Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Thirty feet better Newton Centre

A great thing is happening at the corner of Union and Herrick road. As part of the road reconstruction following the major work last year, a great big gaping hunk of street is being removed as the intersection is redesigned to make it safer, more attractive, and more pedestrian friendly. (There's already a narrower crossing past the station building.)

Technically, the curb radius is being decreased. Colloquially, the corner has gone on a road diet. Regardless, traffic will have to go slower around the corner. Pedestrians will have a much shorter crossing, by my estimate maybe 30 feet shorter. It may even be a revenue generator; I think it will create another parking space!

In the context of road repair, the city traffic engineer and his colleagues have taken the opportunity to make the road much better. If this kind of thoughtful approach to reconstruction -- look for opportunities to remake the road to serve all users -- is followed consistently, we can expect much nicer streets.

This isn't the most critical intersection in Newton Centre. But this approach applied to Langley Street, to Braeland, to the Beacon Street intersections, &c., would reshape Newton Centre.

Imagine if the Centre/Langley intersection went on a similar diet.


Anonymous said...

I am hesitant to applaud the new thinking in Newton because they seem to only get it half right and half done with other similar projects. There is still "temporary" curbing at the intersections of Hagar & Grove in Lower Falls and the intersections of Watertown/Walnut/Lowell/Crafts in Newtonville that sit waiting for the City to do something permanent. Perhaps the City should finish a project before starting new ones.

Anonymous said...

Call your aldermen, tell them how much you like them, and ask that they be made permanent. Believe it or not, some of the temporary trials are held up because of opposition and aldermen who are afraid to take a stand.

Anonymous said...

Talk about half right and half done! You should come to the intersection of Jackson and Daniel Streets in the "Thompsonville" section of Newton, 02459. For more than three years, area residents have been trying to defeat through signed petitions and other means a relentless campaign by an apparently vanishingly small number of neighbors -- it appears it could just be no more than a single self-appointed neighborhood activist -- for a "traffic calming" island at this spot. Neighbors in the area are desperately trying to get their voices heard by the Board of Aldermen. But for some reason, whatever person or force or claque behind this idea seems to be relentless or somehow has "the juice" to get this done, or some group at City Hall is trying to help them get it done, for unclear reasons. For three years, there has been a shoddily designed, execrably constructed version of the traffic calming island at the Jackson-Daniel intersection, and now there appears to be a serious threat this will become a permanent feature/hazard of Newton, despite widespread neighborhood outrage over this ill-conceived concept. Neighbors who actually live in and travel through the area call it "the funnel of death" because it is so badly designed, heedless of neighborhood safety or traffic flow. There is also suspicion that someone -- unclear who -- is trying to jam through this " 'Traffic-calming' success'' story as a bullet point for a future campaign leaflet for state rep or Alderman. It's a mystery why this bad, dangerous idea will not die.

Anonymous said...

Wow. There's been, um, years of thoughtful discussion, on both sides of this issue, but it's sad that some people can only resort to spamming, conspiracies and name-calling. Is that what Newton is coming to?

And it's not Thompsonville, despite what new signs might say. People who live there know that.