Archive for the ‘Foster’ Tag

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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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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Mass. Ave. loses safety features in abrupt design change

Both the pedestrian island (dark grey) and the flush median (crosshatched) are no longer in the plan for the Wyman St. crossing.

Arlington has changed its design for the western segment of the Mass. Ave. project, stripping the pedestrian crossing at Wyman St. of many safety features.

These include a pedestrian island that had been added in response to community concerns.

These changes allow for a second lane of inbound traffic that the Town’s consulting engineers had previously determined was not necessary.

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MBTA would eliminate, consolidate bus stops

The MBTA proposes to improve bus service on Mass. Ave. by moving and consolidating bus stops and providing benches, shelters, and other amenities.

New bus-stop location replaces those currently at Thorndike, Teel, Lafayette, and Sunapee. Blue X = removed, blue dot = proposed, white dot = current.

The proposal, which is preliminary, would move four bus stops from traffic signals that the neighborhood and the Town had retained over objections from the staff at Mass. Highway.

The plan would move and merge bus stops in East Arlington, including Sunapee/Boulevard Rds., Teel/Thorndike Sts., Linwood/Foster Sts., and Wyman Terr./Palmer St. Similar consolidations are proposed near the Foot of the Rocks area in Arlington Heights.

The T will present and take comments on the plan in the Selectmen’s Hearing Room at Town Hall from 6:30 to 8 PM on Thursday, June 9.

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Mass. Highway: Bigger bike lanes, scaled-back traffic signals

Foster St. signal (Source: Town of Arlington)

Wider bicycle lanes and changes to the Thorndike and Foster traffic signals are among the suggestions made to the Town this winter by state engineers at Mass. Highway.

The agency’s written comments to the Town’s proposed 25% plans for Mass. Ave. are generally supportive and include advice and many suggestions.

The Town’s response could include changes to its plans.

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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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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 fromĀ  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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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.

Teel-Thorndike traffic light gains

A preliminary review of the 25-percent plans for Mass. Ave. submitted by the Selectmen last summer supports keeping the traffic signal at Thorndike and Teel Streets in East Arlington. Similar support for the Linwood & Foster signal is absent. These traffic lights do not meet state warrants, or requirements, for traffic signals. However, the Town included them in the plan at the request of neighbors. (Disclosure: I am one of them.) The review is in the form of an internal memo from staff engineers at Mass DOT, the state’s new transportation agency. Continue reading

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.