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HomeStudy finds no traffic increases for proposed apartment complex

Study finds no traffic increases for proposed apartment complex

abass@northstarreporter.com

An official study has found no significant traffic increases would be caused by establishing an apartment complex  on Draper Avenue.

The study, which was done by the town, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the engineering company Vanasse and Associates, is one part of the required planning to build a four-story apartment with 40 rented units and 66 parking spaces. The project is proposed by Lobisser Companies. The study was conducted to determine how much traffic would be impacted by the vehicle trips of future apartment residents.

During a Zoning Board of Appeals hearing on Feb. 20, Vanasse and Associates Managing Partner Jeffery Dirk presented a slideshow featuring the study’s findings. According to Dirk, on an average weekday, 91 cars would enter and exit the apartment area throughout the day. During the hours when traffic is at its busiest in the morning and evening, Dirk said that 12 cars would enter and exit the area on average.

Dirk said the number could theoretically decrease once bike lanes and sidewalks are built so residents can travel to nearby shops or businesses.

“This project will not increase traffic significantly,” Dirk told board members. “We would hope that the area would be walkable or bikeable, but right now, you need an automobile to get to work or go shopping.”

Kirsten Braun, the apartment complex’s project manager, said the study used the number of units to determine how many automobiles will exit and enter the area throughout a weekday. Ten of the 40 units would be considered affordable, while the rest would be sold at the current market rate. While there are only 40 units, Braun said occupants could share a room and have automobiles.

“You analyze traffic generated by the site based on the number of units and you look at the peak weekday hour,” Braun explained. “The results showed a bell curve, where there is more traffic at 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. but then is at its lowest during the late morning and early afternoon hours.”

Some residents, such as Kristopher Howe, have expressed their concerns about the proposal, citing increased traffic in the area, resulting in more vehicles speeding on the highway and at the intersection of Draper and Allen avenues.

“That’s a terrible intersection to inject more traffic into,” Howe said. “I can imagine people with houses there being angry.”

Others, such as Greg Jackson, said  higher traffic did not worry him and that he supported the project based on constructing more affordable units in North Attleborough.

“It’s minimal at best,” Jackson said of the traffic. “Hardly a reason to say no. People need more housing options.”

Town Manager Michael Borg shared Jackson’s sentiments and said he supports the construction of the apartment complex, as it would help increase the town’s affordable housing stock from its current rate of 2.9%.

While construction won’t begin until the zoning board approves the project, Borg said the sooner the building is completed, the more affordable housing becomes available for residents living or moving to North Attleborough.

“It’s coming no matter what,” Borg said. “This encourages municipalities to get to that 10% level.”

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