Tag: crosswalk marking

Comments on Jamaica Pond: Parkman and Perkins Access Enhancement

Comments on Jamaica Pond: Parkman and Perkins Access Enhancement

May 8, 2017

Commissioner Leo Roy
Department of Conservation and Recreation
Office of Public Outreach
251 Causeway Street, Suite 600
Boston, MA 02114

Re: Jamaica Pond: Parkman and Perkins Access Enhancements

Dear Commissioner Roy:

WalkBoston is very pleased that Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) is designing safe pedestrian access to Jamaica Pond from adjacent developments and the larger communities of Brookline and Boston.

WalkBoston Supports the Proposed Signalized Crossings
As we stated at the Public Hearing on April 11, 2017 WalkBoston strongly supports a signalized crossing at Cabot Estates where residents have for years been pressing for a safe crossing to the pond.

We are pleased that the crossing at Parkman/Perkins will also be signalized and we echo what many others at the hearing said that there is no need for a slip lane at this intersection, and we request that the pork chop be eliminated. Typically, cars turn quickly at slip lanes, ignoring pedestrians.

WalkBoston Recommendations

  1. Shorten traffic signal cycles to 70 seconds
    Traffic signal cycle length will be 110 seconds according to the public presentation speakers. Pedestrians will not wait up to two minutes to cross a roadway. With this fact in mind, WalkBoston as well as other advocates such as Livable Streets is asking the City of Boston and state agencies such as DCR to develop shorter signal cycles of no more than 70 seconds. We are assuming from the presentation that the traffic signals are exclusive, but we would like to have the plans so we can review them.
  2. Undertake additional traffic calming measures
    Traffic often speeds on the Pond’s perimeter because there are few intersection streets. To slow traffic WalkBoston recommends lane widths be reduced from 11’ to 10’.
  3. Utilize white reflectorized thermoplastic crosswalk markings of a ladder design.
    The state standard of two parallel lines does not provide enough visual warning to motorists.
  4. Enhance pedestrian access to the west side of Jamaica Pond.
    The optional path is a pedestrian desire line and if constructed would addresses drainage and erosion.

WalkBoston is very pleased that these long-­awaited access improvements are coming to fruition. We look forward to working with DCR on this and other vital pedestrian safety access projects throughout Greater Boston.


Wendy Landman                           Dorothea Hass
Executive Director                         Sr. Project Manager

Comments on Copley Place Expansion, Boston, MA

Comments on Copley Place Expansion, Boston, MA

March 5, 2015
Attn: Christopher Tracy, BRA

RE: Comments on Copley Place Expansion, Boston, MA

WalkBoston submits the following comments on the Copley Place Expansion project design, with a focus on the pedestrians and community design aspects. The expansion to Copley Place will have significant impacts on future pedestrian activity in the project area, which attracts many pedestrians because of numerous hotels, Back Bay Station, Copley Square, the Farmer’s Market, the Public Library, etc. Now is the time and opportunity to make it more pleasant and safer for them. The pedestrian aspects of the site will play an extremely important role in the way the project meshes with its surroundings and with all modes of traffic.

We submit our comments despite the lack of community opportunity to see the plans ahead of time or to have adequate opportunity for input. It might be very useful for community groups to have another opportunity to view the plans.

Intersection of Dartmouth and Stuart Streets
With appropriate signal timing, the changes proposed for this intersection will make it much easier, more direct and safer for pedestrians to cross. It is essential that the WALK – Don’t WALK signals at this intersection be timed for concurrent walk, as they are currently. With these changes, there will no longer be frustrating waits for pedestrians on medians, as the crossings are direct and narrower. As we understand this particular design, it was first proposed and tested in 1995 and found to work well for both traffic and pedestrians. We trust that its basic elements are included in the present plan.

The Southwest Corridor Park
Our understanding is that the plan presented for the street level pedestrian crossing of Dartmouth Street, at the end of the Southwest Corridor Park, is essentially unchanged from the original design. The present excellent signal timing appears to efficiently handle traffic from all modes. This signal timing should be retained and the crossing widened.

The proponent should respect the history of the Southwest Corridor Park in the improvements that are proposed. One approach would be the inclusion near the entrance to the walkways of an 8’x4’ enamel plaque such as the one at Roxbury Crossing, giving the history of the Southwest Corridor project and sites of interest in the vicinity of Copley Place.

Sidewalk along Dartmouth Street at Copley Place
In the vicinity of this project, no sidewalk should be less than 12 feet wide, unobstructed. The best example is the sidewalk that now exists along the façade of Neiman Marcus. Since it is adjacent to the sidewalk, the proposed “winter garden” should supplement pedestrian movements at the edge of the site and be genuinely public, open 24 hours, guaranteed by a legal commitment with consequences for violations.

There should continue to be outside seating, preferably using the same benches, positioned 2 for conversation. The current gradually ramped approach from Dartmouth into the building should be retained and not replaced by steps.

Mass Turnpike exit ramp
WalkBoston requests that the exit from this ramp provide warnings or restrictions so that Turnpike drivers are slowed as they come into this urban area with many pedestrians. These might include painting lanes so that only one lane of cars will exit, adding rumble strips across the roadway or blinking signs inside the tunnel warning Turnpike drivers of their upcoming exit into a busy pedestrian area. The 25 mph warning signs installed some 15 years ago are not emphatic enough to slow cars.

Loop turn for vehicles at the end of the Westin Hotel
WalkBoston supports the narrowing of the loop turn from Huntington to Stuart at the end of the Westin. This improvement results in the elimination of the left turn lane on Huntington and the expansion of the island. It should be designed to be a pleasant park-like area with signs minimized or relocated.

Exeter/Stuart/Huntington/Marriott garage area
As we have previously commented, much more work is needed on the Exeter/Stuart/Huntington/Marriott garage area— implementation of better signal timing, narrowing roadway widths and shortening pedestrian crossings. The blocks of Huntington/Stuart from Mass Ave to Clarendon were widened in the 1960s auto era, and are now too wide open for this dense urban area. Their width and layout encourage traffic to speed and endanger pedestrians. This project should make the cross-section of the street narrower as has been done outbound on Huntington Avenue at Mass. Ave. and on inbound Stuart Street at Clarendon Street.

Harcourt/Huntington/Ring Road intersection
The Harcourt/Huntington/Ring Road intersection should be reshaped and re-signaled, especially since increased volumes of traffic will be using Harcourt Street for access to the proponent’s garage.

Sidewalk and crosswalk materials
All materials used for sidewalks and crosswalks should adhere to standards that have been established under ADA. All sidewalks should be constructed of concrete, using bricks, if desired, only for decoration because of the walking difficulties and hazards they create. Crosswalks in particular should be marked by striping, not pavers, on the roadway pavement. Pavers are hazardous for the disability community, parents with strollers, women with high heels and the elderly.

We urge the City to address these concerns by insisting that the developer show good faith in solving the issues raised by residents of neighboring area. Please feel free to contact us with questions you may have.


Robert Sloane               Ann Hershfang
Senior Planner              Board Member, South End Resident

Comments on Plans for the Connect Historic Boston project

Comments on Plans for the Connect Historic Boston project

March 12, 2014

William R. Egan, PE
Chief Civil Engineer
Boston Department of Public Works
Boston City Hall, Room 714
Boston MA 02201

RE: Comments on the current plans for the Connect Historic Boston project

Dear Mr. Egan:

WalkBoston has reviewed the most recent plans for the four projects within the Connect Historic Boston program – Commercial Street, Union Street (and the Blackstone Block), Joy Street and Causeway Street). We offer the comments below.

Commercial Street
Of the four projects, we feel that this project does not seriously affect walkers. The Commercial Street project has been carefully designed to incorporate cycle tracks into the existing street layout without affecting pedestrian access or sidewalk availability. We note that the current design provides visual and physical separation between bicycles and pedestrians along the new cycle track/sidewalk proposed on the harbor side of Commercial Street.

Union Street/Blackstone Block
The proposed improvements on Union Street appear excessively vehicle oriented. The proposed sidewalk along the Blackstone Block side of Union Street is intended to encourage pedestrianism and sidewalk cafes, but does not appear to have enough space to accomplish both goals. Thus pedestrians will be walking in the raised street with vehicles. This suggests the need for a very low speed limit on this block (5-10 mph).

The space being devoted to parking could be incorporated into the raised and combined street/sidewalk and used only by pedestrians. Movement by vehicles would not be impeded by enlarging the area intended for pedestrians. One lane should be sufficient for the vehicles that would use this street in the future, and would serve emergency vehicles, and not general traffic. Loading for adjacent businesses might be accommodated in a time-based method, such as that used in the Downtown Crossing shared streets – Washington, Winter and Summer.

The sharing of Union Street between vehicles and pedestrians should be reflected in signage. The shared street area should be signed as a ‘Shared Street” at the entrance to the street with a speed limit of 5-10 mph. Drivers are not being deprived of movement through the area, because they have an alternative parallel street – Congress Street – which is very close. The speed limit should also reflect that this area, bounded by historic buildings and a park, is a prime tourist district, where walkers may not be aware that vehicles are likely to be alongside as they walk from the park to Union Street businesses.

Joy Street
Joy Street is also to become a shared street, with the street raised to sidewalk level. Streetsharing by vehicles and pedestrians requires appropriate signage at the entrance to this street, such as a ‘Shared Street” sign with an accompanying speed limit of 5-10 mph. This is especially important in this densely settled residential area, where Joy Street is often used as a vehicular cut-through street from Beacon Street to Cambridge Street.

Causeway Street
Raised street crossings for pedestrians at the intersections of Canal and Haverhill Streets had long been a part of the planning. We think that their removal is a serious mistake for pedestrian safety. Thus, we offer other suggestions that might be incorporated into the plan to improve safety for walkers. These include:

  •  A right turn lane at Canal and Causeway Streets
    The potential for drivers leaving Canal Street northbound and turning left onto Canal Street appears difficult to resolve. To avoid this issue, 3” bumps in the center of the Intersection of Canal and Causeway have been proposed. We feel these bumps are potential tripping hazards for the walkers who will surge across this intersection during morning and evening commuter rail commuting times and before and after major events at the TD Garden. In large groups of people, many will simply not see the bumps and may fall on encountering them.

Another way to prevent left turns is to change the street geometry. A very tight, single lane right turn lane could be provided to direct northbound traffic onto Causeway Street. A bulbout on the west side of the Canal Street intersection where it meets the sidewalk could divert all vehicles to the right, and could include a rollover curb to permit fire engines to make the left turn in emergencies.


  •  Level crossing on sidewalks on each of the side streets
    All of the side street pedestrian crossings along Causeway should be raised to sidewalk level at the entrance to intersections. This would help to reduce speeds and assist in warning drivers to make only safe and permitted movements. A level crossing could be combined with the right turn lane suggested for the Canal Street crossing.


  • Canal Street intersection striped from corner to corner
    The volume of pedestrians crossing the Canal Street intersection is one of the largest in the city. Surge traffic from commuters and the attendees of TD Garden events suggests that the intersection needs significant protection for pedestrians. We urge the painting of the entire intersection (curb-to-curb in both directions) to indicate that pedestrians may cross safely anywhere within the intersection. Within this ultra-wide zebra crossing, a modification could be made by painting with a different color the route of the cycle track within the intersection.


  • Elimination of right turn on red at all Causeway Street intersections
    It is appropriate to have vehicular traffic in all directions stopped to permit walkers to cross safely and to prohibit any kinds of turning movements that might infringe on walking movements. For example, at Canal Street, forbidding right turns during pedestrian crossing cycles would help protect walkers.


  • Wider crosswalk between T station entrances on Haverhill Street
    The crosswalks on Causeway Street at Haverhill Street connect directly on both ends to subway access points. This crosswalk has the potential of attracting numerous pedestrians. The crosswalks should be enlarged beyond the standard widths to accommodate surge flows. • Cobble warnings Cobbles or other rough paving should be placed on the approaches to both the Canal Street intersection and the Haverhill Street intersection to warn drivers of pedestrian concentrations ahead. The cobble warnings should be supplemented with signs indicating that pedestrian crossings are ahead.


  • 20 mph speed zone
    The frontage along Causeway Street is about to become even more intensely used than at present. In addition to the rail commuters and event attendees, a very large development with millions of square feet and many new residents and workers is to be placed between the Garden and the front of the property. This intensely developed area will increase the pedestrian concentration at all intersections, but principally at the Canal Street crossing. Because of the many modes of transportation and the concentration of pedestrians at this location, the speed limit should be made a cautious 20 mph on Causeway Street for the safety of all.

We appreciate your consideration of our comments and look forward to your responses to them. Please feel free to contact WalkBoston with questions you may have.


Robert Sloane
Senior Project Manager