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.
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.
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.