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Tag: Arnold Arboretum

Comments on Improvements to the Walter St and Bussey St Intersection

Comments on Improvements to the Walter St and Bussey St Intersection

November 13, 2015

Chris Osgood, Chief of Streets
Boston City Hall
Boston, MA 02201

Re: Improvements to the Walter Street and Bussey Street Intersection

Dear Mr. Osgood,

We have just been made aware of plan by the Boston Public Works Department for improvements to the intersection of Walter and Bussey Streets in Roslindale. We have been told that the plans appear to be finalized and ready for bidding.

The intersection has a high crash rate and its improvement is a high priority for many residents of Roslindale and West Roxbury who drive, walk, or bike to the Arnold Arboretum and other local institutions. Neighboring residents have a deep knowledge of problems with the intersection and want to have a design that reflects neighborhood concerns. An open and public process for designing the intersection is essential.

The design shows that turning radii will be altered to help calm turning traffic. However, through traffic and the high speeds of vehicles on Walter Street remains a potential hazard for people on foot. Traffic signals may be needed immediately for adequate protection for pedestrians. For the intersection, concurrent walk signal phasing and leading pedestrian intervals would improve safety for people crossing the street. This signal may also encourage walking to the Arnold Arboretum from residences on this side of the green areas.

Sidewalks should be added on the west side of Walter Street within the project limits. A second crosswalk south of Bussey would improve convenience and safety for people on foot and would increase the visibility of the intersection for people in cars.

Signs that mandate “yield to pedestrians on turns” should be installed at all crosswalks. Right turns on red should be prohibited for further safety for pedestrians.

Thank your for your consideration of these factors that would protect pedestrians at this intersection. We look forward to your reaction to community input and to the preparation of alternative designs.

Sincerely,

Wendy Landman
Executive Director

Cc Stefanie Seskin, Active Transportation Director

Comment Letter: Improving parkways in Emerald Necklace

Comment Letter: Improving parkways in Emerald Necklace

March 2, 2015

Department of Conservation and Recreation
Office of Public Outreach
251 Causeway Street, Suite 600
Boston, MA 02114

Re: Improving parkways in the Emerald Necklace

Dear Commissioner Murray:

WalkBoston thanks you for launching the public process to improve safety and connections for people walking, bicycling and driving the section of the Emerald Necklace parkways between Jamaica Pond and the future Casey Arborway (under construction). As well as creating new, separated paths for pedestrians and cyclists, proposed improvements include replacing Murray and Kelley Circles with new, safer “roundabouts.”

We understand that your office was initially responding to concerns of the bicycling community. However, your staff and consultants, Toole Design Group, quickly saw that the challenges facing cyclists and pedestrians in this area cannot be fixed without also solving the existing problems of confusing and dangerous vehicle circulation and chronic speeding. So, the scope and objectives were expanded to all users.

WalkBoston is happy to support this comprehensive package of improvements. The safety of people who are walking or bicycling is absolutely dependent on changing the traffic circles. We feel that the proposed plan would both provide good vehicle access and accomplish the following benefits for walkers:
Improve connections between Jamaica Pond and the Arnold Arboretum for all park visitors, whether on foot or on bike
Improve safety and reduce the number of accidents, injuries and deaths Improve quality of life for local residents
Make the movements through the roundabouts clear and understandable and prevent speeding

All of us are aware that the Arborway is unsafe. Between 2008 and 2012 alone there were 135 crashes on the Arborway, with more than 20 injuries. Murray Circle is especially dangerous because of high vehicle speeds and lack of clarity for drivers. Cars frequently jockey for openings and exits. No one wants to walk or bicycle across the roads that feed into Murray Circle!

Proposals
The process that DCR used to develop a set of “starter ideas” included both a public meeting and several meetings with local elected officials and pedestrian and bicycle advocates. The ideas presented by Toole Design at a public meeting on February 5 are impressive and promising.

  • Separate pedestrian sidewalks and bike paths would be provided in the area
  • The “circles” would be rebuilt as smaller, modern roundabouts that
    o    clarify vehicular movements
    o    make it difficult to exceed the “design speed” of 15‐20 mph
    o    provide multiple safe crosswalks (for people traveling in all directions)
  • Provide raised crosswalks to improve pedestrian visibility and slow traffic
  • Preserve the historic roads between today’s traffic circles including the allées of oak trees
  • Reduce the number of traffic signals that interrupt vehicle flow (reduced from 5 to 1)

What is strikingly innovative about the current “starter ideas” is the concept of replacing the enormous Murray Circle two smaller roundabouts, side by side, to sort and channel traffic clearly and efficiently – while providing multiple crossings for bikes and pedestrians.

In addition the plan provides local residents on both sides of the Arborway with multiple ways to access their homes, while using the outer roadways for local access only, making them safer for all users.

Naturally, a lot of details need to be worked out in the next phase of design (e.g. How will blind persons navigate the roundabouts? How will snow removal be handled?), but the big ideas are solid. Your agency’s intention is to make this area more livable for residents and park visitors alike while continuing to accommodate vehicles.

Sincerely,
Wendy Landman
Executive Director

Comments on Arborway Walking and Bicycling Improvements

Comments on Arborway Walking and Bicycling Improvements

March 2, 2015

Department of Conservation and Recreation
Office of Public Outreach
251 Causeway Street, Suite 600
Boston, MA 02114

Re: Improving parkways in the Emerald Necklace

Dear Commissioner Murray:

WalkBoston thanks you for launching the public process to improve safety and connections for people walking, bicycling and driving the section of the Emerald Necklace parkways between Jamaica Pond and the future Casey Arborway (under construction). As well as creating new, separated paths for pedestrians and cyclists, proposed improvements include replacing Murray and Kelley Circles with new, safer “roundabouts.”

We understand that your office was initially responding to concerns of the bicycling community. However, your staff and consultants, Toole Design Group, quickly saw that the challenges facing cyclists and pedestrians in this area cannot be fixed without also solving the existing problems of confusing and dangerous vehicle circulation and chronic speeding. So, the scope and objectives were expanded to all users.

WalkBoston is happy to support this comprehensive package of improvements. The safety of people who are walking or bicycling is absolutely dependent on changing the traffic circles. We feel that the proposed plan would both provide good vehicle access and accomplish the following benefits for walkers:

Improve connections between Jamaica Pond and the Arnold Arboretum for all park visitors, whether on foot or on bike.

Improve safety and reduce the number of accidents, injuries and deaths.

Improve quality of life for local residents.

Make the movements through the roundabouts clear and understandable and prevent speeding.

All of us are aware that the Arborway is unsafe. Between 2008 and 2012 alone there were 135 crashes on the Arborway, with more than 20 injuries. Murray Circle is especially dangerous because of high vehicle speeds and lack of clarity for drivers. Cars frequently jockey for openings and exits. No one wants to walk or bicycle across the roads that feed into Murray Circle!

Proposals

The process that DCR used to develop a set of “starter ideas” included both a public meeting and several meetings with local elected officials and pedestrian and bicycle advocates. The ideas presented by Toole Design at a public meeting on February 5 are impressive and promising.

• Separate pedestrian sidewalks and bike paths would be provided in the area

• The “circles” would be rebuilt as smaller, modern roundabouts that

o clarify vehicular movements

o make it difficult to exceed the “design speed” of 15‐20 mph

o provide multiple safe crosswalks (for people traveling in all directions)

• Provide raised crosswalks to improve pedestrian visibility and slow traffic

• Preserve the historic roads between today’s traffic circles including the allées of oak trees

• Reduce the number of traffic signals that interrupt vehicle flow (reduced from 5 to 1)

What is strikingly innovative about the current “starter ideas” is the concept of replacing the enormous Murray Circle two smaller roundabouts, side by side, to sort and channel traffic clearly and efficiently – while providing multiple crossings for bikes and pedestrians.

In addition the plan provides local residents on both sides of the Arborway with multiple ways to access their homes, while using the outer roadways for local access only, making them safer for all users.

Naturally, a lot of details need to be worked out in the next phase of design (e.g. How will blind persons navigate the roundabouts? How will snow removal be handled?), but the big ideas are solid. Your agency’s intention is to make this area more livable for residents and park visitors alike while continuing to accommodate vehicles.

Sincerely,

Wendy Landman
Executive Director