New Mass. Ave. signal grows at Bates-Marion

Crews erect the first of several traffic signals at Marion and Bates.

Crews erect the first of several traffic signals at Marion and Bates on April 30.

The new traffic signals at Bates and Marion, which lay at the heart of the fierce opposition to the Mass. Ave. Project spearheaded by Bates Rd. neighbors, began to rise over Mass. Ave. this morning.

The new signals will make Bates and Marion the most improved intersection on Mass. Ave. for vehicular traffic, breaking up logjams on those side streets.

Pedestrians here gain the only new crosswalk signal in the entire project.

Plans for Mass. Ave. at Bates and Marion (2010 conceptual drawings).

Plans for Mass. Ave. at Bates and Marion: “S” stands for signal. (2010 conceptual drawings.)

However, according to MassDOT, the new signals will add 23 seconds to the average round trip up and down Mass. Ave. (though those are likely to be offset by “other proposed improvements” not included in the state’s traffic model).

Also, the proximity of the Bates-Marion signal to the one at Linwood-Foster raised fears of some rush-hour complications.

These concerns may have contributed to the Town’s decision to downgrade the Wyman Street crosswalk, site of a 1996 fatality.

For more on the signal’s impact on traffic, see “A Report Card for Mass. Ave.” and, especially, “Promised Traffic Improvements.”

The new signalized crosswalk at Bates Road will replace the unsignalized Tufts Street crosswalk in which two Arlington residents were seriously injured last year.

The new west-side crosswalk was painted in this month and is currently in use although the traffic signals are not live.

There has been a great deal of signal work this month, not just at Marion Street but also for the replacement signals at Linwood Foster, Lake, and Thorndike-Teel.

Note: I show an excerpt from the 2010 conceptual drawings because they are easier to read, but they omit a lot of detail. The final plans are available through this page.

Click here for recent construction news.

4 comments so far

  1. Thouis Jones on

    I am still quite perplexed (and a bit annoyed) by the Wyman Street crossing changes (along with the other ones west of that point.

    That said, they have already moved the crossing from its old location (from west to east of Wyman Street), and the shorter crossing distance is definitely an improvement, though traffic is still trying to be 2 lanes in each direction from Linwood to Pond, despite nowhere near enough space. It will be better when it finally gets striped.

    • Adam Auster on

      I had exactly those thoughts driving past those bump-outs today.

      They feel pinchy right now, but once the new lane configuration is striped there will be plenty of room.

  2. markk02474 on

    What I love about this new traffic signal is that Arlington is finally getting overhead lights with black back plates surrounded with a retro-reflective outline. This has been in use for years elsewhere in the country and world, helping to reduce accidents. You have probably seen the red light cam videos of a car speeding through an intersection and T-boned by a driver who has the green light. That is what this reflective trim is to reduce – cases where drivers are often half aware and didn’t notice the traffic light exists, so didn’t slow, let alone stop. These reflective stripes around back plates are relatively inexpensive and worth putting on existing traffic signals.

    Some day, I hope there are reflective markers to warn drivers and bicyclists of curb edges that jut out into roads , such as the “danger islands” on Summer Street and the curb extensions on Mass Ave. Some could be on the granite curb itself or a marker stick, depending on the situation. Not much different from how people mark driveway boundaries with markers especially prior to plowing season.

  3. Marc on

    Loving the lights. I live on Bates and am in full favor of this project. This makes crossing so much safer for my family.

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