Archive for the ‘pedestrians’ Tag

Snappy new video is vague on bicycles

Experienced cyclists, like motorists, may proceed through the intersection cautiously after stopping at the stop sign.

That explanation is one of the few things missing from the 2-minute video the Town of Arlington made to explain the new traffic signal in Arlington Center.

Source: Town of Arlington.

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Sign of the Times

Source: MassDOT

Before the new default speed limit of 25 miles per hour goes into effect on May 1, the Town will post 16 of these signs at entry points to Arlington.

The new limit, authorized by Town Meeting last fall under a new state law, will apply to most, but not all, of the streets in town. It was adopted by the Board of Selectmen on February 27.

More information in this report, which I wrote last month.

The design of the sign, and the wording “Thickly Settled Speed Limit 25 Townwide Unless Otherwise Posted,” is specified by the state Department of Transportation.

The generic 25-mph sign I used to illustrate my report is not what we’ll see.

Arlington slows down

Speed Limit 25

The default speed limit town wide will drop to 25 miles per hour, from 30, on May 1, after a vote by the Board of Selectmen. Will it make a difference?

The new limits will apply generally to roads in town that do not have a posted limit. Route 2 is not affected.

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Beware the HAWK

There will be no green light at the traffic signal that will regulate the new pedestrian crosswalk over Mass. Ave. in Arlington Center.

At that location, drivers and pedestrians will encounter a new kind of traffic signal unlike any in the area. The potential for confusion, and even injury, is real.

Phase-by-phase diagram of HAWK signal

There’s no green. Click for larger. Source: U.S. Federal Highway Administration

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Mass. Ave. old and new

Phil Goff, a professional transit planner who served on the design committee for the Mass. Ave. Project, gave the following remarks about the new Mass. Ave. versus the old at Saturday’s ribbon-cutting.

The ceremony was held at the foot of Grafton Street, site of one of East Arlington’s most improved pedestrian crosswalks. Click any photo for a larger view.

BEFORE: The crosswalk at Grafton St., where Lucy delGado was fatally struck in 2013.

BEFORE: The crosswalk at Grafton St., where Lucy Delgado was fatally struck in 2013. The crossing had long been troublesome.

Today the crosswalk features curb extensions, a safety island, and a lane reduction. View SW towards Orvis Rd; both photos by permission of Phil Goff.

AFTER: Today the crosswalk features curb extensions, a safety island, and a lane reduction. View SW towards Orvis Rd; both photos by Phil Goff.

As you look around, take in the new Mass Ave.

For the past 50 years, cars dominated the old Mass Ave but no more. For the past 50 years, walking across the old Mass Ave was like playing Russian Roulette but no more. For the past 50 years, bicyclists have had no space to ride on the old Mass Ave but no more.

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As Mass. Ave. wraps, a personal note

Painted

Drivers get their heads around the new lane markings in Capitol Square.

It is oddly appropriate that the Mass. Ave. project is finishing up at the same moment that my ability to write about it is curtailed.

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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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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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Varnum bump-out work suggests project ahead of schedule

The curb stones for the new bump-out at the Trinity Baptist Church were laid last week.

The curb stones for the new bump-out at the Trinity Baptist Church were laid last week.

Mass. Ave. contractor J.F. Lynch began work last week on a curb bump-out added to the Mass. Ave. project last spring, following the death of East Arlington resident William Dotson in the Varnum Street crosswalk.

The start of this work in late July suggests that the entire project may be ahead of schedule. That seems to be confirmed by the latest news from the project team.

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Steampunk walk lights

Walk

The finials on the brackets and the design of the post reflect the same Victorian aesthetic of the new street lamps on Mass. Ave.

New pedestrian signals being installed as part of the Mass. Ave. project in East Arlington are architecturally similar to the Victorian-style pedestrian-scale lighting in the business district.

Those lights might almost be actual gas lamps, if one ignores the electric light source and the inaccurate configuration of ladder bars.

There is something intriguing, however, about seeing the same ornate wrought-iron motifs in an electric walk signal, as though a monorail were tricked out to resemble a steam locomotive. Think of it as the steampunk look.

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“Pedestrian-scale lighting”

New lights in the business district are designed to illuminate the sidewalks, not the streets.

New electric lights in the business district resemble old-fashioned gas lamps. Note modern street light at upper right.

In case you were wondering, “pedestrian-scale lighting” does not mean Leprechaun-sized fixtures that fire off light rays at eye level.

Rather, it’s these old-style street lamps, about half to two-thirds the height of the (roughly) 35-foot-tall modern-style street lights that illuminate Mass. Ave.

The pedestrian-scale stuff casts its rays on the sidewalks.

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Mass. Ave.: On schedule and coming through

xx

“Premature spalling” of sidewalk replaced last fall near Allen St. by Dunkin Donuts.

The state Department of Transportation is designing an additional sidewalk bump at the Trinity Baptist Church. It is investigating the “premature spalling” of some of the sidewalk poured last fall and has delayed work several times at the request of local businesses.

However, at a public meeting with residents at the Thompson School on May 14, the team managing the reconstruction of Mass. Ave. in East Arlington rebuffed requests from residents for changes to mitigate the impact of construction on residents and businesses.

About 35 residents learned the above and other construction news from the project team that includes MassDOT and contractor J.H. Lynch. It was about half the number who attended a similar briefing in June of 2014.

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