New Crosswalks, Solar-Powered Flashing Signals Installed on Centre Street by Murray Circle

After hearing for years that traffic calming measures were needed for Centre Street between the VFW Parkway and Murray Circle, DCR crews installed new crosswalks and  added flashing signals last week.

Bob Goodman

DCR crews installed new traffic calming measures by striping three new crosswalks at Rambler Road, Westchester Road, and Whitcomb Avenue, all with solar-powered Rapid Rectangular Flash Beacons to increase visibility.

The installation of three newly striped crosswalks at Rambler Road, Westchester Road and Whitcomb Avenue, are actually all short-term improvements, said Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) Press Secretary Mark Steffen to Jamaica Plain News. All of the crosswalks have solar-powered Rapid Rectangular Flash Beacons (RRFBs) to increase visibility.

The Emerald Necklace Conservancy also worked with DCR and residents on the new traffic calming measures.

Going forward the DCR will look at long-term changes to the area, which include redesigning Murray Circle, Kelly Circle, and the Arborway following the completion of the Casey Arborway project by MassDOT.

Bob Goodman

During the past several years, DCR has received various requests to implement traffic calming measures along Centre Street leading to DCR hiring a consultant to study what improvements could be made to allow for greater access by pedestrians and cyclists.

The new traffic calming measures are a welcome addition to the neighborhood, but local resident Bob Goodman said the new measures have produced mixed results. He said some drivers don’t stop for them and he wondered if they would be effective at all.  Said Goodman, “It seems like the lights are too dim and unfamiliar to give pause to the roaring traffic. I worry it’s an experimental approach and the planners need to consider how to improve the implementation.”

“It’s been very hard to safely cross Centre Street on bike or on foot to get to the Arboretum. I’m used to waiting for a gap in traffic and just dashing across — that can take a long time,” said local resident Bob Goodman. “The addition of not one, not two, but three lighted, signaled crosswalks is a big leap forward in making the Arboretum more accessible to families in the whole Green Hill and Moss Hill area.”

ADA-compliant ramps were also installed at all three locations, signs were posted reducing speeds from 30 to 25 miles per hour and there is altering traffic signal phasing to allow exclusive pedestrian access.

These short-term improvements were a result of a 2015 study by the DCR to examine Centre Street between the VFW Parkway and Murray Circle, which included one public meeting and improvement designs were recommended in March 2017.

  • Kay Hutchinson

    I think the issue with those new pedestrian lights are that they are activated by pedestrians pushing a button, but most drivers are very used to the other lights towards Murray Circle that just stop at random intervals. I also assumed they were on a random pattern the first time I saw one lit up, and was horrified to think I might have caused an accident. I suggest that DCR put both the pedestrian lights and the other lights on the same system, so people don’t get confused. It’s a lot of signals in a very short while.