Washington Street, cars, parking and courtyards

Hello Washington Street! October 24, 2018 from NewTV on Vimeo.

When the Hello Washington Street event kicked off at Newton North on Wednesday night, the room was packed. By the time public comment started at a little after 8pm, and the first pitch had been thrown at Fenway, the room was far emptier and, from the sounds of those few who (before I left myself) it sounded like the majority of those who stuck around were opposed to much of what they saw.

The true test will come online, where people can leave comments without having to attend a meeting that happens to run concurrently with the Red Sox, daycare pickup time, and dinner. Video from the meeting as well as the plans will be online soon, as well an online platform allowing for comments.

This meeting focused on a few major concepts, but most came back to the tension between the car and the human.

First is the road diet that Principle Group has suggested before, only this time they noted that we people have been loud and clear: we want

‘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 understand why this idea of putting a road on “a diet” sounds “ludicrous.” But before you rush to dismiss it, please take the time to watch this video. And then share your thoughts.

The Washington Street Corridor Proposal from Elkus Manfredi on Vimeo.

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