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Comments on Arborway Safety Audit Meeting and DCR Parkway Needs Along the Necklace

Comments on Arborway Safety Audit Meeting and DCR Parkway Needs Along the Necklace

February 7th, 2019

Commissioner Leo Roy
Department of Conservation and Recreation
251 Causeway St, 9th Floor
Boston, MA. 02114
Re: Arborway, Jamaica Plain, MA.

Dear Commissioner Roy:

We are writing to express our strong desire to partner with DCR and others to improve
safety for all users on the Arborway section of the Emerald Necklace in the Jamaica Plain
neighborhood for Boston. This area forms part of the larger Emerald Necklace and poses
serious challenges accommodating pedestrians, bicycles and automobiles safely in a
continuous manner along its length.

Over the last several years, DCR planning efforts have started, meetings have been held,
proposals made, but final plans or improvements are not yet planned or realized. We ask
that you re-double your efforts to improve Arborway from Jamaica Pond/Kelley Circle to
the new Casey Arborway. The Conservancy and our partners at Walk Boston and The
Boston Cyclists Union are very concerned with the number of incidents that have taken
place along the Arborway in Jamaica Plain recently. This section of roadway has proven to
be an increasingly dangerous stretch over the last couple of years, and we would like to
draw your attention to what seems to be a growing number of incidents in recent months.
The incidents have ranged in seriousness. Last year, a victim of a crash in 2013 succumbed
to his serious brain injuries and died.

Based on information received from local residents and the Arborway Coalition over the
summer months in 2018 there were:

  • 3 crashes through the fence across from the Arboretum resulting in damage to the fence and
    trees.
  • The pedestrian crossing sign at Murray Circle/Centre Steet /May Street was hit and
    knocked over twice, with tire tracks visible on the sidewalk.
  • A hit and run involving a motorist and bicyclist at Murray Circle.

Based on information gathered from a State Police Report (likely NOT complete) there were
approximately 150 reported crashes on the Arborway from Jan. 5, 2017 to Aug. 8, 2018,
which is an average of over 8 crashes per month.

In the fall of 2018, the Conservancy’s staff, Board of Overseers and others organized walks
through this area of the Arborway. Attendees included Nika Elugardo, new State Representative,
and Jennifer Norwood of DCR. The walks were helpful to see the issues along this section of
parkway (excessive speeds, lack of clear and safe pedestrian and bicycle amenities) and make it
clear that we are seeking a solution that improves safety for all – pedestrians, bicyclists and
automobiles.

We understand that alterations to the Arborway section of the parkways were put on hold until
the new Casey Arborway was completed. The Casey Arborway roadway work is now in place, so
we hope improvements can proceed without delay to the remainder of the Arborway.

We were pleased to recently learn that DCR is doing a comprehensive road safety audit of this
section of parkway and is working with MassDOT to collect all available data. We look forward to
joining an anticipated site walk and seeing a final report in April.

It is our hope that this safety audit will lead to good information, and will lead to a plan to make
improvements. Please let us know how we can support your efforts towards this goal.

Thank you for your attention to this pressing matter.

Sincerely yours,

Karen Mauney-Brodek, President
Emerald Necklace Conservancy

Wendy Landman, Executive Director
WalkBoston

Becca Wolfson, Executive Director
Boston Cyclists Union

Cc: Chris Cook Chief, Environment, Energy, and Open Space; Commissioner, Parks and Recreation;
Erin Gallentine, Director of Open Space, Town of Brookline;
Patrice Kish, Director of Historic Resources, DCR;
Jennifer Norwood, Director of External Affairs and Partnerships, DCR;
Conservancy Board of Directors and Overseers
Nika Elugardo, State Representative
Liz Malia, State Representative
Matt O’Malley, City Councilor

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