Due to the pandemic the MBTA is experiencing a huge decrease in riders this year. That puts a huge dent into their budget, and thus they are proposing service cuts across the board. Last year, MBTA riders took 1.26 million daily trips, and in October 2020, riders took 330,000 daily trips. That's 26 percent of daily ridership compared to 2019, according to the MBTA. Yet, the MBTA has continued to operate at 2019 service levels despite a decrease in ridership.
The Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) pitched three proposals targeted at improving the Arborway at a recent public meeting. Currently there are two traffic rotaries: Kelley Circle by Jamaica Pond and Murray Circle on Centre Street by the Arnold Arboretum. One proposal would keep both circles, one would remove Kelley Circle, and one would remove both circles. "While each alternative has a set of unique design features, they are all designed to improve safety and accessibility for all users along the Arborway, better balance the various demands placed on the roadway, and create a welcoming environment with enhanced public access that reflects the natural and cultural history of the site," said the DCR. Each proposal includes:
Safety improvements for all modes on all roadway segments
Improved visibility and safety at all crosswalks
New wayfinding signage to guide cyclists, drivers, and pedestrians
Entrances and exits from side streets promote slower speeds
New bicycle and pedestrian connections and networks
Vehicle through-traffic is directed to Mainline
Carriage ways are reduced to one travel lane while maintaining access to abutters
Overall increases in recreational green space
New and replacement tree plantings for lost trees due to disease, normal decline, urban hazards, or proposed improvements
Opportunities for historical markers and informational stations
DCR's website says that a proposal will be selected this winter, and construction is expected to begin in 2021 and last two years.
DCR will be hosting a virtual public meeting to discuss the Arborway Parkway Improvements Project on Oct. 21. During the meeting, slides showing the three proposed design alternatives for the Arborway Parkway Improvement Project. The public may ask questions using the “chat” function during and after the presentations. The presentation will be viewable after the public meeting on DCR’s website, and available by clicking here.
While the Department of Conservation and Recreation work on a longterm plan to improve the Arborway, some short-term changes, including buffered bike lanes are coming as early as this fall.
"We are proposing to remove travel lanes in three locations. Before making this
proposal, we carefully reviewed pre-pandemic traffic volumes (on which we have collected data on several occasions over many years) for the corridor," wrote Jeffrey Parenti, Deputy Chief Engineer for DCR. The short-term improvements could also begin in spring 2021. Parenti provided a list of short-term improvements and the intended goals of the changes. The changes include:
The public is going to receive an update on the proposed design concept to improve the intersection of Centre and Walter streets in a virtual meeting on July 30. As many people can attest, the intersection is problematic with accidents happening frequently. After the presentation, the public will be invited to ask questions and provide feedback on the proposed design concept, using a chat function that will be available through the remote participation platform. To join the meeting please visit https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/9154618883245545231 from 6:30 to 8 pm on Thursday, July 30. Call-in Information: Dial 562-247-8422
Access Code: 328-910-940
If you need assistance when registering, please contact Nate Cabral-Curtis at email@example.com.