When hikers try to cross the highways while following the Skyline Trail, they must face traffic and speedy cars. Here are two of the biggest reasons why improving these crossings is challenging. (But challenges that are can certainly be overcome!)
- Too Many Cooks (or rather government agencies…) One of the biggest challenges to creating a safer crossing is that the highways and the land surrounding the highways are owned and maintained by different government agencies. The Blue Hills Reservation is managed by the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) and the roads themselves are maintained by the Department of Transportation (MassDOT). According to Canton Selectman Mark Porter, “there’s a number of different agencies that are sort of players in this overall combination and trying to find a solution to it.” The agency that will likely have financial responsibility of finding a solution will be the MassDOT, so they have a big role in deciding where, when, and how a solution is determined.
- Will take a while… Another challenge, according to Porter, is that the MassDOT has conducted a large scale study of Route 138, assessing the various residential, industrial, and commercial areas that it runs through. This study addresses pedestrian activity as well as overall traffic in areas beyond the stretch that runs through the Blue Hills. Porter states that a “draft of that study, which is 259 pages, came out this past week and calls this a ‘medium priority’ piece of this overall reconstruction that they are going to do.” These changes are being discussed for fiscal year 2021 at the earliest.