The natural beauty of the Cape Cod coast, abundance of outdoor amenities, and bustling downtown draws 60,000 visitors to Provincetown, Massachusetts each year. Many visitors prefer to bike or walk between the town’s many destinations, making the need for safe and convenient travel for all modes of transportation in and around Provincetown paramount.
Environmental Partners is designing safe and comfortable multimodal accommodations along Shank Painter Road and Route 6 that will provide a vital 1.7-mile connection between the downtown area and the National Seashore with beaches, parks, and several bicycle trails. This project is anticipated to be constructed utilizing funding through the Transportation Improvement Program (TIP).
The Shank Painter Road corridor is not currently bicycle and pedestrian friendly. The many bicyclists and pedestrians that use Shank Painter Road to access restaurants, shops, and the town’s only supermarket must weave in and out of moving vehicular traffic. The northern portion of Shank Painter Road becomes even more uncomfortable for pedestrians and cyclists as the roadway widens and travel speeds increase before reaching the four-lane divided highway of Route 6, which forms a barrier between the northern and southern sides of the Town. This project is intended to provide Provincetown with “Complete Streets”- safe, comfortable, and accessible accommodations for all users regardless of age or ability.
Although Shank Painter Road is much wider than alternate routes in town, many Route 6 motorists chose to exit onto earlier, tighter connections with narrow roads that are shared by motorists, pedestrians, and bicyclists alike. This project is intended to highlight Shank Painter Road as the primary access to Town, directing tourists to parking opportunities before reaching the congested downtown, thereby reducing the volume of motorists on other, tighter routes.
Several alternatives were prepared and presented during a series of meetings with the public, Town boards, and MassDOT to achieve the multiple goals of this project. Local concerns regarding resistance to change, emergency response time, access to local businesses, and parking were all addressed, identifying a proposed design that works for all. Ultimately, the preferred design alternative for Shank Painter Road includes sidewalks along both sides of the road with buffered bicycle lanes.
The design along town-owned Route 6 focuses on repurposing existing impervious surfaces to make more efficient use of space. Given low traffic volumes, a road diet was proposed along the corridor, converting the four-lane divided highway to one two-directional roadway and one shared use path. A raised crossing with Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacons (RRFB) will be located at the western limit of Route 6 for a safe pedestrian and bicycle crossing to connect to the beaches, recreational bike trails, and National Park.
Additional features of this design include a roundabout at the intersection of Shank Painter Road and Route 6 to efficiently process turn-traffic, eliminate the current grid-lock, and address safety concerns. The roundabout is also intended to serve as a gateway to Provincetown, encouraging visitors to use Shank Painter Road as the premier access to the downtown area. In addition, way finding signage will be provided to direct visitor traffic to the appropriate parking opportunities before reaching the congested downtown area.
The project is anticipated to have a major impact on the lives of the residents and visitors of Provincetown. Those staying in the thickly settled areas south of Route 6 will now have a comfortable, safe, and direct bicycle/pedestrian connection to access the beautiful beaches, parkland, recreational areas, and bicycle paths north of Route 6. In a setting such as Provincetown, these improved accommodations are anticipated to attract even more bicycling and walking tourists of various ages and abilities to enjoy the beauty of Provincetown for years to come.