Archive for the ‘FDR’ Tag

Mass DOT takes comments

Advocates for and against the rebuilding of Mass. Ave. in East Arlington went into overdrive, and comments from the public went into overtime, at a sometimes-raucous project hearing at Town Hall on April 12.

Some 400 people came to the Department of Transportation hearing on the Town’s proposed design. 79 gave comments, and many more were turned away when the hearing adjourned at 10:40.

Arlington Town Hall on Tuesday night. Not quite to capacity, but very full.

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When four lanes won’t fit


When the engineers hired by the Town assessed the feasibility of four striped lanes on Mass. Ave., they ran into a problem.

The lanes don’t quite fit, if parking is included.

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When four lanes are two

Mass. Ave FDR

One of the most interesting bits in Arlington’s plan to rebuild Mass. Ave. is a discussion of how drivers actually behave today, and would be likely to behave under new road designs.

It turns out that you can’t just draw lines on asphalt, post signs, and expect people to do what you say.

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Design report, partially digested

Mass. Ave FDR

I’ve set up a page of links to posts about the Functional Design Report, the hefty technical document that (with the drawings) would describe and define how Mass. Ave. will be rebuilt–if approved.

You can reach the page via the “Design report” tab at the top of the page. There’s not much there right now, but I hope to add more posts over time.

The new page is an index. You can also see a page of all my posts about what is in the report, in classic blog backwards order, here.

Despite this effort, I do not think that you are any less able to understand the Functional Design Report than I, and encourage you to read it for yourself. It’s available at the Town’s web page for the project.

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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A report card for Mass. Ave.

Arlington has paid its consulting engineers to grade major intersections on Mass. Ave. The results of this standard traffic assessment can be found in pages 16–17 and 19–24 of the Functional Design Report.

The grades are based on seconds per vehicle of delay, whether from a signal or the geometry of the intersection and the flow of traffic.

This measurement is not really like an academic grade. There is no stigma attached to a C or even a D. Only grades E and F show unacceptable levels of service. Traffic normally entails waits, and as long as the waits are not excessive the intersection will pass this test.

An A at a signalized intersection may be a sign that the traffic signal is not warranted there; indeed, both the signals at Linwood-Foster and Thorndike-Teel score A grades, though the Town’s plan would retain these signals.

So, how did we rate?

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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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Functional Design Report connects data to plan

The Town’s planning department today made its Mass. Ave. Functional Design Report available at its web page for the project.

This technical document is the bulkier, gnarlier accompaniment to the drawings that have been available for about a month.

All were filed with Mass. Highway last month, setting the stage (eventually) for hearings here in town on the broad parameters of the plan.

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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