City planner and urban designer Jeff Speck is the lead designer of the soon to be proposed designed for the Riverside MBTA station (and also the guy behind this vision for Washington Street). He submitted this guest blog post.
As the lead designer of the proposed development at the Riverside T Station, I have been asked to write a post explaining the thinking behind the plan. While I believe that the principles and goals outlined here are shared by the entire development team, the thoughts that follow are my own
As seen below, the site is a special one, adjacent to the Charles River greenway, flanked north and south by open space and golf courses, east and west by mostly low-density development at some distance, adjacent to a major highway
‘The notion that Washington St. should be narrowed from 2 lanes in each direction down to one lane is ludicrous.’
That quote in the headline comes from this comment on a prior thread. But the “notion” that narrowing a street can improve traffic flow was also a hot topic last night at the very well-attended opening Washington Street Corridor vision event at the Second Church.
This “notion” comes from the video (below) made by by Jeff Speck, a renowned expert on this topic (with transit experts Nelson/Nygaard) who has documented where similar techniques have been successfully employed to improve traffic elsewhere.
I just received City Councilor Chris Mariewicz’s email newsletter and it had a link to this interesting 13 minute video that was presented last September. The video and accompanying text by Ellen Ishkanian, back when she was a freelance writer, is just as timely today as the city is diving into the larger Washington Street project..
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