Proposal: Make Murray Circle Into Two Roundabouts

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Proposal for changes to Murray Circle

Proposal for changes to Murray Circle. Credit: Toole Design Group

A historic overhaul of the Arborway could be in the works, with the aim of improving pedestrian and bike safety. This week the Department of Conservation and Recreation held two public meetings at the Arboretum where a design firm put out a "starter idea" that's sure to get Jamaica Plain talking: Take the big rotary where Centre meets the Arborway and turn it into two roundabouts.

That's just one of the big ideas floated this week. Resident Clay Harper attended both meetings and published an informative summary at his "Arborway Matters" blog.

Some residents might be surprised that such a radical change for automobile drivers could come out of meetings labeled "Arborway Bicycle Facilities."

The area is infamous among drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians, for being dangerous. To take just the car wrecks, Harper reports there were 135 vehicle crashes in the study area between 2008-2012.

Here are the goals the DCR set for Toole Design Group, which is consulting on the project.

• Incorporate bicycle facilities
• Increase connectivity
• Improve comfort and safety for all users
• Reduce conflicts between all modes
• Increase predictability of each mode
• Maintain existing historic landscape

Right now, there's no bicycle path from the Pond to the Casey Arborway (which will have improved bike facilities once that construction is done.) This project aims to close that gap.

Here's one proposal for overhauling the area's design:

Preliminary proposal for increased bike safety along the Arborway

Toole Design Group

Preliminary proposal for increased bike safety along the Arborway

If you missed the meetings, the state has posted detailed information about public input so far and the "starter idea."
Feb. 3 presentation
Feb. 5 presentation: Part I, Part II and Part III.

The state set a deadline of March 6 to make comments on the proposal. Email them at and put "Arborway Bicycle Facilities" in the subject line.

Here again is that link to Clay Harper's review of the proposal, which boils things down quite well.