Archive for the ‘Lake’ Tag

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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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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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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The best traffic improvement we’ll never make

The worst choke point on Mass. Ave in East Arlington has got to be at Lake Street inbound. (Route 16 might be worse, but is in Cambridge.)

All Hope Abandon

Lake Street and Mass. Ave. (proposed), detail from the Town's Mass. Ave. web page.

Morning drivers hoping to turn right onto Lake St. must crowd into the turning lane only to be trapped behind an MBTA bus, stopping to pick up commuters in front of the Capitol Theater.

Traffic can back up for blocks, waiting for and often missing a traffic cycle (or three) while buses board passengers. It is the Sargasso Sea of East Arlington.

Here’s how to fix that—and why we shouldn’t (and won’t).

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