Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Chestnut Hill Square -- Pedestrian Connection E

You can't really talk about the pedestrian connections at the southwest corner of the Chestnut Hill Square site without talking about the internal circulation from the entrance to the residences. What starts well, ends badly.

Be sure to click on the images to see them full-size.

There is a nice, protected, tree-lined pedestrian path (A) from Florence St. to the driveway in front of the residences (B). But, there is nothing that will bring pedestrians to the path. There are no sidewalks on Florence on either side of the path (C) and (D). And there's no crosswalk connecting to the other side of Florence. It's sort of a path from nowhere. (Or, to nowhere if you live in the residences.)

The crosswalk at B seems fine, but, do they really need a 20-foot wide driveway?

While this path is fine to the residences, what do you do if you want to go to the other retail buildings? Having crossed the driveway, pedestrians will have to walk by the dumpster and loading dock (G), re-cross the driveway they've just crossed, and then cross a driveway (F) over to the other retail building.

Why not just have a sidewalk (preferably wide and tree-lined) on the other side of the driveway (E) and avoid the over-and-back driveway crossings and the pass by the dumpster/loading zone?

It gets really crazy imagining the path from the southwest corner to the retail building along Boylston St./Route 9. For those of you counting at home, that's five driveway crossings along a very circuitous route, much of which is through the parking lot. It's likely that people will cross over at H, which has no pedestrian accommodation.

It's not just folks coming off the site who face a long, circuitous route to the front retail building. It's the route for residents, too.

There is another way to get from the residence/retail block: across a raised crosswalk (I). But, that doesn't connect to the other buildings. It's the primary route from the parking lot to the residence/retail block, particularly for those using handicap spots.

It's too bad. It's the best driveway crossing on the site because it incorporates a raised crosswalk. Because it is more direct, this may become a unplanned for, but used path. Better to plan for it and add accommodations across the parking lot to the nearer cross-parking lot walkway.

The final use case to consider is the resident who wants to walk to the west, to the Atrium or Imperial Towers. According to the plan, this (above) is the route the resident is supposed to take. Crazy.

If there were a crossing and a sidewalk along the west side of the entrance (J), the route would be much more direct.

Even better, put a crossing at K and a sidewalk along entrance along the David's property, which entrance the developer controls (so is free to squeeze in a sidewalk).

The best solution would be to take advantage of the existing sidewalks and crossings along the Capital Grille building. It would be a nice direct path. All that would be needed is a sidewalk from the Capital Grille driveway to the Boylston St. sidewalk (L). Obviously, the developer doesn't control what happens on the Capital Grille lot, but the option should be explored. In the worst case, NED should create a connection to the Capital Grille lot (more on that later), that could be completed later.

The takeaways on this section of the site:

  • The whole plan needs more sidewalks -- along Florence Street, along the residence driveway, along one of the entrances from Boylston St./Route 9

  • More crossings, particularly to connect the residences to the north retail building

  • The design needs to better address explicit use cases: this person getting from a specific point A to a specific point B. For example, from the residences to Imperial Towers.

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