Archive for the ‘safety’ Tag

New center design, scofflaw drivers may put cyclists at risk

A video showing motorists making illegal turns into bicycle and pedestrian traffic seems to corroborate fears that the design of a new bike lane in Arlington Center is flawed.

The illegal turns are shown in a bike-cam’s-eye view of the ride across Arlington Center outbound, using new bike facilities including a new signal at Swan Place. It was recorded and posted on YouTube by Brian Ristuccia.

Nobody was hurt, but someone could have been.

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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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Added: Visual nudge to merge

A few licks of paint added last July direct drivers to merge as they enter Arlington westbound from Cambridge. Are they effective?

Two arrows and a dotted line point drivers left. The markings were added in late July and were not part of the original pan for the street.

Two arrows and a dotted line point drivers left. The markings were added in late July and were not part of the original pan for the street.

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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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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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Driving under the influence

keysA reader recently chided me for including a drunk-driving incident in a list of Mass. Ave. crashes that killed or injured pedestrians.

In 2009, a drunk driver struck a local business owner in the Teel St. crosswalk and sent him to the hospital.

None of the other collisions involved alcohol, at least as far as we know.

But if we are honest we will admit that we are all driving under the influence.

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Town Meeting adopts ‘Complete Streets’ handily

GavelBy a vote of 157 to 32, Town Meeting last night voted to accept Chapter 90I of state law. The vote begins a process that could eventually qualify the Town for a new grants program to improve Mass. Ave. and other roadways.

The so-called Complete Streets program rewards communities for incorporating the needs of all kinds of road users (not just motorists) in street design.

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Arlington will seek Varnum crosswalk change

The Town of Arlington next week will request a second curb extension for the Mass. Ave. crosswalk where an East Arlington man died last month.

This curb cut would be modified ubto a bump out if MassDOT grants the request the Town  Manager plans to make on Monday.

This curb cut would be modified into a bump out if MassDOT grants the change order the Town Manager plans to request  on Monday.

Varnum St. is the only unsignalized crosswalk in the Mass. Ave project that is not designed to have bump-outs at both ends under current plans.

The change, which was requested by a neighborhood group, would add a bump-out at the curb cut laid last Friday in front of the Trinity baptists Church. The state Department of Transportation will rule on the request.

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