October 7 2019

Burlington to Petition MassDOT for Funds to Fix Cambridge Street Sidewalks

By: Rich Hosford

The Town of Burlington, through its state representative, is set to petition the state for $1 million to fix sidewalks and fill in gaps of sidewalks on Cambridge Street. 


On Monday night the Board of Selectmen voted 4-0 (member Bob Hogan was not in attendance) to have the Town Administrator’s office to send a letter of support for the petition of funds. The vote was taken at the request of Steve Morin of the Sidewalk Study Committee who had spoken to State Rep. Ken Gordon about the possibility of acquiring state funds to help with sidewalk repairs. 


Morin said he and other members of the committee and volunteers had walked the length of Cambridge Street both to check on the condition of the sidewalks and to speak to residents and businesses about their concerns on the integrity of the road’s sidewalks. They have also asked residents throughout town to weigh in with their thoughts on the town’s sidewalks. 


“We received many complaints about the poor conditions of the sidewalks,” Morin told the board. “In addition to wanting new sidewalks residents said they also wanted us to maintain the sidewalks we already have and Cambridge Street was on the top of the list for residents.” 


Morin said that along with areas of deterioration of the sidewalks on Cambridge Street there are also gaps in the walkways that make it difficult to traverse the length of the road. Double telephone poles also are an impediment to people trying to walk down Cambridge Street. These obstacles, Morin said, are especially difficult for people with mobility issues. 


“There is often no room to move around the double poles,” he said. 


Morin explained that the committee had reached out to Rep. Gordon last spring to ask if any state funds were potentially available and that he suggested they petition MassDOT. Cambridge Street is a state roadway. 


Gordon, who was also at the meeting for a different agenda item, also mentioned the petition to MassDOT and said he was ready and willing to go for the full $1 million. He suggested it may be possible the state would come back with a lesser amount but that it was worth asking for the full amount. 


“I’m going to ask for all of it and if I get some that will be great but I’m not going to limit the request beforehand,” he said. 


Members of the board said they were happy to support the request and praised the Sidewalk Study Committee for their hard work. 


“Thank you to everyone who did the survey, it’s really important,” Selectman Nick Priest said. “Sidewalks are crucial not just for people walking their dogs but for people trying to get to a bus or walk to work. Having a good sidewalk infrastructure is extremely important to the community.” 


When asked, Department of Public Works Director John Sanchez said that while $1 million wouldn’t cover the entire expanse of Cambridge Street it would be sufficient to do repairs to some sections. He added that some parts of the street have recently been refurbished and wouldn’t need additional work at this time.


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