Envision Wakefield: Downtown Revitalization

envision wakefield downtown revitalization with map pin

2021 Update

For more than two years, residents, merchants, and local organizations have engaged in the Envision Wakefield Downtown Revitalization initiative, conceptualizing a refreshed and improved downtown streetscape. With assistance from VHB, a civil-engineering consulting and design firm, and with input from well over a dozen public meetings and focus groups, the Town is prepared to finalize its preliminary design submission to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). Residents attended a session on February 24, 2021 where the submission was reviewed. 

The Town is seeking funding for the construction of the project through the Boston-region Transportation Improvement Program (TIP). While MassDOT has already approved the scope of the project, established cost estimates, and determined that the framework, safety, and design standards meet federal-funding criteria, the concepts themselves have been modified through the public-input process and must be finalized and formally submitted for review.  This is a dynamic, ongoing design process and modification and improvements will continue to be made as the project advances forward.

Upon receipt and review of Wakefield’s submission, the MassDOT will provide feedback and will host a required 25 percent public hearing, for further input.  In addition, the Town will host additional public forums as the project moves forward. 

Project Background

At Town Meeting in November 2018, residents voted to conduct a design study as part of the Town’s downtown revitalization project. The Town enlisted VHB, a civil-engineering consulting and design firm, to help conceptualize improved transportation for everyone who travels to or through Wakefield center in cars, on foot, by bus, or on bikes. Voters at the April 2019 Town Meeting approved moving into the second phase of design for this project. With resident and merchant input, these concepts will be used to create plans that can be submitted for state and federal funding.
Concept overview videos now available.

Pedestrian-scale lighting, carefully chosen building materials, new trees and sidewalk foliage, and additional medians are proposed. This, along with new areas for outdoor dining, shopping, or other events, can create a more inviting, pedestrian-focused downtown destination. The concepts also aim to improve the flow of traffic and create a better vehicular experience. Intersection geometries can be corrected to improve circulation, adaptive traffic signals can be installed, and wayfinding signs can guide residents and visitors to parking, local designations, and regional routes. There are also opportunities to create parking efficiencies and enhance the beauty and vitality through streetscape improvements.

This initiative can also bring our Main, Water, Albion, and surrounding areas up to standards set forth by the Americans with Disabilities Act, making it universally accessible. This means increased safety at street crossings, including narrowing the crossing distance at some of the widest points of Main Street, and accessible sidewalks.

New to the project?

Take a moment to read the FAQs. If you weren't able to attend the public meetings, all the recordings are available to view.

What's been done so far?

  • Drone flight
  • Field survey
  • Utility survey
  • Base map preparation
  • Traffic data collection
  • Crash data collection
  • Road Safety Audit (RSA)
  • Traffic analysis
  • Side street traffic circulation
  • Side street right of way and geometry
  • Parking evaluation
  • Parking alternatives
  • Site walks and observations
  • Corridor design alternatives
  • Rockery configuration evaluation
  • Construction cost estimates
  • Construction funding eligibility evaluation
  • Public meetings

Aerial map of Wakefield with parts of Main, Albion, Water, Common, and Spaulding streets highlighted