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Tag: mid-block crossing

Yarmouth Route 28 Walk Audit

Yarmouth Route 28 Walk Audit

On Thursday, June 28, 2018, WalkBoston conducted a walk audit along Route 28 as part of the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s (EOPSS) Pedestrian Safety Planning Initiative for High-Fatality Communities. The EOPSS Pedestrian Safety Planning Initiative builds municipal staff understanding and awareness of the components of a safe walking environment. WalkBoston is working in partnership with EOPSS to address walking safety concerns in Massachusetts communities with high pedestrian crash rates, with the goal of reducing pedestrian fatalities and serious injuries in the Commonwealth.1 In Yarmouth, WalkBoston met with representatives from the Department of Public Works, Community Development, and the Police Department prior to the walk audit to identify an area in need of pedestrian infrastructure improvements.

Read the full report here:

WalkBoston-WalkAudit-Route28-Yarmouth

 

Seaport Square Expanded NPC Comment Letter 11/1/17

Seaport Square Expanded NPC Comment Letter 11/1/17

November 1, 2017

Matthew Beaton, Secretary
Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs
Attn: MEPA Analyst Alex Strysky
100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114

Gary Uter
Boston Planning and Development Agency
One City Hall Square
Boston, MA 02201

Re: Comments on the Seaport Square Expanded NPC, MEPA 14255

Dear Secretary Beaton and Mr. Uter:

Roughly 13 acres of the Seaport Square project remains to be developed. The remaining parcels primarily sit behind the major frontage of the project on Seaport Boulevard, are sandwiched between off-­ramps to the Harbor Tunnel approaches and reach from Summer Street to the water’s edge at Fan Pier. The expanded Notice of Project Change describes a project that is framed around the north-­south local streets that flank “Harbor Way,” a new and wide interior pedestrian street that will extend 5-­6 blocks between the Harbor and Summer Street.

1. The concept for Harbor Way is very strong. The major and continuous pedestrian street is planned and designed to encourage its use by large numbers of people. Harbor Way is intended to create the focus for a sort of ‘downtown’ for the Seaport District that will serve commuters, visitors and tourists. The success of Harbor Way is critical to attracting and retaining tenants and users of the corridor.

2. Generally, mid-­block crossings are provided for pedestrians.

  • At Congress Street the proposed mid-­block pedestrian crossing is protected by signalization, bump-­outs to narrow the crossing distance, and a refuge median.
  • At Autumn Lane, a privately owned minor street designated primarily for service vehicle access, the possibility of a platform or raised crossing has been mentioned.
  •  At Seaport Boulevard the pedestrian crossing is mid-­block and will be a fully signalized crossing.

3. At this time a mid-­block crossing of Summer Street seems to be missing from the plan and needs to be addressed.

  • We ask that the proponent work closely with the City and the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) to plan for a major mid-­block pedestrian crossing at the end of Harbor Way, where it would logically cross Summer Street. We hope that the MCCA will be able to take on some of the responsibility for helping to plan and fund this mid-­block crossing, as its main entrance is only a long city block away and the Harbor Way is likely to form a major attraction for the visitors to BCEC events in the future.
  •  The City should be involved, as it is already programming a major reconstruction of the cross-­section of Summer Street from the Fort Point Channel up to Boston Wharf Road, a mere half-­block away from this proposed crossing. Continuing this improvement to the BCEC should be a major objective for development of the area. The Summer Steps at the terminus of Harbor Way should not be constructed until the mid-­block pedestrian crossing is laid out and programmed for construction.
  • A disappointing aspect of development along Boston Wharf Road is the existence of the very large Park Lot C owned by the U.S. Post Office Department, which abuts Summer Street, where Boston Wharf Road passes under it. This particular site, with difficult roadway access, is unfortunately situated so that improvements in connection with the construction of Harbor Way are unlikely, even though the mid-­block crossing that is so essential for the future success of Harbor Way at its terminus with Summer Street. Ownership and physical configuration of the site mean that the proponent, the City and the Convention Center Authority will need to work together to plan and build the mid-­block crossing at this location.

4. The anchor for the south end of Harbor Way has been left partially undefined. The proponent has designed the Summer Steps to take advantage of a 24’ grade change between the site and the level of Summer Street. A supplementary elevator is provided, and the steps have a ramp to be used by cyclists. A portion of the steps could also become the seating in a performance facility, aided by electronic connections and lighting to encourage its use. A generous setback between the bottom of the stairs and Congress Street will allow for staged performances. The two sites that flank the steps are loosely defined as office and a possible hotel, and include the possibility of a 650-­seat public performance space. Without development of the two sites, the Steps may not be feasible.

5. A strong anchor for the north end of Harbor Way appears somewhat elusive. Harbor Way ends at a pavilion that would mirror District Hall across the park known as Seaport Common. The building will house a stairway and elevator leading to its roof, which will be open to the public. The two lower floors will house the Mass. Fallen Heroes Mourning Room and perhaps a restaurant. Access to the waterfront will continue along the side of the building, leading to a street to the ICA building and the harbor’s edge. Thus the ICA and its waterfront area is the true anchor at the north end of Harbor Way. Access to the large, nearby Fan Pier Public Green (another possible anchor on the north end of Harbor Way) is indirect, and a diagonal trip across the proponent’s Common Park would complete a slightly different connection between Harbor Way and the waterfront. However, this kind of connectivity to the Fan Pier Public Green appears infeasible with the present plan for the Seaport Common pavilion.

6. Preservation of the pedestrian way between Seaport Boulevard and Northern Avenue should be central to planning of the north end of Harbor Way. The proponent has proposed that service and parking access to Parcel G will be via Northern Avenue which WalkBoston believes is an appropriate location. We believe that an alternative location for this access on Harbor Way (as proposed by others) would introduce very unfortunately add parking entrances and loading docks along this quiet and pleasant pedestrian way and transform it’s character. Harbor Way is designed as a special pedestrian space and parking and loading should not occur in the space, especially since reasonably convenient and accessible alternatives are easily available. We concur with the developer’s plan to keep Harbor Way free of these vehicular functions.

7. The streets flanking Harbor Way may pose challenges for successful pedestrian-­focused development. The proponent is committed to expanding the Harbor Way walking focus by lining two parallel streets with retail uses designed to appeal to pedestrians. Boston Wharf Road and the East Service road, parallel to Harbor Way, are proposed to be lined with retail and other public attractions. As the Harbor Way development blocks come on line, retail will be a major element to attract walkers into the district. It seems likely that retail will be somewhat slow to locate on either of the parallel streets until Harbor Way is successfully launched, a challenge in today’s low energy retail environment.

  • The East Service Road in particular may be difficult to develop as a retail spine. It will provide access to and from the Third Harbor Tunnel and I-­90 with connections into and through the Seaport District. Bicycle facilities have already been eliminated from the street because they were precluded by the many highway ramp links into the Interstate system. At the same time, pedestrian connections have been expanded with wider sidewalks, leading to an expanded retail area. Given the anticipated vehicular traffic on the street, retail activities seem unlikely in the near term, especially with the competition of the nearby Harbor Way with its robust pedestrian environment.
  • Pedestrian crossings should be explored at a mid-­‐block crossing of the East Service Road at Autumn Way to connect between Harbor Way and the so-­called M-­block development on the south side of East Service Road.
  •  Boston Wharf Road may attract retail uses, but will need to contend with the fact that this two-­way street provides major roadway access to the Seaport District and is likely to become a major access route for vehicles coming to the Harbor Way pedestrian spine. Sidewalks have been widened in anticipation of this evolution of the area.
  • Special attention may be needed at two locations on Boston Wharf Road. The first is the connection to Seagreen Park – Site Q – a park on the north side of the street, where a mid-­block pedestrian crossing is likely to be needed. Second, attention is being given to a through-­building connection further south to provide additional connections with Harbor Way, and it would be appropriate to evaluate whether a mid-­block crossing is warranted at this location.

Thank you for the opportunity to provide comments on the pedestrian environment at Seaport Square. We are happy to answer any questions you have about our comments.

Best regards,

Wendy Landman                                 Bob Sloane
Executive Director                               Senior Planner

Cc Yanni Tsipis, WS Development Jim Fitzgerald, BPDA Fred Peterson, MCCA Pat Sullivan, Seaport TMA

Comments on the DCR’s Arborway Proposals

Comments on the DCR’s Arborway Proposals

November 4, 2015

Mass DCR
Office of Public Outreach
251 Causeway Street
Suite 600
Boston, MA 02114

WalkBoston Comments on the DCR’s Arborway Proposals

First of all, WalkBoston commends the DCR on its work to correct the serious safety issues to be found in the present Arborway configuration. We thoroughly endorse the project’s approach of channeling regional traffic to the center lanes and making the “carriageways” function as local, neighborhood streets with improved bicycle facilities and upgraded safety features and connections. We believe the proposed re-­design of the Arborway in Jamaica Plain will indeed improve bicycle and vehicular safety.

CONCERNS ABOUT PEDESTRIAN SAFETY AND CONVENIENCE
However, we are not convinced that the changes, taken together, will actually improve safety for people on foot. We are concerned about the multiple pedestrian crosswalks at the Kelley and Murray new roundabouts, which we fear may not improve safety and will certainly make walking across the Arborway much less convenient. Before WalkBoston can support this project we need to sit down with DCR and their consultants, Toole Design, to discuss the safety and increased walking trip times to traverse the roundabouts.

The crosswalks appear to have multiplied since the February 2015 design. For example, slip lanes to facilitate through traffic have been added at both Kelly and Murray Circles. At the new Kelly roundabout pedestrians wishing to walk from Pond Street to Orchard Street will need to traverse nine crosswalks in order to cross from one side of the Arborway to the other. Currently, pedestrians can do this in a simple, two-­step crossing with a pedestrian-­actuated traffic signal. (See below for more detailed discussion of this issue.)

Moreover, many transportation engineers question the safety of multiple lane roundabouts: “Multiple-­lane roundabouts lose many of the safety benefits of single-­lane roundabouts. In general, multi-­lane roundabouts are not recommended in areas with high levels of pedestrian and bicycle activity.” (Chicago Metropolitan Agency for Planning 2015) We at WalkBoston are unfamiliar with any multi-­lane roundabouts in eastern Massachusetts that are truly pedestrian friendly and would interested to know of any examples DCR or its consultants have found in the course of the planning process. WalkBoston appreciates that the re-­design calls for raised crosswalks, which will function as a traffic calming measure, WalkBoston would nevertheless like DCR to consider the efficacy of a signalized, mid-­block crosswalk between Kelly and Murray Circles, similar to the mid-­block crosswalk near the Arnold Arboretum main entrance.

To make the same journey today, pedestrians from Moss Hill have two signalized crosswalks. One can hardly call the proposed configuration an improvement for someone on foot.

HISTORIC STONE WALL
WalkBoston supports retention of the historic stone wall, however, if it is necessary to break through the wall in order to make a crucial connection to improve vehicular Kelley circulation, and then re-­build the new wall ends to look like the historic wall ends, WalkBoston would support this — and it’s likely that most local residents would, too. We do not think it is necessary to protect the stone walls in their entirety. The February plan for Kelley had a more logical connection from the roundabout to Orchard Street.

PARKING ON THE CARRIAGEWAYS
At the October public meeting, someone suggested that the new proposed parking lane on the carriageways be eliminated to enhance the parkway appearance. A surprising number of people agreed with this. WalkBoston strongly supports local parking on the carriageways for the following reasons:
Residents along the Arborway are entitled to have street parking for guests as residents on adjacent streets do.
Parking along the carriageways is a benefit for overflow, event parking for Jamaica Pond and the Arnold Arboretum. The demand was clearly present. Even though Kelley Circle is posted as “no parking”, visitors have habitually parked there when visiting Jamaica Pond.

 

CONCLUSION

WalkBoston remains deeply concerned about pedestrian safety and accessibility along the Arborway. The proposed DCR redesign is a major step forward for bicycle and vehicle safety and convenience. It is not as large a step forward for pedestrian safety and may be a step backward in terms of pedestrian friendliness and convenience. We believe very strongly that the Arborway should be designed to be a fully multimodal roadway with vehicle, bicycle and pedestrian traffic treated on an equal basis. The parks and ponds in the area are a unique attraction and the area’s residential and commercial neighborhoods are well suited to walking and biking. The Arborway should support and promote both forms of transportation in order to prevent ever-­‐increasing vehicular traffic volumes and to meet the recreational and health goals of the Emerald Necklace of which it is an integral part.

 

Sincerely,

Dorothea Hass, WalkBoston                                 Don Eunson, Jamaica Plain resident

cc: Julie Crockford, President
Emerald Necklace Conservancy.

School Street Walk Audit Manchester By the Sea

School Street Walk Audit Manchester By the Sea

School Street connects Route 128 to Route 127, Manchester’s “Main Street,” and because it is one of the town’s connecting streets it carries fairly heavy traffic traveling at speeds that make walking uncomfortable. Pedestrians crossing the street feel unsafe, and many of the people who attended the walk audit had stories of cars failing to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk or waiting to cross. Because School Street provides walking access to the community’s elementary, middle and high schools there is great interest in increasing pedestrian safety along the street.

Read the full report here:
WalkBoston-School Street Safety Recommendations-ManchesterByTheSea

Comments on the Design for Commonwealth Avenue Phase 2A

Comments on the Design for Commonwealth Avenue Phase 2A

2 July 2014

Commissioner Jim Gillooly
Boston Department of Transportation
1 City Hall Square, Room 721
Boston, MA 02201-2026

Vice President Robert Donahue
Boston University Government & Community Affairs
121 Bay State Road
Boston, Massachusetts 02215

Re: Design for Commonwealth Avenue Phase 2A

Dear Commissioner Gillooly and Vice President Donahue:

We appreciate you taking the time to meet on Wednesday, June 25 to review the plans and process for Commonwealth Avenue Phase 2A. The redesign is an exciting opportunity to build a model street that will help achieve our collective goals for safety, enhanced user experience, and multi-modal transportation. These goals are in line with mode-shift, climate change, and public health goals set forward in Boston’s Complete Streets Guidelines, Bike Network Plan, and Climate Plan, MassDOT’s goals to triple biking, walking and transit mode share, and the goals set out in the Boston University Master Plan. The project provides a key opportunity to re-build Commonwealth Avenue to protect the needs of the area’s growing population of people who bike and walk, and address the decline of car traffic on the street and in the city.1

Unfortunately, the current designs for the project do not achieve these admirable project goals. Widening street lanes and adding fences encourages cars to move faster, making the street less safe and less comfortable for people. The plan to narrow the already overcrowded sidewalks does not serve the thousands of people who walk on Commonwealth Avenue every day. The current bike lane, which has been the site of many injuries and at least one fatality, is not significantly improved in the design, though there is a clear opportunity here to prevent more tragedies from occurring.

The safety of our community and the student population of Boston University and many other institutions in the area demands that the plans for Commonwealth Avenue Phase 2A be redesigned to protect people and meet the project objectives.

  • Increase the comfort and safety of pedestrians
    o  Minimize sidewalk narrowing to maintain adequate width for pedestrian volumes and allow businesses to maintain outdoor café seating
    o  Make crosswalks and curb ramps as wide as sidewalk walking zones
    o  Minimize tripping hazards from curb ramps, for example at the corner of Pleasant and Commonwealth Ave.
    o  Add curb extensions at all intersections
    o  Time the walk signals to allow for a single-stage crossing of Commonwealth Ave
    o  Make all walk signals automatic
    o  Add a mid-block crosswalk at Alcorn St/Naples Rd
  • Protect people biking and encourage more people to bike
    o  Explore all options to add cycle tracks (protected bike lanes) without narrowing sidewalks
    —   Parking-protected one-way cycle tracks
    —  Center-lane one-way cycle tracks (similar to those used on Commonwealth Ave in the Back Bay)
    o  Add bike boxes at intersections (traditional and two-stage turn queue boxes for those waiting to turn left)
    o Incorporate bike signals and leading bicycle phasing at intersections
  • Keep transit moving
    o  Add transit signal priority for Green Line trains and buses
    o  Add curb extensions at bus stops
  • Design for safe and steady traffic speeds
    o  Green Wave: coordinate traffic signals to bike speed (15 MPH)
    o  Make all travel lanes no wider than 10.5’ (MassDOT regularly approves this)

We understand that project funding depends on final designs by FY15. However, funding a design that does not meet the objectives of the City, the University, or Boston citizens is not a win for anyone and public controversy slows the process more than would design changes.

These designs have not had a true public process; LivableStreets Alliance, MassBike, and many other advocates and citizens submitted comments at the 25% design meetings, but heard no response and received no follow up information on the project. To redesign such an important and heavily-used street without an inclusive process is contrary to the City’s guidelines and goals.

We urge the City to engage in an inclusive public process to move plans from 25% to 100% design in order to build a street that we can all support. Past projects (including Connect Historic Boston) illustrate that the City can develop 0 to 100% design plans in less than a year.

We ask you to please respond to this letter by Wednesday, July 9, 2014 to let us know how you intend to address these concerns.

Sincerely,

Jamie Maier
Campaign Coordinator, LivableStreets Alliance

Pete Stidman
Executive Director, Boston Cyclists Union

David Watson
Executive Director, MassBike

Wendy Landman
Executive Director, WalkBoston

 

CC:
Nicole Freedman, Boston Bikes
Mike Wasielewski, BETA
Merrick Turner, BETA
Bill Conroy, Boston Transportation Department
Michelle Consalvo, Boston University
Ken Ryan, Boston University
Bill Egan, Boston Public Works Department

Attachments:

  • Comment Letter on Design for Commonwealth Avenue Phase2A
  • Marked up plans for Commonwealth Avenue Phase2A
  • Photo example of curb ramp/crosswalk as wide as sidewalk to meet high volumes
  • Photo example of cycle track
  • Bike Network Plan

Other Materials


Footnotes

 

Bike use has increased as much as 135% since 2007, pedestrian volumes have increased 80% since 2001, and car volumes have decreased as much as 31% since 1987 in the project area, according to the Boston University Master Plan (sections 8.5.1-8.5.6)