A Bicycling Plan for the Town of Needham

In October 2000, Neil Baron developed a comprehensive plan for the development of a bicycling network for Needham. The original goals of the bicycle plan were:

  1. to reduce accident risk to cyclists;
  2. to make cycling an attractive means of transportation;
  3. to provide recreational opportunities that will improve quality of life for Needham’s residents;
  4. to promote a healthy, active lifestyle for citizens of all ages, and especially for children; and
  5. to improve mobility for children, lessening society’s reliance on teenage driving and on parent chauffeurs.

The document deals only with bicycle routes on existing roadways. Other aspects of bicycle planning such as bicycle parking, motorist and cyclist education and enforcement of vehicle laws are not covered. Also not covered are potential off-road bicycle paths (see also the ). Because of the overlap of bicycle and pedestrian needs, it also touches on pedestrian accommodations.

The plan focused on defining and marking bicycle lanes on designated streets, and adding "Needham Bikeway" signs. According to the town engineer, Tony Delgaizo, the current price tag of the plan is around $52,000

First Phase: Signage on existing bikeways (links show proposed routes using gmap-pedometer.com).

  • Greendale Ave.: (2 miles)
  • Great Plain and Harris Ave. (2 miles)
  • Webster Street: (2 miles)
  • Central Ave: (2.7 miles)

Estimated Costs for Phase 1

The only material cost in the first phase is the creation of Needham Bikeway signs. These will be placed at one mile intervals, on each side of the road, along the three targeted routes. Assuming the cost of each sign is $150, the total material cost for Phase 1 is estimated at $4,200, as shown below.

  • Greendale Ave.: 6 signs, $900
  • Great Plain from Greendale To Harris, Harris Ave: 8 signs, $1,200
  • Great Plain from Central to Wellesley Line: 6 signs, $900
  • Central Ave from Great Plain Ave to Newton Line: 8 signs, $1,200

Total (8.5 mi) 28 signs, $4,200

The Role of Private Funding

Although the town or federal funds could cover the cost of the bicycling plan over time, a few town officials have suggested that some private funding would help kick-start the process. In particular, simply purchasing the initial signage as described in the plan would obviate the need to go through the town’s lengthy procurement process.

The fund-raising process has not yet been defined or started.