General remarks

Ashland has many attractive, quiet roads for bicycling; the town center has enough alternative streets to allow easy bicycle travel. However, the population is widely dispersed, and most of the major through routes are narrow in relation to the traffic they carry. As a result, many parts of Ashland are not reachable by routes attractive for bicycling at times of heavy traffic.

Problem routes

Myrtle Street (Badger Street in Framingham) is relatively narrow, though Fountain Street offers an alternative.

Cordaville Road and Oak Street, north of the town center, carry fairly heavy traffic in rush hour. They would be more attractive for bicycling with a width upgrade.

Route 135 is wide and attractive for experienced bicyclists east of the town center, but of variable width west of the town center. There is no alternate route, so this part of Route 135 is a candidate for a width upgrade. Pavement here is new, so no upgrade can be expected for many years.

Route 126 is lined with strip malls. Cedar Street, to its west, offers an alternative; however, pavement on some parts of Cedar Street needs improvement.

Potential bike-preferred routes

Winter Street is closed at its eastern end; however, bicycles can still get through. Unfortunately, it connects to Myrtle Road/Badger Street, which would have to be upgraded east of the intersection (mostly in Framingham) to generate an attractive bicycling route.

High Street has a closed bridge over railroad tracks west of the town center. The bridge is passable by bicycle, though no special measures have been taken to make it attractive for bicycle use. The absence of through motor traffic makes this street a useful alternative for some destinations served by Route 135.

The active Conrail rail line or parts of it might carry a rail with trail which would offer an alternative to Cordaville Road.

Unimproved trails and abandoned roadways offer additional possibilities. Some are in the state park at the west end of Ashland, and might offer connections into Hopkinton and an alternative to Route 135. Others outside the park are also shown on Geodetic Survey maps.

General Recommendations

There are significant width problems on the main routes in Ashland, which can be addressed one by one. Route 126 is a special case, where the shopping district creates hazards that can not be corrected by widening; the best through-route alternative is probably on East Union Street and Cedar Street. In the long term, increasing population density can be expected to lead to a decline in riding quality of the secondary roads. However, development has not proceeded so far yet in Ashland that these problems can not be addressed proactively.