Close Shave: Where can we shave streets for parks and pedestrians?

When looking through the collaborative zoning map recently I was struck by a comment in my neighborhood. Someone had suggested turning a stretch of Albermarle Rd., which has no driveways, into parkland. It made complete sense since the one-block road is unnecessary. In fact, a few years ago the city made the left-hand turn there illegal because people were using it as a way to avoid a traffic light.

This also came to mind when I watched the video about Washington Street and saw how changes in the street can take are

Should Newton consider bus only lanes and traffic lights?

Should Newton consider bus only lanes and traffic lights?

Four communities have just received a grant to “test ideas like bus-only lanes and traffic signals that give buses priority at busy intersections,” the Globe reports today.

According to the foundation, Arlington will use the money for its one-month test to improve service on Massachusetts Avenue during the morning rush, which could include a bus-only lane. Cambridge and Watertown are planning to create all-day bus lanes on parts of Mount Auburn Street. And Everett, which already sacrificed a lane of parking for bus-only traffic in 2016, plans to make two stops on that route easier to access for wheelchairs and strollers.

 

All four communities also plan to test “transit signal prioritization” on these routes, technology that lengthens green lights and shortens red lights depending on how near or far a bus is from an intersection.

Is this an idea that should be tested in Newton and, if so, where would you suggest putting these bus only accommodations?

A vision for the Washington Street corridor

Jeff Speck recently presented his vision for the Washington Street corridor to the Newton-Needham Chamber, building upon the recent plan for West Newton Square, extending through Newtonville towards Newton Corner.  The main theme is a road diet.  By eliminating underutilized roadway, Newton could create a far more attractive streetscape, open up new opportunities for recreation, transportation safety improvements, public transit, and yes, development.

A road diet might even improve traffic conditions, channelling traffic and eliminating conflicts that come with vehicles changing lanes.  A two-way cycle track along the pike could provide top-notch bicycle facilities  The idea of a road diet and cycle track along the pike is not new; it has been the subject of previous studies and TAG has been pitching it for several years now.  With

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