Archive for the ‘Thorndike’ Tag

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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Lights on

The new traffic signal at Thorndike St. going in on August 13.

The new traffic signal at Thorndike St. going in on August 13.

A work crew came by this morning and erected the new traffic signals at Thorndike and Teel.

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MBTA would eliminate, consolidate bus stops

The MBTA proposes to improve bus service on Mass. Ave. by moving and consolidating bus stops and providing benches, shelters, and other amenities.

New bus-stop location replaces those currently at Thorndike, Teel, Lafayette, and Sunapee. Blue X = removed, blue dot = proposed, white dot = current.

The proposal, which is preliminary, would move four bus stops from traffic signals that the neighborhood and the Town had retained over objections from the staff at Mass. Highway.

The plan would move and merge bus stops in East Arlington, including Sunapee/Boulevard Rds., Teel/Thorndike Sts., Linwood/Foster Sts., and Wyman Terr./Palmer St. Similar consolidations are proposed near the Foot of the Rocks area in Arlington Heights.

The T will present and take comments on the plan in the Selectmen’s Hearing Room at Town Hall from 6:30 to 8 PM on Thursday, June 9.

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Mass. Highway: Bigger bike lanes, scaled-back traffic signals

Foster St. signal (Source: Town of Arlington)

Wider bicycle lanes and changes to the Thorndike and Foster traffic signals are among the suggestions made to the Town this winter by state engineers at Mass. Highway.

The agency’s written comments to the Town’s proposed 25% plans for Mass. Ave. are generally supportive and include advice and many suggestions.

The Town’s response could include changes to its plans.

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Facts on the ground

Here’s Mass. Ave. at rush hour.

Zero seconds (8:08:47)

It’s a little after 8 a.m. on Thursday, December 2. The temperature is about 35°. I’m standing at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Henderson Street, looking more or less west.

Long shadows mark the bright clear morning. And there’s no traffic.

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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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New drawings at Town Day may be final

New plans for Mass. Ave. in East Arlington that would partially restore the traversable median proposed last year were unveiled at Town Day earlier today.

The plans may be submitted to the state within a few weeks, according to Town Planner Laura Wiener, who is overseeing the project.

East Arlington business district plans, September 25. Click for detailed view.

The basic features, such as the lane configuration and dedicated bicycle lanes, are unchanged from the version approved by the Town a year ago. In particular, the design still calls for

  • A single travel lane for most of the outbound (Westbound) traffic;
  • Two 11-foot travel lanes inbound;
  • Five-foot bicycle lanes in both directions;
  • Traffic signals at Teel and Linwood Streets, where there are signals today (and which had been in doubt), and a new signal at Bates Road;
  • Improved pedestrian crossings.

New since the previous drawings:

  • A 6-foot textured median, flush with the pavement, from Orvis Road to Milton Street.
  • On the stretch of road with the median, parking lanes would be 8.5 feet wide; elsewhere they would be 10 feet.
  • Where there is no median proposed, the width of the outbound travel lane would swell to as much as 15 feet (11 feet otherwise).

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Public views Mass. Ave. plans

About 200 Arlington residents and fellow travelers came to Town Hall last night for the seventh public hearing on much-delayed plans to refurbish Mass. Ave, which is still slated for 2012.

It was the first opportunity for the public to question the consulting engineers about the plan since April of 2009. The Board of Selectmen submitted the plans for State review last August.

New drawings were on display at the meeting

New drawings were on display at the meeting

Most of the basic elements of the plan are unchanged: the lane configuration, including bicycle lanes, new pedestrian crossings, and traffic signals at Teel/Thorndike, Lake, Bates/Marion, and Linwood/Foster.

As described last week, however, the latest drawings remove a proposed traversable median from  much of Mass. Ave., widen traffic lanes, and reduce or eliminate proposed sidewalk widening in the business district around the Capitol Theater.

One sidewalk would even be narrowed in one place to accommodate the wider traffic lanes.

The engineers made these and other changes in response to criticism of the 2009 version made earlier this year by Mass. Highway District 4.

Comments and questions following a presentation by Rick Azzalina of Fay Spofford & Thorndike were wide-ranging. Azzalina repeatedly described the design as “a work in progress” that could be influenced by public comments.

However, his responses to comments mostly explained why particular changes were unlikely or inexpedient.

Azzalina said the plan is to resubmit the so-called 25% plans to Mass. Highway next month, for a formal hearing in September paving the way (through many intermediate steps) to advertise the project in December of 2011.

My notes, incomplete and unofficial as usual, follow; my personal comments are in red.

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Teel-Thorndike traffic light gains

A preliminary review of the 25-percent plans for Mass. Ave. submitted by the Selectmen last summer supports keeping the traffic signal at Thorndike and Teel Streets in East Arlington. Similar support for the Linwood & Foster signal is absent. These traffic lights do not meet state warrants, or requirements, for traffic signals. However, the Town included them in the plan at the request of neighbors. (Disclosure: I am one of them.) The review is in the form of an internal memo from staff engineers at Mass DOT, the state’s new transportation agency. Continue reading

Committee Sends Plans to Selectmen

Summary of the decision: The expanded 18-member committee overseeing the redesign of Mass. Ave. in East Arlington last night (June 24) voted to submit a basic design to the Board of Selectmen.

The plan features two eastbound lanes, one-and-a-half westbound lanes, dedicated bicycle lanes, and traffic signals at all existing locations and at Bates Road.

If the Selectmen submit this plan to Mass. Highway on behalf of the town, and the state highway agency approves it, this design will be the framework within which other design issues are worked out.

Meeting Notes: (to the best of my ability, and completely unofficial. My personal comments are in red.)

The meeting began with a presentation from John Michalak and Doug Prentiss, consultants retained by the town for this project, recapping their work and explaining their requirements, methods, and some of their conclusions. This was for the benefit of those of us recently appointed to the panel, the second of two meetings at which we newcomers essentially dominated the agenda with questions and comments. The main points follow after the break. Continue reading

Latest Drawings: traffic lights at Thorndike, Linwood, & Bates

The latest drawings, dated June 16, are now up at the town web site. They show traffic lights at all the controversial Mass. Ave. intersections: (1) Thorndike and Teel, (2) Linwood and Foster, and (3) Bates and Marion.

(Note: A glitch at the Town’s site provides the wrong link for the second half of the June 16 drawings. Until it is fixed, you can see the second half here. Both halves of the drawings are available from the Town now.)

The design still incorporates two eastbound travel lanes, and a “one-and-a-half” lane configuration (one lane with left-turn lanes) westbound.

As I explained last week, this is a work in progress that will be subject to approval by the Selectmen and by Mass. Highway, a state agency. A draft of the report that the town must submit to Mass. Highway is also posted on the web site along with the drawings.

Lastest Plan: light stays at Thorndike St.

A June 10 memo from Arlington’s planning department recommends keeping the traffic signal at Thorndike and Teel streets (at Mass. Ave) even though that intersection does not meet state criteria for a traffic light.

The report also endorses the “three-and-a-half-lane” configuration for Mass. Ave. depicted in the May 14 drawings (which are available from the town here.) This option has two eastbound lanes and one westbound (with left turning lanes westbound, thus the “half” lane) for most of the project.

The Planning Department’s recommendation is not final, and even if adopted by the Selectmen the proposal to keep the Thorndike-Teel light will be subject to review by Mass. Highway.

The department endorsed the proposed shift of a traffic signal from Linwood/Foster to Bates/Marion, citing a likely improvement in traffic flow. However, the memo also concluded, “If the eventual decision is made not to include the light [at Bates Rd.]…we believe traffic navigating the intersection will be no worse off than it is today.”

The plan as recommended includes five-foot bike lanes on both sides of Mass. Ave. and does not entail widening the street or removing any trees.