Archive for the ‘committee’ Tag

Mass. Ave. design moves to trees and benches

The Town’s Mass. Ave. Review Committee saw preliminary drawings for sidewalk and landscape design at a meeting in the Senior Center last night.

The subsequent discussion emphasized the areas around Grafton Street and opposite Lake Street, and also an inbound bus stop proposed to be moved from the north to the south side of Milton Street to create three additional parking spaces.

Presentations from the staff touched on trees, “street furniture,” the MBTA’s plan to relocate bus stops, and the 75%-design process.

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Seventy-Five-percent tidbits

There has not been much to say since MassDOT’s low-key approval of the 25% plans for Mass. Ave. moved us into the 75% design phase last month.

Things must have been moving behind the scenes, however, because the Town’s landscape consultants will unveil their draft design for the sidewalk space at a meeting of the Mass. Ave. Review Committee on July 20.

This has been an iterative process so I would expect the designers to propose changes in a future version based on how this one is received.

The Town has also made minor changes to its web page for the project.

The meeting will be in the Senior Center at 7 pm.

Beyond 25%: What’s at stake at the hearing and after

The hearing next week, and the Highway Commissioner’s subsequent decision, will only mark the end of the first design phase, if perhaps the most important one.

The three design phases are denominated as 25%, 75%, and 100%, as follows.

Linwood light survives despite changes

At its first meeting in nearly a year, the Town’s Mass. Ave. Review Committee learned of changes to the street design in response to criticism from the Massachusetts Highway Department.

The traffic signal at Linwood and Foster on Mass. Ave, sought both by residents and the Town, remains in the plan, and the basic design is unchanged.

But as with previous iterations of the design, pedestrian safety gave ground again to automobile amenity, and wider travel lanes for cars would squeeze the sidewalks in the business district.

The plan will continue to be refined over the next month or so, with a public informational meeting at Town Hall next Tuesday at 7 PM.

More detailed notes follow. My comments are in red.

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Two Mass. Ave. meetings this June

After a long hiatus, the Mass. Ave. Review Committee will meet on Tuesday, June 15, at 7 pm at the Arlington Senior Center, presumably to respond to the comments of the staff of Mass. Highway District Four.

(Update: My notes on this meeting are here.)

The following Tuesday, June 22, there will be a public informational meeting at Town hall at 7 pm.

The only other thing I know for sure is that the consulting engineers have assigned a new lead engineer to the project.

The schedule suggest that the comments from Mass. Highway, though strongly worded, were about resolvable technical details rather than substance.

I hope that means we will be able to keep the traffic signal at Mass. Ave and Linwood/Foster Streets, which the Town had requested on behalf of the neighborhood.

Stay tuned.

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

6/16 Meeting: bike lanes

Tuesday June 16 was the first meeting of Arlington’s Mass. Ave. Review Committee that included the ten new members added by the Selectmen the week before. We’ll meet again next Wednesday night, June 24.

The committee neither made any decisions nor tried to, but new members had the chance to ask questions and air grievances. I don’t think I can do a good job of summarizing or representing that discussion, but as a new members I learned a few things. For this my first blog entry “covering” the committee, I’ll stick to describing some of the things I learned about the proposed bike lanes. My personal comments are in red; yours are welcome.

Bicycles: State law now requires designs for roads like Mass. Ave. to include an “accommodation” for bicycles. The choices are as follows:

  • a five-foot bike lane, alongside travel lanes of at least 11 feet (for a total of 16 feet of width)
  • a single 15-foot travel lane (the extra width to allow cyclists to ride on the right but not too close to the doors of parked cars). Left lanes, if any, can be 11 feet wide.

If you eliminate the bike lanes, you must add space to the travel lanes. The net savings of space is only two feet (for both sides of the street).

With this requirement, a four-lane street with parking would be wider than parts of Mass. Ave. in East Arlington.

This isn’t a very complete account—only one part of the meeting—but I’m just getting warmed up.