Comments on Morrissey Boulevard Reconstruction Proposal

Comments on Morrissey Boulevard Reconstruction Proposal

April 22, 2016

Re: Proposal for reconstruction of Morrissey Boulevard in Dorchester

WalkBoston appreciates the opportunity to comment on the proposal for the reconstruction of Morrissey Boulevard. The proposal is very timely and demonstrates a commitment to deal with long-range issues resulting from potentially higher sea levels and the need for sustainable development along the ocean.

We are commenting because of concern about pedestrian issues associated with this project.

We are concerned about the potential speed of vehicles on Morrissey Boulevard, and believe that the designs for the roadway should incorporate deliberate methods of slowing vehicles. These include the consideration of narrowing the lane widths in both directions on the facility. Elimination of a lane in each direction would substantially reduce speeds and make the roadway safer for all users. With extra space along both sides of the roadway, safer pedestrian and bicycle facilities could be provided.

The cross-section of the proposed facility seems cramped by the need to incorporate space for vehicles, bicycles and pedestrians. Facilities for pedestrians and bicycles should be wider than minimum standards, as this is a place for not just movement, but also enjoyment of the surroundings. Pedestrian and bicycle facilities should be constructed on separate alignments, perhaps with vertical separation or with landscaping and path surfacing that directs traffic into the appropriate facility. Pedestrian walkways should definitely be located directly on the water on the ocean and the Malibu Beach sides of the corridor, with the biking facility separated and located nearer the roadway. Where possible, there should be outlooks for pedestrians, and seating for walkers to use for resting and enjoying the site.

The roadway should also be designed to protect crosswalks that are included in the design. These roads need signed, and perhaps painted, warnings on approaches to crosswalks, as the current crosswalks seem randomly located, with some having minimal signals, and may not be noticed by drivers until the very last moment. The crosswalks should connect directly to local streets and their sidewalks where possible, including the walkways lining Malibu Beach. Some of the existing sidewalks are in need of physical widening and upgrading to provide for safe passage between local streets and the crosswalks.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this very important project.


Wendy Landman

Executive Director

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