At a public meeting of the Ipswich Conservation Commission on March 4, 2020, the Commission declined to consider requests by several Ipswich residents that they not approve a proposal for raising a 1200 ft. section of Jeffreys Neck Road that does not include adequate accommodation for pedestrians and cyclists. The Commission voted to approve the Notice of Intent (NOI) for Jeffreys Neck Road reconstruction, but residents at the meeting were told that safety considerations were outside of the Commission’s purview. Ipswich Select Board member Kerry Mackin suggested that the Select Board could hold a public session in the future.
Kevin McHugh of Coneco Engineers spoke for the NOI for the project, but stated that after receiving several complaints about the pedestrian and cyclists safety issue, a 10′ travel lane with 3′ shoulders is being discussed.
In June, 2018 the Town of Ipswich adopted a Complete Streets policy. The intent of the Ipswich Select Board, as adopted, is to consistently design and construct projects to accommodate all anticipated users.
A public forum on the morning of February 5, 2020 brought out concerns among several attendees about preliminary concepts for raising sections of Argilla Rd. 1.5 ft. and Jeffreys Neck Road by 2 ft. to reduce the occurrence of flooding and roadway closures during major storms. Both roads have become vulnerable to increased high tide flooding due to the effects of sea level rise, which is expected to become considerably higher in the coming decades due to global warming.
Ironically, neither plan includes adequate accommodation for pedestrians or cyclists, although Argilla and Jeffreys Neck Roads are among the most popular cycling and walking destinations. Mass DOT recommends the following widths for bicycling lanes:
“The bike lane zone should also be wide enough to accommodate the volume of
users. For one-way separated bike lanes with low volumes of bicyclists (less than
150 per peak hour), the recommended width of the bike lane zone is 6.5 ft. This is the width needed to enable passing movements between bicyclists. In constrained conditions where the recommended width cannot be achieved, the bike lane zone can be a minimum of 5 ft. wide.”
The Ipswich Community Development Plan, adopted at Town Meeting supports cycling and walking, and recommends the development of additional trails and sidewalks. In 2019, the town of Ipswich joined 240 other communities around the state by taking on the designation of Green Community.
Argilla Road Conceptual Plan
The plan for Argilla Road shows a 11′ automotive travel land and a 2′ paved shoulder.
The proposed Ipswich to Crane Beach Trail was a project develop a cycling and pedestrian trail starting from the Ipswich Depot and continuing alongside Argilla Rd. to Crane Beach. When the project was conceived in 1996, approximately 70 percent of Argilla Road homeowners endorsed the concept, along with the Ipswich Board of Selectmen, the Essex County Trail Association, the Boston Bay Circuit Alliance, Ipswich Bay Circuit, Essex County Greenbelt, the National Park Service, Metropolitan Area Planning Council, and the Trustees of Reservations.
During the decade after the trail was first conceived, a committee dedicated to making this idea a reality obtained grants to produce a master plan, right-of-way survey, detailed base map, and updated wetlands mapping. At a 2011 public meeting at the Ipswich Town Hall, a group of Argilla Road homeowners raised objections, citing “environmental concerns” while another stated that she “would not want to see more cyclists on the road since I already see too many cars.” Another resident expressed concerns that the trail would “go through people’s living rooms.”
Although the proposal has been sidelined for several years, any reconstruction of Argilla Road should be built to accommodate the trail in the future.
Jeffreys Neck Road
At a public meeting of the Ipswich Conservation Commission on March 4, 2020, the Commission declined to consider requests by Ipswich residents that they not approve a proposal for Jeffreys Neck Road that does not include adequate accommodation for pedestrians and cyclists. Current plans show a 11.5′ travel lane with guardrails. Little or no shoulder is provided in the illustration above.
The US DOT recommends a travel lane width of 9′ to 12′ for rural roadways, as shown in the graph below. For additional information or to register your opinion about the projects, contact Frank Ventimiglia, Ipswich Public Works, at 978-356-6612 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
TOWN OF IPSWICH TRANSPORTATION POLICY
The Ipswich Community Development Plan, adopted at Town Meeting in 2003 includes the following:
Support non-automotive transportation modes including cycling and walking. As part of this policy, the Community Development Plan recommends the development of additional trails and sidewalks as well as efforts to support bicycling.
Provide viable non-automobile modes of transportation for Ipswich residents and workers.
a) Provide residents and visitors with transportation alternatives by providing safe and accessible sidewalks, crosswalks, and other pedestrian amenities.
b) Foster a safe street environment for pedestrians and cyclists.
c) Encourage recreational and commuter bicycling in Ipswich by providing bicycle facilities on existing roads wherever practical.
Bicycle and Pedestrian Access
While the capacity of the street system and public transit modes are important, so too are the needs of bicyclists, joggers and pedestrians. As the public’s interest in health and physical fitness grows, the needs of this growing segment of the population should also be considered. In addition, biking and walking are viable modes of commuting for many Ipswich residents, either alone or in combination with the commuter rail.
- Jeffreys Neck Road Design Plans, revised November 6, 2019
- Notice of Intent (NOI) for Jeffreys Neck Road reconstruction
- Town of Ipswich in Partnership with The Trustees Receives a $163,000
Coastal Resilience Grant for 2nd Phase of Argilla Road Adaptation Project
- Resilient Road Design Public Workshop Invite
- CZM Grant Argilla Road
- Climate Resiliency Committee
- Jeffreys Neck Flood Assessment (2013)