Archive for the ‘lane configuration’ Tag

The greening of the Mass. Ave. bike lanes

Mass. Ave. got some attention last week in the form of vivid green color in 2 bike lane locations.

There's no missing the bike lane on this busy eastbound approach to Lake St.

There’s no missing the bike lane on this busy eastbound approach to Lake St. The green was added last week.

Since this marking was not specified in the final plans for the project (correction: It was so), I think it was almost certainly added by the Town.

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‘Bricked’ flush median soaks up width

Last week, contractors put the finishing touches on the flat, traversable median on Mass. Ave. in the business district in East Arlington.

Northwest from the Marathon St. crosswalk

Northwest from the Marathon St. crosswalk

The median now sports a fake-brick treatment that is surprisingly convincing.
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Paint goes down, lights go on

East arlington neighbor Nawwaf Kaba photographed this work crew as it was striping Mass. Ave the morning of October 25. The view is northwest from the edge of the crosswalk in front of the CVS.

Alert East Arlington neighbor Nawwaf Kaba photographed this work crew as it was striping Mass. Ave the morning of October 24. The view is northwest from the edge of the cross walk in front of the CVS.

New lights and an off-center double line are easing drivers and others into what will be the new design on Mass. Ave.

Meanwhile, some patches of sidewalk remain unpoured while several other features, including the on-off-on-again traversable median, still have not put in an appearance.

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The kindest cut

Mass. Ave.'s new surface is cut to prepare for the construction of a raised pedestrian refuge island at the Orvis Rd. crosswalk. View is east on September 22. Nawaf Kaba photo.

Mass. Ave.’s new surface is cut to prepare for the construction of a raised pedestrian refuge island at the Orvis Rd. crosswalk. View is east on September 22. Nawwaf Kaba photo.

Three things are striking about this photo of pavement cuts for the raised pedestrian island at Orvis Road and Grafton Street.

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Many stories in fire hose of Mass. Ave. public record

Here’s what one Grafton Street resident told the Massachusetts Department of Transportation about crossing Mass Ave.:

student_crosswalk_sign_2I would like to tell you a true story of crossing that street with my son when he was nine, and two other boys as I was taking them to the Hardy School in the morning.

I am an extremely safety conscious person and yet, at the other end, as we were approaching Sabatino’s, it just so happened that one of the three boys who was with me was hit by a car.
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Senator warns ‘Now or Never’ on Mass. Ave. funding

Senator Donnelly warns "we will lose this project" to other communities if we do not act this year.

Senator Donnelly, at February hearing, warns “we will lose this project” to other towns if we do not act this year.

Further delays in the Mass. Ave. Project could cost Arlington $6.8 million, State Senator Ken Donnelly warned today.

That alarm, two weeks before Arlington will vote on an oddly worded ballot question on Mass. Ave., was also sounded by the town’s Transportation Advisory Committee.

Writing in today’s Arlington Advocate, Donnelly lays out the worst-case scenario: an eleventh-hour attempt to revisit the design for Mass. Ave. would “leave insufficient time to redesign and meet the September deadline.”

In that case, Donnelly warns, “it is most likely that we will lose the 100 percent funding—$6.8 million—that has been allotted to fix Mass. Ave. in East Arlington.

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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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A pattern of growing support for Mass. Ave.

Last week’s public hearing capped nearly four years in which public opinion slowly but steadily tilted in favor of the Mass. Ave. project.

Key events, hearings, and elections since 2009 tell a story of a community that has sorted through the facts and arguments and reached a conclusion.

  • An uncertain community, divided nearly evenly, confronted the project proposal in 2009.
  • At the June 2010 design meeting, residents voicing strong concerns about safety began to eclipse the increasingly bitter objections of outright opponents.
  • The score was 46-27 at the 2011 hearing, and last week speakers in support outnumbered opponents by nearly 4 to 1.
  • Support for anti-Mass. Ave candidates has steadily dropped in town elections.

The key ingredient to this growing consensus was the willingness of planners and local officials to engage with everyday citizens to explain, listen and, when possible, incorporate criticisms into the design.

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A-Town to Feds: We really, really want it

Senator Donnelly warns "we will lose this project" to other communities if we do not act this year.

Senator Donnelly warns “we will lose this project” to other communities if Arlington does not act this year. Also shown at right: Arlington Selectman Joe Curro.

Amidst warnings that Arlington stands to lose more than $5 million in highway funds, a lively public hearing broadly endorsed the Mass. Ave. project by a margin of  nearly 4 to 1, extending a trend of growing support for the plan over time.

The hearing was convened by MassDOT at the request of the Federal Highway Administration, which however was not present.

The crowd, though slightly thinner than the turnout for a similar hearing two years ago, still spilled into the galleries.

The first speaker following presentations from state officials and the project engineers was Senator Kenneth Donnelly, who said that if the project does not move forward Arlington would lose funding for the project to other communities.

Donnelly’s warning was cheered by opponents of the project.

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Why four lanes don’t fit

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

April 2011 hearing, nearly a full house

I’ve been mining the transcript of the 25% design hearing that MassDOT held at Town Hall in April 2011, looking for things we ought to remember as we head into yet another such hearing this February 26.

One exchange addresses the question of, in effect, why can’t we have four lanes? Here Richard Azzalina, the Town’s lead consulting engineer, begins with a very provocative statement (Transcript 72.3–75.11):

First of all, I just want to be clear, Mass. Ave. is not designated or is not striped as a four-lane facility. Okay? It’s a very wide one lane.

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Untested highway software not used anywhere else in Mass.

Comments by the Federal Highway Administration that have delayed the reconstruction of Mass. Ave. are based on a new and untested computer tool that “hasn’t been widely reviewed” or “been used in this state by other traffic engineers and state agencies,” according to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation.

The agency, in a February 14 reply to a January 23 letter from the Federal Highway Administration, contrasts the Urban Streets Analysis Package promoted by Federal Highway with the Synchro model, which it says is “commonly used” and accepted.

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Clash of bureaucracies led to Mass. Ave. delay

Last month a long-simmering dispute between the Federal Highway Administration and MassDOT over the redesign of Mass. Ave. became public. On Valentines Day MassDOT’s response hinted at a dense back-and forth over traffic merges, trip times, and public participation.

One consequence is that MassDOT bowed to a federal request for another public hearing on the design (7 pm Tuesday February 26 at Town Hall).

Another is that MassDOT has delayed the project by 3 months, with advertising for the project now scheduled for June 1.

But what of the issues that the FHA raised on its January 23 letter to MassDOT? Those would be traffic merges, trip times, and public participation.

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