User-Friendly Lakeville

Last Saturday Lakeville residents came to the town Grove to brainstorm ways to make the village a better place.

The initiative is part of a plan that was hatched last year by town planners to address ongoing concerns and arrive at some larger scale planning for the village.

Michael Klemens, Salisbury’s Planning and Zoning chairman, has noted in this newspaper that developing a community “parcel by parcel” may result in losing an opportunity to look at larger scale planning. That’s what Saturday’s beginning was all about.

The Grove event, reported by Patrick L. Sullivan on Page A1 of this issue, drew about 100 people who gave their input to the P&Z commission and to Colliers Engineeering and Design of Madison, a multi-disciplinary professional services firm with expertise in land-use planning, civil engineering, landscape architecture, traffic engineering, environmental services, and surveying.

The engineering firm is being paid with federal American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds to study and evaluate potential mprovements for:

—Pedestrian access and safety

—Bicyclist access and safety

—Accessibility and utility of public greenspaces

—Traffic circulation

—Parking

—Stormwater Management

From one perspective, Lakeville presents itself as a bucolic New England town, which just happens to be on a major truck route.  Besides the volume of truck traffic, the Colliers engineers are focused on the speed factor and on the configuration of the intersection of Routes 44 and 41. A few miles west, tractor-trailer traffic is a rumbling presence in Millerton, New York, where the village shops and small-town sidewalks get dwarfed when the semis roll through.

The Collier engineers also noted a need in Lakeville to clearly establish areas designated for pedestrians — and for bikes that are separated from vehicular traffic.

The range of establishments in the downtown — from retail stores and commerce, to the post office and churches — all contribute to the diverse and vibrant life of the village and are vital to Lakeville’s future to come.

This is a promising initiative — planning for a more user-friendly Lakeville. As First Selectman Curtis Rand said recently, “It’s like a roadmap. We can gather input, decide on projects and then apply for grants.”

Kudos to the Planning and Zoning Commission for planning for the future and especially for inviting the residents and visitors to share in that work.

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