Posted by Marcia Dick April 5, 2013 06:09 PM
Steven A. Rosenberg/Globe StaffMEDFORD - Mayor Michael McGlynn announced on Friday that the city would donate $10,000 to help defray the cost of a local conservationist organization's lawsuit against the state.
For the last four years, the City of Medford and the Friends of the Fells have waged a lawsuit against the state. At issue is a state decision to build a $2.5 million road construction project on a parkway in Stoneham that cuts through the Middlesex Fells Reservation.
The proposed road project was designed after a 40-acre piece of property - that sits in the middle of the 2,575-acre wooded reservation - was purchased in 2000. Currently, there are plans to develop the site into a mixed-use development, which would include 261 apartments, 49 town houses, and a 225,000-square-foot office building.
The conservation group and the City of Medford have argued that the state needs to conduct a full environmental impact report on the proposed road improvement project and also on the planned housing and office development.
Last month, a Superior Court judge allowed the case to continue.
"This is part of a 5-mile loop, where we hike, where we jog, where we bike. It is part of the area where we canoe, where we row," said McGlynn. "It is a peaceful and recreational area where we believe, unless there's a full environmental review, will cause serious damage to this entire region."
The road project calls for installing a traffic signal at the bottom of the planned development, and another on the opposite side of the road near Spot Pond. Other proposed work would include reducing the southbound road to one lane in front of the development; adding a roundabout at Ravine Road; and creating a lane for pedestrian and bicyclists heading north on Woodland Road.
McGlynn and other Medford residents also say that the proposed new development and roadwork would create a logjam of traffic in the area. Gutierrez Co. of Burlington, which owns the private property, said the proposed mixed-use development would add another 4,500 cars trips a day.
The proposed roadwork is slated to be done on Woodland Road in Stoneham, which borders Medford and Melrose, and connects to Route 93. Patricia Storella, who lives near Woodland Road in Medford, said her neighborhood is already used by commuters as a cut-through to reach another section of Route 93.
"The traffic will be incredible and I don't like the idea of them putting up streetlights on this bucolic road," Storella said. Steven A. Rosenberg can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on Twitter@WriteRosenberg.