Don’t Be Fooled.
Some people don’t like the new design for Mass. Ave. But that’s no excuse to spread stories that are not true.
Here are the facts.
Lanes and Traffic
The new design improves traffic flow by redesigning the intersections that block traffic. The troublesome inbound lane, where traffic sometimes backs up in the mornings, remains a two-lane roadway.
The outbound lane, where traffic is less intense, is reduced from two lanes to one in most places. Three traffic counts, and actual experience, show that a single lane plus turning lanes will handle traffic outbound as well or better than the current free-for-all.
Sidewalks and Road Width
The new design mostly leaves sidewalks where they are, though the sidewalks are deteriorating and will be rebuilt. Sidewalks are widened slightly in the Capitol Square block, where Mass. Ave. itself is widest (79 feet at Lake Street today, compared to 66 feet for most of its length).
Police and Fire Emergencies
Arlington’s police and fire chiefs endorse the new design, which they agree will not impede emergency vehicles.
Parking is critical, but illegal parking, in crosswalks and corners and hydrants, is unlawful and unsafe. The plan will create some new legal parking by, for instance, moving a bus stop to a hydrant.
Federal funds for this project will go to another Massachusetts community if Arlington fails to qualify. The Town does not have the power to direct this money for alternative purposes such as local schools or reducing the national debt.
It’s Not Optional
The street, sidewalk, and traffic signals are overdue for reconstruction and replacement, according to the DPW Director. Given that we must do this work, the Town is right to seek state and federal help for it.
All users—drivers, pedestrians, cyclists, disabled people, businesses, neighbors, young and old—benefit from the new design. The biggest improvements are better safety for pedestrians: safer crossings and a better-regulated traffic flow.
Under a 1996 state law, Arlington’s plan must accommodate pedestrians and cyclists.
A Good Deal
The plan fixes up the street, improves traffic flow, seeks help with funding, and makes it safer for everyone. Not bad!
Mass. Highway will hold a public hearing on the plan before deciding whether to approve funding. The hearing is at Town Hall on April 12 at 7:00. We encourage all friends of a safer Mass. Ave. to attend!
Help Spread the Word!
Print out this short flier (pdf) to share with your neighbors.