Archive for the ‘Bates’ Tag

Paint goes down, lights go on

East arlington neighbor Nawwaf Kaba photographed this work crew as it was striping Mass. Ave the morning of October 25. The view is northwest from the edge of the crosswalk in front of the CVS.

Alert East Arlington neighbor Nawwaf Kaba photographed this work crew as it was striping Mass. Ave the morning of October 24. The view is northwest from the edge of the cross walk in front of the CVS.

New lights and an off-center double line are easing drivers and others into what will be the new design on Mass. Ave.

Meanwhile, some patches of sidewalk remain unpoured while several other features, including the on-off-on-again traversable median, still have not put in an appearance.

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Signals await street markings as as night work resumes Sept. 14

Cardboard blocks this crosswalk signal facing the corner of Thorndike St. where there is currently no marked crosswalk.

Cardboard blocks this crosswalk signal facing the corner of Thorndike St. where there is currently no marked crosswalk.

The surface of Mass. Ave. will be dangerously hot at times this week as crews start to install a new road.

Meanwhile some of the new traffic signals remain disabled, awaiting new lane and crosswalk markings.

A special notice from the construction team (undated, but recent) warns,

The materials that will be applied to Massachusetts Avenue on Monday and Tuesday nights will be hot on application and cannot be traversed by standard passenger vehicles without significant damage.

Hot regions will be demarcated by traffic barrels, cones, and other means. Circumventing these barriers, a September 13 construction bulletin from the Town cautions, “will damage your vehicle whether it be auto, bicycle, or feet.”

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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.

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23 seconds

StopwatchTrips along the Town’s 3-lane design for Mass. Ave. in East Arlington will take about as long as on a 4-lane alternative, according to a controversial new software model.

The Town’s consultants performed the analysis even though the Mass. DOT has found 4 lanes to be unsafe and unacceptable.

Safety aside, both designs perform similarly in terms of average trip times. That is what you would expect based on the traffic data, which show that the 3-lane design meets peak traffic as well as a 4-lane design.

Bu that’s not what you might have thought from reading the January 23 letter from the Federal Highway Administration to MassDOT.

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Promised traffic improvements

Mass. Ave FDR

Four Mass. Ave. traffic intersections flunk out on a scale where A–D are good and E–F are not.

That assessment, in the project’s functional design report, evaluates level of service based primarily on seconds of delay per vehicle.

The Town’s consultants take this further by also grading the intersections in the future, assuming a steady growth in traffic volume, for (1) no design change (“no build”) versus (2) reconstruction as proposed by the Town.

No-Build (NB) vs. Plan Over Time (am/pm peak)

Bates Orvis Lake Rt. 16
NB Plan NB Plan NB Plan NB Plan
Today F/F F/F F/F E/E
2018 F/F C/B F/F F/F F/F D/C E/E E/D
2028 F/F C/B F/F F/F F/F E/D F/E E/E

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The face of a new Mass. Ave.

Never mind the sausage factory of process and meetings and interim drafts.

If Mass. Highway approves the 25-percent plans as submitted, what will we get? What will be different?

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Cut-through traffic and other paradoxes

So far, concerns about cut-through traffic and Mass. Ave. have focused on fears that changes in the design of the street, and especially the new traffic signal at Bates Road, will cause outbound drivers to detour through side streets.

I took a look at this last year. Ultimately, it is not credible that drivers would take a time-consuming detour that includes two left turns on Broadway in order to avoid a 40-second delay (max) at a stoplight.

However, this whole discussion has ignored the other cut-through traffic, namely drivers who use side streets to get to Mass. Ave., for instance on the way to Lake Street and Route 2.

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Public views Mass. Ave. plans

About 200 Arlington residents and fellow travelers came to Town Hall last night for the seventh public hearing on much-delayed plans to refurbish Mass. Ave, which is still slated for 2012.

It was the first opportunity for the public to question the consulting engineers about the plan since April of 2009. The Board of Selectmen submitted the plans for State review last August.

New drawings were on display at the meeting

New drawings were on display at the meeting

Most of the basic elements of the plan are unchanged: the lane configuration, including bicycle lanes, new pedestrian crossings, and traffic signals at Teel/Thorndike, Lake, Bates/Marion, and Linwood/Foster.

As described last week, however, the latest drawings remove a proposed traversable median from  much of Mass. Ave., widen traffic lanes, and reduce or eliminate proposed sidewalk widening in the business district around the Capitol Theater.

One sidewalk would even be narrowed in one place to accommodate the wider traffic lanes.

The engineers made these and other changes in response to criticism of the 2009 version made earlier this year by Mass. Highway District 4.

Comments and questions following a presentation by Rick Azzalina of Fay Spofford & Thorndike were wide-ranging. Azzalina repeatedly described the design as “a work in progress” that could be influenced by public comments.

However, his responses to comments mostly explained why particular changes were unlikely or inexpedient.

Azzalina said the plan is to resubmit the so-called 25% plans to Mass. Highway next month, for a formal hearing in September paving the way (through many intermediate steps) to advertise the project in December of 2011.

My notes, incomplete and unofficial as usual, follow; my personal comments are in red.

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Committee Sends Plans to Selectmen

Summary of the decision: The expanded 18-member committee overseeing the redesign of Mass. Ave. in East Arlington last night (June 24) voted to submit a basic design to the Board of Selectmen.

The plan features two eastbound lanes, one-and-a-half westbound lanes, dedicated bicycle lanes, and traffic signals at all existing locations and at Bates Road.

If the Selectmen submit this plan to Mass. Highway on behalf of the town, and the state highway agency approves it, this design will be the framework within which other design issues are worked out.

Meeting Notes: (to the best of my ability, and completely unofficial. My personal comments are in red.)

The meeting began with a presentation from John Michalak and Doug Prentiss, consultants retained by the town for this project, recapping their work and explaining their requirements, methods, and some of their conclusions. This was for the benefit of those of us recently appointed to the panel, the second of two meetings at which we newcomers essentially dominated the agenda with questions and comments. The main points follow after the break. Continue reading

Latest Drawings: traffic lights at Thorndike, Linwood, & Bates

The latest drawings, dated June 16, are now up at the town web site. They show traffic lights at all the controversial Mass. Ave. intersections: (1) Thorndike and Teel, (2) Linwood and Foster, and (3) Bates and Marion.

(Note: A glitch at the Town’s site provides the wrong link for the second half of the June 16 drawings. Until it is fixed, you can see the second half here. Both halves of the drawings are available from the Town now.)

The design still incorporates two eastbound travel lanes, and a “one-and-a-half” lane configuration (one lane with left-turn lanes) westbound.

As I explained last week, this is a work in progress that will be subject to approval by the Selectmen and by Mass. Highway, a state agency. A draft of the report that the town must submit to Mass. Highway is also posted on the web site along with the drawings.

Lastest Plan: light stays at Thorndike St.

A June 10 memo from Arlington’s planning department recommends keeping the traffic signal at Thorndike and Teel streets (at Mass. Ave) even though that intersection does not meet state criteria for a traffic light.

The report also endorses the “three-and-a-half-lane” configuration for Mass. Ave. depicted in the May 14 drawings (which are available from the town here.) This option has two eastbound lanes and one westbound (with left turning lanes westbound, thus the “half” lane) for most of the project.

The Planning Department’s recommendation is not final, and even if adopted by the Selectmen the proposal to keep the Thorndike-Teel light will be subject to review by Mass. Highway.

The department endorsed the proposed shift of a traffic signal from Linwood/Foster to Bates/Marion, citing a likely improvement in traffic flow. However, the memo also concluded, “If the eventual decision is made not to include the light [at Bates Rd.]…we believe traffic navigating the intersection will be no worse off than it is today.”

The plan as recommended includes five-foot bike lanes on both sides of Mass. Ave. and does not entail widening the street or removing any trees.