Facts on the ground: Grafton Street

The future of Mass. Ave, in the form of orange survey marks, reached as far east as Grafton St. last week, skipping Bates Rd. and others on the way.

Orange marks show the new plan for Grafton St., which will the crossing there by half.

Orange marks show the new plan for Grafton St., which will cut the crossing there by half.

I won’t spotlight every curb change, but the reconfigured mouth of Grafton Street will create new parking and green space, and there are other points of interest.

So here’s a closer look at what is going on. (For an even closer look, click on any image.)

The above photo looks west from within the walkway that crosses Grafton. The bottom of Grafton Street bulges like a lower-case “d,” narrowing a hundred feet or so to the north to a width more typical of Mass. Ave. side streets.

The orange marks bite off the entire western side of that width and a chunk of Mass. Ave.

This bulge is doubly curious because Grafton is one-way north from  Mass. Ave.

At its base Grafton is so wide that there is a traffic island in the middle of the cross walk, shown in the foreground of the photo.

It’s as though Grafton is mirroring Orvis Road, which is directly  across Mass. Ave. Orvis is extra wide, with a broad tree-lined median all the way down to its end at Brooks Ave.

Orvis

Unusual Orvis Rd. is divided by a wide median. View is south from Grafton St. with new curb markings in the foreground.

Grafton from the air. Source: Google maps.

Grafton “bulge” from the air (source: Google maps).

This attempt at symmetry might be more successful had Grafton included a matching median strip for the wide part of the street. Instead there is a vast expanse of one-way asphalt.

The extra width will be used as a staging area for construction equipment while work is in progress.

The new Grafton St. intersection (source: MassDOT).

The new Grafton St. intersection (source: MassDOT).

Ultimately plans for the street divide that space between parking and a small patch of landscaped green space. (I’d call it a “parklet” were that term not already taken.)

The little park is one of two such oases created by the project, though it remains to be seen how they will be used.

The project plan at right shows that and other features of the redesigned intersection, including bump-outs and the new pedestrian island in the crossing of Mass. Ave.

I am not sure why the sidewalk bulges out into what would otherwise be the parking lane in front of the tiny park. There is no crossing there to make safer.

It may be that the bulge creates a buffer for the park, where there are benches planned.  Probably it keeps the sight lines a little clearer both for turning traffic and for through traffic as vehicles approach what has been a dangerous, even deadly, pedestrian crossing.

Bulge-out at SE corner will make crossing safer for pedestrians. Looking east on Mass. Ave. from Orvis Rd.

Bump-out at SE corner will make crossing safer for pedestrians. Looking east on Mass. Ave. from Orvis Rd.

This is one instance where I think the formal drawings may tell the  story better than street-level photos. Click to embiggen.

About those double markings: The inner lines (demarcating the smaller area) that I saw are marked “FOC,” “front of curb.” The outer lines serve some other function, perhaps cut lines.

Click here for recent construction news.

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