Archive for the ‘bump-outs’ Tag

Arlington will seek Varnum crosswalk change

The Town of Arlington next week will request a second curb extension for the Mass. Ave. crosswalk where an East Arlington man died last month.

This curb cut would be modified ubto a bump out if MassDOT grants the request the Town  Manager plans to make on Monday.

This curb cut would be modified into a bump out if MassDOT grants the change order the Town Manager plans to request  on Monday.

Varnum St. is the only unsignalized crosswalk in the Mass. Ave project that is not designed to have bump-outs at both ends under current plans.

The change, which was requested by a neighborhood group, would add a bump-out at the curb cut laid last Friday in front of the Trinity baptists Church. The state Department of Transportation will rule on the request.

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Safety by design

SUVCurb

Right up to the crosswalk

The Mass. Ave. crosswalk at Lafayette Street is often boxed in. See this view north facing the CVS.

I sometimes get off the bus here from Arlington Center so as to walk home along the Alewife Greenway. More often than not there is an SUV like this one parked right up against the crosswalk.

This is a problem if you want to get across the street in one piece. The SUV blocks my view of oncoming cars, and also theirs of me.

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Town drops more safety features and a crosswalk on Mass. Ave.

The latest design for Mass. Ave. in East Arlington replaces two crosswalks with one and removes a pedestrian crossing island and other safety features that had been part of the plan.

Before vs. After

As proposed April 2011: Two crosswalks, both with safety features. The Milton St. crossing (at right) would have been new.

As revealed March 30: One crossing at Melrose with minimal safety features

The changes, depicted in drawings released on Friday, replace crossings at Marathon and Milton Streets with a single crosswalk at Melrose St.

Changes that similarly remove safety features from the Wyman St. crosswalk were made public earlier in March. The Town filed the changes with Mass. Highway in February.

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Safety first

The front page of the Arlington Advocate for February 24 has a story on pedestrian safety and proposed improvements for Mass. Ave. The photo caption at the start of the story (not in the online edition) says it all:

While a back and forth about vehicles and bike lanes has dominated the Mass. Ave. Corridor Project debate, little has been said about proposed improvements for pedestrians.

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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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Safer pedestrian crossings

In an apparent response to public comments, the latest (August 2010) plan for Mass. Ave. would make four unsignalized pedestrian crossings safer.

One item in the pedestrian-safety bag of tricks is extending the curb into the parking lane at pedestrian crossings. These bump-outs have the following benefits:

Proposed bump-outs

  • The crossing distance is shorter curb to curb
  • Pedestrians stand on a raised surface that is nearly even with the traffic-side edge of parked cars, where they are more visible to drivers
  • It’s really clear that a pedestrian standing on a bump-out is crossing the street, not just hanging out
  • Traffic responds by slowing down at crossings
  • Cars are physically prevented from blocking the cross walk (unless they double park at one) by parking illegally there.

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