‘Walkshop’ visits Mass. Ave. problems and hopes

Geoffrey Morrison-Logan led the session by the library.

Geoffrey Morrison-Logan of VHB led the session by the library.

Arlington residents took to the streets on Thursday to explore and critique parks, intersections, and blocks along Mass. Ave between Pond Lane and Mill Street.

The so-called walkshop was the second of three public meetings the Town is holding to discuss possible improvements to the central business district, including streets and sidewalks.

Participants gathered outside Town Hall at 6 pm before breaking into groups by site, each led by a staff member from Vanesse Hangen Brustlin, an engineering firm. Some people visited more than one site.

The scene at Town Hall just before things got started includes (at lower left) Jennifer Raitt, Arlington's new planing director, and Laura Weiner, the Town's assistanf planning director.

The scene at Town Hall just before things got started includes (at right) Jennifer Raitt, Arlington’s new planing director, and Laura Weiner, the Town’s assistant planning director. Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine and DPW Director Michael Rademacher also attended parts of the event, along with other staff members from the planning department.

I stuck with the group that toured the “municipal block,” the plaza in front of Town Hall and the sidewalk and landscaping by the Town Hall Garden and the Robbins Library.

The conversation was lively, if at times interrupted by traffic noise, and the format was an interesting departure from the hearings and workshops that marked the first phase of the Mass. Ave. Project.

Phase 2 of the Mass. Ave. project picks up where Phase 1 left off, but with very different constraints and considerations.

Phase 1 is nearly done, its completion dragged out by the utilities’ failure to move their wires to the new poles so that the contractors can remove the old ones and finish the sidewalks. However, the construction firm last night began work on the once-much-discussed traversable median in the East Arlington business district.

Phase 2 is separate from the work currently under way in the center to improve the intersection with Route 60.

The first, and more conventional, public meeting on Phase 2 was held April 16 at Town Hall. The third and final meeting is scheduled for June 16.

The May 12 walk was originally scheduled for May 5; it was postponed due to the threat of rain.

At Town Hall.

At Town Hall.

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