The kindest cut

Mass. Ave.'s new surface is cut to prepare for the construction of a raised pedestrian refuge island at the Orvis Rd. crosswalk. View is east on September 22. Nawaf Kaba photo.

Mass. Ave.’s new surface is cut to prepare for the construction of a raised pedestrian refuge island at the Orvis Rd. crosswalk. View is east on September 22. Nawwaf Kaba photo.

Three things are striking about this photo of pavement cuts for the raised pedestrian island at Orvis Road and Grafton Street.

The first of course is how gratifying it is to finally see tangible proof of this improvement at one of Mass. Ave.’s most dangerous pedestrian crossings.

The second is how graphically it hints at the new asymmetrical design for Mass. Ave., which eliminates an entire unneeded lane from the westbound side and uses that width for safety improvement such as this raised island. Consequently, the new yellow line will no longer run down the dead center of the road.

Incidentally, once that design is in place I think many features that feel crowded and awkward to drivers today, such as the many new curb extensions, will make intuitive sense.

Finally, I note that there are no cuts, yet, for the flush (not raised) median strip that is to run from this pedestrian island to its sister at Marathon Street on the other side of the business district.

Thanks to Thorndike Street resident Nawwaf Kaba for the loan of this image.

Click here for recent construction news.

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3 comments so far

  1. Ryan Jacobs on

    I’m sorry that I missed previous discussions that likely addressed this question, but: what is the rationale of NOT having a raised pedestrian island at Marathon St? Why just flush? Doesn’t seem like a safe place to wait while trying to get across Mass Ave.
    Thanks!

    • Adam Auster on

      Ryan, to the best of my knowledge the plans do call for a second raised island at Marathon St.

      It’s the rest of the median strip that is to be flush with the surface of the pavement.

  2. Susan Stamps on

    Thank you, Adam.  I have shared this post with our Grafton St Facebook group, many members of whom have been upset that it is still dangerous to cross Mass. Ave, especially with their little kids and most of us did not realize a pedestrian island was in the works.  Hope all is well!  Susan   Susan Stamps Cell 978-807-7933


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