The following letter was sent to Stephanie Cooper, the Acting Commissioner for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation & Recreation. As chairs of the Jamaica Pond Association and of the Jamaica Hills Association through whose jurisdictions runs the entire Arborway from the Eliot Street intersection to and through Kelley Circle and to and through Murray Circle, we write to advise the DCR of the united opposition of the Jamaica Pond Association and the Jamaica Hills Association to DCR’s “Preferred Alternative” (Alt 4) for its Arborway Project and of our united support for Alternative 1. We oppose Alternative 4 and strongly support Alternative 1 because Alternative 1:
Eliminates the possible construction of two major, wide, signalized intersections in the park;
Protects against the build-up of air pollution caused by motor vehicles idling day and night at traffic signals at Kelley Circle and Murray Circle;
Allows for easier vehicular access outbound into the Eliot StreetBurroughs Street Pondside neighborhood;
Allows for the reestablishment of a two-lane roadway between Murray Circle and Forest Hills eliminating the present bottlenecks approaching Murray
Provides clearly designated pedestrian and bicycle crossings at Murray and Kelley Circles;
Removes far fewer trees than either Alternatives 3 and 4;
Allows Moss Hill residents direct access to the JP Business District and to travel to the Medical Area and to downtown Boston; and,
Our goal is to keep the parkway as a parkway. We ask that you meet with representatives of our associations so that we might discuss with you our opposition to Alternative 4 and our support for Alternative 1. Very Truly Yours,
The acting commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation recently announced that due to public feedback they've been working on a fourth design alternative for the Arborway Parkways Improvement Project. In a letter addressed to stakeholders, Acting Commissioner Stephanie Cooper said the new alternative design won't be provided until an as of yet unannounced mid-January 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. DCR announced three alternative design plans to update the Arborway in November 2020.
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. 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."
At evening rush hour on Monday, the cars inching into JP's busiest rotary moved slower than a woman pushing a stroller along the sidewalk. Bikes, however, zoomed through via a new bike lane.
Arborway Cycletrack! The broken link in the Emerald Necklace bicycle network has been eliminated! @EmNecklaceBos @bostonbikeunion @MassBike @StreetsBoston @StreetsblogMASS pic.twitter.com/clPBy9y8r0
— Peter Cheung (@bostonaruban) May 18, 2021
Murray Circle, the rotary that links Centre Street and the Arborway, received new lane markings this week.
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.
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.
One man is dead and a police officer took fire but did not return it in an incident that has shut down Centre Street from Murray Circle to the Monument. Boston Police Officer Neva Coakley said the incident took place about 10:32 a.m. Wednesday in the area of 891 Centre St. An officer, who according to the Boston Herald heard the shot and went to investigate, saw one victim on the ground and confronted the suspects. The police officer was shot at but not hit. He did not fire his weapon, Coakley said.