Plans call for a 10-foot-wide shared use path along the west side of Route 1 from Foreside Tavern to the Cumberland town line. Contributed / Town of Falmouth

Falmouth residents weighed in last week on proposed Route 1 improvements designed to make the corridor more accessible and safer for pedestrians and bicyclists.

The preliminary Route 1 North Infrastructure Plan is expected to be finalized this summer with goal of completing the work in 2024, according to Theo Holtwijk, Falmouth’s director of long range planning. The project has a tentative cost of about $8.5 million, but the final cost will depend on which solutions are chosen, he said.

The plan includes a 10-foot-wide shared use path along the west side of Route 1 from Foreside Tavern to the Cumberland town line.

Of the 30 members of the public attending the meeting, 41% favored removing the on-off ramps at the Falmouth Spur and building new ramps on the east side of Route 1 so traffic can enter and exit from the same direction. Another option was to bring the existing ramps in at a smaller angle.

For the intersection of Route 1 and Johnson Road, 74% of the meeting attendees said they would prefer a roundabout over adding left-turn lanes.

Matt Belcher of Wisteria Circle said he’s timed his stop at the Johnson Road intersection at three or four minutes in the early hours of the morning with no traffic and thinks the roundabout will cut down on time.

Resident Richard Flowerdew, though, was skeptical.

“If there’s a propensity of traffic going in two directions it can be almost possible to get on,” he said.

Of the residents at the meeting responding to a question about lighting, 41% said they preferred pedestrian-scale lighting as opposed to streetlight fixtures on the utility poles on the east side of Route 1 or minimal lighting at the bus stops as well as at the Johnson Road and Northbrook Drive intersections.

“I think the only option is pedestrian lighting,” Dick Shryock of Woodward Lane said. “Lighting on the utility poles would be on the east side and the path will be on the west side so this option wouldn’t be advantageous.”

The project is expected to be paid for through revenue from tax district agreements and grants.

“The long-term future of the town will really depend on bike, pedestrian and all modalities of transportation along the entire corridor of Route 1,” said Chris Wasileski, chairman of the ad hoc Route 1 North Committee created in 2017.

The preliminary design can be found on the town website. To offer additional comments, search “Route 1 North Infrastructure Plan 2021” at falmouth.org.

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