State Blames Arborway Gridlock on Ill-Timed Traffic Light

Print More

Traffic engineers have changed the timing on a light near Murray Circle, a tweak they say should ease gridlock for car drivers.

The state recently painted lanes at JP's largest rotary as part of an overhaul of the whole Arborway. The change has won wide acclaim among bicyclists but raised blood pressure among drivers. The gridlock has been worst along Centre Street from the Faulkner Hospital to Murray Circle.

Drivers bunch together at Murray Circle on Monday, May 17, 2021. Note the Hyundai that is perpendicular to the new lane markings. (Visible license plates have been blurred.)

Drivers bunch together at Murray Circle on Monday, May 17, 2021. Note the Hyundai that is perpendicular to the new lane markings. (Visible license plates have been blurred.)

In a press release Friday, the Department of Conservation and Recreation said they've received "some complaints about congestion on the Arborway and Centre Street northbound in the afternoon rush hour."

The state agency said it dispatched engineers who figured out what went wrong: "The problem was caused by a traffic signal near the rotary which was turning red too frequently," the DCR said. "Engineers made timing adjustments to the signal, which helped to clear congestion from Murray Circle."

It isn't clear from the DCR's statement which signal was to blame. Jamaica Plain News has reached out to DCR, and will update this post when the traffic light is identified.

The changes implemented so far have come after a public process that is still underway.

Further Separation Planned for Bike Lanes

The new bike lanes are currently simply paint, which is allowing cars to dip into the bike lane to get around snarls. That won't last, according to Olivia Dorrance, spokesperson for the DCR.

"The final condition of the Arborway Long-Term Improvement Project will include protection for bicycles," she said in an email. "These protections are expected to be in the form of separation from roadways either via large grassy medians or raised, shared pathways separated from the road by a curb."

In November DCR announced three proposals to improve the Arborway's safety. One of the proposals includes removing Murray Circle and Kelley Circle by Jamaica Pond. Read more about the proposals.

1,284 Views