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Barnstable Hyannis downtown project public improvement ideas wanted – Cape Cod Times

HYANNIS — Give Jeff Speck enough time and he’s bound to convince people that Main, South and a few other streets in the downtown area should be turned into two-way roads. He’s willing to bet that restriping the white lines into double-yellow for two-way traffic will slow traffic and revitalize the downtown by making it safer and more pedestrian-friendly. 
Speck is a well-known city planner, author and proponent of walkable downtowns. He was one of the featured speakers at a Great Streets Downtown Hyannis kick-off presentation last month. The project is being coordinated by Barnstable Planning Department Director Elizabeth Jenkins and her staff in conjunction with Speck and Stantec Engineering
In his book, Walkable City, Speck argues that downtowns can save America if only we make them safer. His presentation showed possible transformations to downtown Hyannis that would do just that. 
Among his suggestions: 
Speck’s suggestions come from decades of working with planners reshaping downtowns across the country. His “tools” for making downtowns better, one step at a time, come with data to back him up.  
Decreasing lane widths results in cars traveling at slower speeds, lower crash numbers and less serious impacts, including incidents involving pedestrians. He said changing out traffic signals with four-way stop signs lends itself to fewer crashes, fewer pedestrian injuries, and fewer serious injuries when there is a crash. And Speck contends there is less congestion, and traffic moves ‘faster’ with stop signs rather than lights.  
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There is no waiting for a light to turn green, he said. Everyone takes their turn. The result is no congestion, calmer traffic, and faster overall travel through the downtown. 
Stantec Planner Jason Schrieber said downtown planning changes in the last 10 years have stressed safety, connectivity, smaller blocks averaging 300 feet wide, and two-way traffic that disperses traffic rather than creates pinch points. 
The Great Streets Downtown Hyannis project focuses on an area bounded by North and South streets, and the rotary at West Main Street to Lewis Bay Road. Troublesome areas have been identified, such as the six-way intersection where Old Colony, Ocean, and South streets intersect.  
The Planning Department is looking for comments from community members. A survey on the town website asks respondents to select preferences from a variety of design elements including options for green space, walkways, pedestrian crossings and parking. The survey is a quick read and is available online. 
An interactive map of the project area lets people pin ideas, suggestions, and issues with specific locations. Suggestions have included creating housing above retail along Main Street, finding uses for vacant lots, better dumpster placement, and creating pedestrian overpasses at busy intersections.  
A video of the presentation is available to watch on the website posted below.  
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Jenkins said the project would take into consideration comments from the community received from the survey and interactive map. A Portuguese version will be available soon, she said.  
“We’ve been talking about the Great Streets projects for decades,” Jenkins said. “We needed people with the vision to convince people we could do this.” 
The town plans to host another public meeting with Speck and Stantec in late January. The timeline for the project includes refining the preferred design in February and March 2023. A third public meeting will be held in April 2023. The town plans to submit a final plan in May 2023. 
The survey and interactive map and more information about the project can be found at: https://engagestantec.mysocialpinpoint.com/hyannis-streetscape/share/51ef9186  
Contact Denise Coffey at dcoffey@capecodonline.com. Follow her on Twitter: @DeniseCoffeyCCT.  
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