Comments on Arborway Crosswalk Improvements presentation

Comments on Arborway Crosswalk Improvements presentation

May 15, 2014

Commissioner Jack Murray
Attn: Office of Public Outreach
Department of Conservation and Recreation
251 Causeway Street, Suite 600
Boston, MA 02114

Re: Arborway Crossing

Dear Commissioner Murray:

WalkBoston attended the May 6th public meeting and has reviewed DCR’s Arborway Crosswalk Improvements presentation.

First, we are pleased that DCR has responded to community concerns regarding the crosswalk’s unsafe existing conditions. The research by Toole Design Group seems thorough and we support their analysis. I personally live just a few blocks from the Arborway crosswalk. I use the crosswalk regularly to visit the Arnold Arboretum and I drive on the Upper Arborway. I see firsthand the risks of the current configuration.

We agree with some of Toole’s recommendations:
‐ Relocate the fence to improve sight lines
‐ Upgrade WALK signal (on main Arborway) to a countdown signal
‐ Improve signage and pavement markings

However, we do not support the “tiered” approach as presented. We believe that a geometric modification must be made to ensure that vehicles slow down at the crosswalk. Anything less than this will not adequately protect park visitors from driver error (or their own error). Geometric modifications should be a top priority, not postponed till the 3rd tier. This location needs either:
‐ Installation of a Raised Crosswalk in combination with a curb extension, or
‐ Installation of a Chicane with a curb extension on the west side of the Upper Arborway.

The changes that the Town of Brookline made to Pond Avenue along Olmsted Park are a good model for raised crosswalks. Pond Avenue formerly had similarly hazardous crosswalks, somewhat greater traffic volumes, and chronic speeding. The Town installed 3 or 4 raised crosswalks between Route 9 and the Chestnut Street rotary; these force vehicles to really slow down at the crosswalks.

In addition we would like to see:
‐ Construction of a larger queuing area where pedestrians and bikes can wait on the median between the main Arborway and the Upper Arborway
‐ Installation of some physical barrier such as bollards to clearly mark the edge between the waiting area and the Upper Arborway roadway.

With changes to roadway geometry the installation of Rectangular Rapid Flash Beacons — while somewhat effective — would probably be unnecessary. (In the absence of geometric modifications, the RRFBs would be a necessity.)

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on Arborway crosswalk safety improvements. Please feel free to contact WalkBoston with any questions. We would be happy to meet with you about our recommendations.

Don Eunson
Former WalkBoston Board Member and Jamaica Plain resident

cc: Patrice Kish, DCR
Julie Crockford, Emerald Necklace Conservancy
Jessica Mortell, EIT, Toole Design Group

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