Mass. Ave. Project II

Just when you thought we were done

with the Mass. Ave. Project…

Phase II of the Mass. Ave. Project kicks off at Town Hall on Wednesday night.

Phase II of the Mass. Ave. Project kicks off at Town Hall on Wednesday night.

Phase II of the project to redesign the full length of Mass. Ave. in Arlington will begin Wednesday, April 13, at a public meeting at Town hall at 7:00.

The project’s second stage aims to produce a plan for Mass. Ave. in Arlington Center from Pond Lane to Mill Street.

The meeting comes while the dust is still settling from Phase I in East Arlington. Phase II is separate from the Arlington Center Safe Travel Project (coverage here) that broke ground on April 4.

According to a notice from the Town, the meeting is the “first phase of the planning process” that will make “Arlington Center more customer and pedestrian friendly.”

It will “will eventually involve reconstruction of the roadway and improvements to curbs, sidewalks, lighting, street trees, street furniture, and more in the project area,” with an emphasis on Broadway Plaza, the notice says.

In the mean time, there will be public meetings with members of the Town’s Planning and Community Development staff and project engineers from Vannesse Hangen Brustlin, who have been retained “to develop a conceptual design for the area.”

This meeting sounds similar in scope to the first Phase I meeting held on October of 2008, or perhaps the first public meeting for the Arlington Center project that was held in January of 2011. The former was limited to articulating goals while at the Center Project kickoff the public reacted to five different conceptual plans.

It will be interesting to learn what opportunities are available to improve pedestrian access and safety in the project zone, where rush-hour traffic is heavy.

The zone includes the pedestrian crossing by the Library and also Broadway Plaza, Jefferson Cutter Park, the busy intersection with Route 60, and the entire Robbins Block.

I will also be watching to see what lessons the Town takes into Phase II from Phase I.

The Mass. Ave. Project was originally conceived as a multi-phased reconstruction of the entire street, starting in the East and ending in Arlington Heights. Considering the glacial pace of Phase I, the Heights may well be due for a refresh by the time this project nears the Lexington line.

Construction in East Arlington is in the punch-list stage and is being finished up this spring.

The Arlington Center Safe Travel Project, meanwhile, is its own thing, undertaken with special funding from the federal Clean Air and Mobility Program. It is not connected to the Mass. Ave. Project.

It’s hard to imagine, though, that Phase II would undo any of the changes introduced by the Safe Travel project unless they proved truly untenable.




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