Today’s installment of what-were-they-thinking? covers the intersection of Dedham and Brush Hill Roads. It’s a completely car-centric design with wholly inadequate pedestrian accommodations, just 900 feet from Countryside School.

The intersection is designed to be taken (by cars) at or near full speed in all directions. Traveling west on Dedham to Brush Hill or east from Brush Hill to Dedham requires no turn. Indeed, while taking the Pulitzer-worthy photos for this post, I saw a few cars fly west onto Brush Hill from Dedham without slowing a jot. The stop sign for eastbound traffic from Brush Hill is well west of the intersection, with plenty of room to accelerate onto Dedham.

The intersection really has no pedestrian accommodations to speak of. People walking west and then north on Dedham on the west side of Dedham (the Countryside side of the street) hit Brush Hill and find a huge crossing (I didn’t measure it, but will update later) and another huge one on the other side of the island.

And, if you cross to the island, there’s no sidewalk. The sidewalk ends at the left-side arrow and the sidewalk on the other side (past the island) is indicated by the right-side arrow. That’s a long way ’round, with one wide crossing.

To get a good idea of the choice facing the poor walker, a 3D view. The yellow line is what is referred to as the “desire” line: the path a pedestrian wants to take. The direct path. The red line shows the path a pedestrian has to take to stay on sidewalks (except for those agonizing moments in the street).








These are terrible choices. The direct route has huge crossings with potentially speeding cars, then no sidewalks on the island. The red route is really a journey and has an even huger crossing with potentially speeding cars. Dangerous and unpleasant.

The requirements here are pretty straightforward: provide a continuous sidewalk along a direct path with reasonable crossings and significantly slowed traffic. But, actually designing a solution might be a bit tricky. Replacing the whole over-engineered intersection with a basic T would meet the requirements. But, a true T would be in the middle of a big curve and may or may not work, depending on the sight lines. And, there are some driveways that might need to be re-routed.

Getting it right would be a challenge, but given the horrendous conditions now, a worthwhile challenge, a necessary challenge. Did I mention that it’s less than 1000 ft. from an elementary school?

Here’s a view from Dedham looking west up Brush Hill. You can see how straight a shot it is, requiring no slowing to navigate. 










Here’s a panorama looking east from Brush Hill to Dedham both north (to the left) and east (to the right). This shows the route from sidewalk to sidewalk. 

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