Comments on MassDOT Maffa Way + Mystic Ave Bridge Project (File No. 607670)

Comments on MassDOT Maffa Way + Mystic Ave Bridge Project (File No. 607670)

March 22, 2022

Carrie E. Lavallee, P.E.,
Acting Chief Engineer

Suite 6340, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116

via e-mail to

Attention: Major Projects, Project File No. 607670

Dear Ms. Lavallee,

I attended the public meeting for the MassDOT Maffa Way / Mystic Ave Bridge Project in Somerville (near Sullivan Square) earlier this month. There were a few questions from the audience and a discussion about vehicle speed which seemed to show a real disconnect between MassDOT’s Safe Speed Management guidance and the way that this project is being designed.

This project is set to be completed in 2027, and will rebuild the bridges / associated roadways. There are a lot of project elements that will help to make the roads and sidewalks safer for biking and walking and improve access to the MBTA station. However, when I brought up the recently released speed guidance that describes target speeds, it was not very well received by the project team. The default speed in both Somerville and Boston is 25mph. This project is using a design speed of 35mph, after doing a speed study and seeing that the 85% speed on the existing roadway was ~32mph. At least three other attendees also commented that the design speed is way too high.

Good points were made that MassDOT should be designing a road for what is needed, and not repeating the design problems that are out there right now which allow people to drive way too fast, especially at off peak times. MassDOT & all MassDOT consultants should be setting the example for the rest of Massachusetts about how projects can incorporate the recently released Safe Speed Management guidance through setting target speeds for a reconstructed roadway rather than relying exclusively on the 85th percentile of the existing road.

Thank you,

Brendan Kearney
Deputy Director, WalkBoston

Comments are closed.