Archive for the ‘Lake-Minuteman’ Tag

The $700,000 Traffic Light

Seven Hundred Thousand Dollars

Last October 18, one day after the public hearing where residents were prevented from asking about the cost of the Lake Street signal project, Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine shared the current estimate with YourArlington.com’s Bob Sprague.

The project, which would place a traffic signal where the Minuteman path crosses lake Street, would cost around $700,000, many times its original cost estimate of $150,000.

That’s a lot for a single traffic light, even accounting for the tie-in with the nearby signal at Brooks Ave. and landscaping on the path.

So in this post, I’d like to explore some issues around the sometimes-forbidden topics of cost and financing for this project, as best as I understand them.
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Arlington, Lake St. light, miss out on State funding this year

The plan to speed traffic on Lake St. by signalizing the Minuteman Path hit a speed bump this week when MassDOT declined to fund it this year.

traffic signal

Also losing out were a raft of smaller projects to benefit pedestrians, cyclists, and bus riders that were not submitted to MassDOT in order to make room for the Lake St. proposal. Continue reading

Hidden winners and losers in the Lake Street signal plan

Some who live on or near the rush-hour-congested Lake St. corridor look to the proposed signal at the Minuteman Path for some traffic relief.

Unfortunately, the opposite result seems likely: heavier traffic, and more cut-throughs.

Cyclists stopped at red 

Welcome to the topsy-turvy, counter-intuitive world of traffic engineering. Perhaps orbital mechanics, where astronauts speed up in order to slow down, is as confounding to common sense.

Below is my list of likely winners and losers under this plan, which has its last public hearing next Tuesday.
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Oct 17 Is last call on Lake Street stoplight design

A plan for a traffic signal that would halt bicyclists and pedestrians where the Minuteman Path crosses Lake St. will have its second and final public hearing on Tuesday, October 17, at 7 PM at Town Hall.

The Minuteman and Lake St. in a less-congested hour. View is towards Spy Pond. Photo: Phil Goff.

The design features a traffic signal with a 70-second cycle, 14 of which would provide a green light for pedestrians and cyclists on the path during peak periods. In addition, the design would make changes to the path itself.
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No easy fixes for Lake Street traffic

Arlington’s Board of Selectmen will consider a plan February 5 to ease rush-hour traffic on congested Lake Street by putting a traffic signal on the Minuteman Commuter Bicycle Path.

The Minuteman and Lake St. in a less-congested hour. View is north. Photo: Phil Goff.

The Minuteman at Lake St. in an uncongested hour. View is north. Photo: Phil Goff.

The Transportation Advisory Committee, which has been studying the problem for more than a year, recommends the project with an estimated cost of $150,000. If approved, the Town would establish a design committee.

At the risk of oversimplifying a very complicated problem, I warn: Be careful what you wish for.

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