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Tag: curb extensions

Comments on Morton Intersection Improvements, Project: 608755

Comments on Morton Intersection Improvements, Project: 608755

Patricia Leavenworth, P.E., Chief Engineer
MassDOT-Highway Division
10 Park Plaza Boston, MA 02116-3973

Attn: Roadway Project Management – Room 6340

Re: Morton Intersection Improvements Project: 608755

December 21, 2018

Dear Ms. Leavenworth:

We are submitting comments in regards to Intersection Improvements at three intersections along Morton Street after seeing the plans at a public meeting on December 19, 2018.

First, we ask the Department to please extend the 10-day public comment period given that the meeting was held just before the Christmas holiday and it may be hard for residents to get feedback in on time. We are pleased to see MassDOT undertaking this project and look forward to continuing to work with you on implementation of safety improvements to the corridor.

Overall, we feel the project will improve safety for drivers, but will do little to improve the safety or convenience for pedestrians or cyclists. In this area, pedestrian safety needs to be prioritized in the design utilizing Complete Streets guidelines. We also ask that these spot improvements are the beginning and not the end of a process to improve the entire stretch of Morton St and create connections from Mattapan to Franklin Park and walking/biking paths in Jamaica Plain, especially as this stretch is identified in Go Boston 2030 for connecting the Southwest Corridor to the Blue Hills Reservation. In addition, we are advocating for the following adjustments and additions the plans presented on December 19:

  • Increased traffic calming on Morton Street
    The high speeds on Morton Street make the street unsafe for drivers, cyclists and pedestrians. We applaud that the design calls for narrower travel lanes but additional measures need to be taken to slow speeds. Possible solutions might be raised intersections, additional STOP signs and/or traffic signals.
  • Create a safe pedestrian crossing between Morton/Blue Hill Ave and Morton/Harvard
    There is no crosswalk in the 1000-foot stretch between Blue Hill Ave and Harvard Street. This is a dense residential neighborhood and the lack of a safe crossing here is a major community concern. The crossing could either be at Courtland/Havelock/Morton or Wellington Hill/Morton depending on the neighborhood’s preference.The lack of a crosswalk contributes to the highway feel of Morton Street and hence the high speeds and extremely high crash clusters over the past four years. Any crosswalk should include a HAWK beacon for improved notice and safety of pedestrians crossing the street.
  • Design a traffic signal system which enables pedestrians to easily and safely cross Blue Hill Ave
    People wishing to cross Blue Hill Ave must now push a button to wait for a WALK signal. Once the intersection is redesigned they will still have to push a button to cross the street. We strongly request traffic signals that “rest in WALK”.
    Push buttons result in very long waits for walkers. Depending upon when a walker pushes the button in the traffic cycle he/she may wait for over two minutes to get a walk signal. Furthermore, pedestrians must be able to cross the six lanes of Blue Hill Ave in one cycle. Neither MassDOT staff nor their consultants could guarantee that walkers would be able to cross in one cycle.
  • The bike boxes at the Blue Hill Ave and Morton St intersection are an important safety measure however the placement of one in the Southeast corner of the intersection could pose a dangerous conflict with right turning cars. We would like to look more closely at the designs to assess this. An additional left-turning bike box is needed at the northeast corner in so that cyclists can safely turn left off of blue Hill onto Morton St towards Jamaica Plain.
  • We support the overwhelming response from residents who advocated to keep the bus stop where it currently is on Blue Hill Ave.
  • We applaud the design’s tightening of curb radii at Blue Hill/Morton and if floating bus stops are in a location supported by community members, we would support them and the addition of bike facilities at the intersection. It appeared that at least some people at the public meeting had never seen or experienced floating bus stops and more education is needed about how they work when proposing them. We understand that parking will not be permitted within 20 feet of the intersections but we also heard that there are many violations of this regulation. We recommend that additional curb extensions, either concrete or flexposts, be added to the design.

Sincerely,
Dorothea Hass, WalkBoston
Eliza Parad, Boston Cyclists Union
Galen Mook, Massachusetts Bicycle Coalition
Tony Lechuga, LivableStreets Alliance

The Third Session of Streets for People in Lowell

The Third Session of Streets for People in Lowell

WalkBoston conducted its third Streets for People training session in Lowell with the Coalition for a Better Acre and Acre neighborhood residents on Thursday, July 31. City Transportation staff joined us and presented three street-redesign projects near our study area in the Acre neighborhood that will make walking safer. The designs include enhanced crosswalks, dedicated green buffers for sidewalks, and pedestrian signals. It was great to hear about the City’s commitment to walkability and interest in resident concerns regarding safer streets. The group then visited the two most dangerous intersections based on WalkBoston’s pedestrian crash data analysis, and measured vehicle speed and pedestrian signal timing. We already came up with recommendations that the City will consider. We look forward to continuing our conversations with the City as our training program continues. Streets for People is funded by the Cummings Foundation.

A group of participants measuring the pedestrian signal timing

 

 

 

 

Streets for People in Lowell

Streets for People in Lowell

In Lowell, WalkBoston, a Coalition for a Better Acre, and Acre neighborhood residents measured crosswalks, chalked out potential bump outs, and clocked traffic speeds as part of the Streets for People training program funded by the Cummings Foundation. These data will inform our recommendations to improve pedestrian safety and the quality of the walking environment in the Acre neighborhood.

Measuring the crossing distance
Chalk delineates a potential curb bump-out
Melrose High School/Middle School Campus Bicycle and Pedestrian Accessibility Project: Final Report

Melrose High School/Middle School Campus Bicycle and Pedestrian Accessibility Project: Final Report

WalkBoston and WatsonActive observed Middle School/High School arrival on April 25 and 27, 2017. Dismissal was not observed, as the traffic and safety issues identified by the key informants were focused on arrival. Additional infrastructure observations were also made.

The City Engineer requested a preliminary report recommending a project for possible inclusion in the City’s Complete Streets Prioritization Plan. WalkBoston and WatsonActive delivered a report of infrastructure recommendations for Melrose Street on April 28, 2017.

With the assistance of the MassDOT Safe Routes to School Program, online travel surveys were administered for both the High School and Middle School. These surveys collected information about how far away from school students live and their travel modes in the morning and afternoon. An additional parking survey was administered only to High School students who drive themselves to school. The High School travel and parking surveys were administered to students during class on June 6, 2017.

The Middle School travel survey was made available to Middle School parents from May 24 to June 12, 2017. Due to low initial participation, the Middle School travel survey was re-administered from June 14-30, 2017.

High School student focus groups were conducted on June 13, 2017 at Melrose High School.

Read the full report here:

WalkBoston-MelroseCampusBikePedProject-Final Report

Chelsea Complete Streets Support Letter

Chelsea Complete Streets Support Letter

December 4, 2017

Chelsea City Council
500 Broadway
Chelsea, MA 02150

RE: WalkBoston support for Chelsea Complete Streets Resolution and Policy

Dear Councilors:

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on Chelsea’s Complete Streets Resolution and Policy. As a statewide pedestrian advocacy organization working to make Massachusetts more walkable, WalkBoston enthusiastically supports this policy and encourages the Subcommittee and then the full City Council to pass it.

WalkBoston is deeply committed to safer streets in Chelsea, where we have had the privilege of working for several years now. In the past year we have conducted walk assessments in the Sector 4 and Park Square neighborhoods, working collaboratively with city departments, local residents, community organizations, and state agencies to recommend pedestrian safety improvements. (Copies of these walk assessment reports are included with this letter.) Such Complete Streets concepts are already informing the City’s Re-imagining Broadway initiative, and formalizing the policy order will ensure that this great progress continues.

The needs and opportunities around Complete Streets in Chelsea are great. The City was ranked as the top pedestrian crash cluster in the entire state for 2005-2014, highlighting the urgent need for safety improvements. The Re-imagining Broadway initiative, the forthcoming Silver Line Gateway, and ongoing urban revitalization efforts all present opportunities to create safe walking, biking and transit connections. More Complete Streets that accommodate all road users will bring substantial health, safety and economic benefits to Chelsea residents. The City Council has already taken a great step towards increased safety by reducing the default speed limit in Chelsea to 25 miles per hour, and adopting a Complete Streets framework will ensure that roadway designs help accomplish this objective.

To date 142 cities and towns all over Massachusetts have adopted Complete Streets policies, including dense urban municipalities near Chelsea like Cambridge, Somerville and Everett. These communities are pursuing innovative measures like protected bike lanes, painted curb extensions, and dedicated bus lanes to enhance mobility and connectivity for their residents.
WalkBoston encourages the City of Chelsea to follow suit, and we look forward to our continued work here to help advance Complete Streets that work for everyone.

Sincerely,

Adi Nochur
Project Manager