangerous for people to walk in certain sections of Milford, plain and simple.
MilfordMomof3 July 22, 2012 at 03:55 PM
Dilla street is scary, I wouldn't cross anywhere except at the bike trail for fear of being hit. Even at the trail with blinking lights, several cars will zoom by and ignore you trying to cross. Not to mention the lack of sidewalks on Dilla as you get closer to Cedar. Purchase St is ok as long as it hasn't snowed and it isn't trash day. Residents cover the sidewalks in trash cans and recycling, forcing you to walk in the street and shovel their driveways onto the sidewalks. I can't walk my kids to Memorial on trash day or in winter because of this. My vote is definitely a car town. People drive way too fast and carelessly for me to comfortably walk to most of my destinations

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