Varnum bump-out work suggests project ahead of schedule

The curb stones for the new bump-out at the Trinity Baptist Church were laid last week.

The curb stones for the new bump-out at the Trinity Baptist Church were laid last week.

Mass. Ave. contractor J.F. Lynch began work last week on a curb bump-out added to the Mass. Ave. project last spring, following the death of East Arlington resident William Dotson in the Varnum Street crosswalk.

The start of this work in late July suggests that the entire project may be ahead of schedule. That seems to be confirmed by the latest news from the project team.

Bump-outs slow traffic and make pedestrians more visible and crossings more obvious.

The addition extends the curb on the north end of the Varnum Street crosswalk, in front of the Trinity baptist Church. (That’s Windsor Street, and Maida Pharmacy, in the background of the photo above.)

Varnum Street was to have been the least-improved of all the pedestrian crossings within the 1-mile stretch of the Mass. Ave. project, with only a bump-out on the southern side of the road.

All of the other unsignalized crosswalks had curb extensions planned at both ends.

Dotson’s death, and public reaction to it, brought greater scrutiny to the crossing.

When members of the East Arlington Livable Streets Coalition suggested that a second bump-out should be added at Varnum Street, Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine agreed to request the change.

MassDOT approved the request in May. A work crew laid the new curb stones last week.

The curb will now extend where the crosswalk joins the sidewalk in front of the Trinity Baptists Church in East Arlington.

The curb will now extend where the crosswalk joins the sidewalk in front of the Trinity Baptists Church in East Arlington.

At a public meeting last May, Project Liaison Nathanial Cabral-Curtis said that work on the new bump-out would take place around the time that street resurfacing was scheduled to begin after Labor Day.

An earlier start date on the bump-out suggests that resurfacing may also start sooner. On August 3 the Town published a notice from the project team saying, in part,

milling of Massachusetts Avenue as a preparatory step for repaving is currently scheduled to begin on or about August 30th and is projected to run 4-5 nights.

Stock up on ear plugs, East Arlington—it’s going to be a bumpy ride.

The rebuild notice also says that the Varnum St. bump-out will finished with concrete  in the next few weeks along with other concrete pouring, mostly on the south side of the street.

The other change order that I know of was the redesign of some of the the granite-edged planters in the business district.

That alteration was similarly initiated by the Town at the request of members of the public, in this case the Capitol Square Business Association and local businesses.

Note: I originally noted the curious omission of a north-side bump-out at this crossing in towards the end of this report in 2010.

Click here for recent construction news.

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