Casey Overpass

Randomgear

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I bet everyone who shows up to the meetings will just say "no way" just because it's so new to them
Not everyone, there are many supporters of Tooles Plan. I certainly hope that Toole has been able to develop this and make it work with some traffic models. I'm looking forward to Wednesday's presentation at Faulkner Hospital.

I have heard that some of the same people who opposed the Casey Arborway project oppose this.


Mods: should we break this up into two threads: one for the Casey (where we document and marvel/complain about the construction) and another for the Arborway and related DCR "improvements" (where we complain about DCR planners being stuck in the 20th century)?
 

clayville

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I really like the idea of this double roundabout. It's so...different. I also think that reversing the travel directions of the carriage ways is a great way to discourage the cut through traffic on them. This is going to be one of those plans that the public will just have to '"trust" the designer on. I bet everyone who shows up to the meetings will just say "no way" just because it's so new to them...
The initial meetings in February were billed as preliminary meetings about "Arborway Bicycle Facilities". That (and the blizzard weather) may have tamped down public and abuter interest at the start. Toole properly came to the conclusion that something major needed to be done for traffic calming in order to make things safer for all - and that surprised some people. Once DCR spread the preliminary plans more widely a wider range of opinion surfaced. Hard to know until Weds night what impact that may have had on the designs since February.

Ian Lockwood from the Toole Design Group said something at those meetings in February that has stuck with me ever since: "People traveling through your neighborhood should do so on your terms, not theirs." Match that up with DCR's "A parkway is not a road. It's a park with a road in it" and maybe you have the seeds of something special. If there is funding.
 

cden4

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Re: the two satellite images posted on the last page, those are definitely rotaries. With a roundabout, you almost have to completely stop before entering. And roundabouts have very clearly defined lanes, whereas rotaries generally do not.
 

Scipio

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Mods: should we break this up into two threads: one for the Casey (where we document and marvel/complain about the construction) and another for the Arborway and related DCR "improvements" (where we complain about DCR planners being stuck in the 20th century)?
I'd love a general DCR Parkways thread, especially as the DCR and Toole are going public on a system-wide planning study.
 

statler

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Re: the two satellite images posted on the last page, those are definitely rotaries. With a roundabout, you almost have to completely stop before entering. And roundabouts have very clearly defined lanes, whereas rotaries generally do not.
Thank you.
 

Randomgear

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Tonight's meeting went far better than the last two meetings with DCR/Beta - Toole seemed very convincing, they showed an animated vissim traffic model over a traffic lane layout that they had went over freehand with markers to give a preliminary sketch type feeling to the presentation. The design was very similar to the version from this winter with a couple slip lanes at both the Murray and Kelley roundabouts to help move the traffic without causing undo backups.
Toole seemed to be able to help people understand how the design calmed traffic, and while some remain skeptical, it seemed that most of the audience supported the design by the end of the evening.
Rep. Jeff Sanchez flyered the neighborhood to help get people to the meeting, DCR, The Emerald Necklace Conservancy and several other groups emailed the meeting invite so there was a full house at Faulkner Hosp.
Toole Design showed a simple graphic showing the different types of circular traffic infrastructure:


I didn't take any pics of the proposed plan; hopefully they will get published in the next couple of days.
 

whighlander

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Well, as a resident traffic engineer, I can say that rotaries (extremely large diameter ones) are being phased out and roundabouts are working their way back in to our design toolboxes. And the CAD programs that are available to us for design purposes make the layouts so much easier these days.

But the one major issue that can screw up even the most well designed roundabout is when one of the departure streets backs up into the circle due to downstream queuing. Once a roundabout gets backed up, everything goes to hell in a hurry. That's the one case where a signalized intersection, particularly a coordinated one, can effectively mete traffic so as to avoid a jam at peak periods.
Northshore -- precisely

Roudabouts, Rotaries, Traffic Circles -- whatever you want to call them work very well

Just as long as the time in question is between say 01:00 and 04:00 with no inclement weather

For the rest of the time they work from bad to worse for everyone except for Insurance Adjusters and bodyshops
 

ant8904

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I would have thought you would liked them over traffic lights, whighlander. Traffic lights which tends to not be very pleasurable with many examples of them not being well-timed.
 

George_Apley

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The worst of all are traffic circles/rotaries/roundabouts with traffic signals! Powder House Circle being one offender.
 

North Shore

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Northshore -- precisely

Roudabouts, Rotaries, Traffic Circles -- whatever you want to call them work very well

Just as long as the time in question is between say 01:00 and 04:00 with no inclement weather

For the rest of the time they work from bad to worse for everyone except for Insurance Adjusters and bodyshops
I have a roundabout up near where I live that was constructed about seven years ago as part of a MassDOT funded Town project in North Andover.

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.6839197,-71.1126775,141m/data=!3m1!1e3?hl=en

While I have some issues with the design (not enough deflection in one of the aproaches and terrible horizontal curve alignment on Mass Ave) and construction (poor quality, bad contractor and poor oversight by the MassDOT resident), it works decently in both the AM and PK peak hours. The problem is when one driver enters the roundabout and yields to entering traffic while in the circle. This screws up everything.

Roundabouts are predicated on constant movement in and out of the circle with the premise that vehicles in the circle have the right or way and keep moving towards their chosen departure route. It's boils down to an education problem. In laymen's terms, dumb drivers make a mess of it. But dumb drivers happens regardless of the place and/or situation. A bit of information for drivers beforehand can help mitigate these situation.
 

statler

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The worst of all are traffic circles/rotaries/roundabouts with traffic signals! Powder House Circle being one offender.
And the one off Memorial Drive getting on to the BU Bridge (does it have a name?). It's fine most of the time but during the afternoon rush it's an absolute nightmare.

(Yes, I know this discussion has to be split off. I don't have time right now)
 

clayville

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DCR has now made available Toole Design Group's 10/14/2105 presentation from their "Improving Multi-Modal Access to the Emerald Necklace in Jamaica Plain" meeting (minus the traffic modeling animations for now). I wrote up a description of it using screen grabs, and since it's sort of an extension of the Casey project improvements to the area I've placed it here:
Arborway Improvements meeting explained at ArborwayMatters
 

rinserepeat

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I was looking at typical dutch intersection designs and the designs for the casey arborway - the bike and ped crossings for this project are in the wrong places, and there is this weird "mixing zone" at each corner - which is totally not conducive to the high numbers of people walking and biking in the area.

better than what we have now, but not quite good enough. I wonder how long it'll take before this is fixed.
 

elemenoh

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I was looking at typical dutch intersection designs and the designs for the casey arborway - the bike and ped crossings for this project are in the wrong places, and there is this weird "mixing zone" at each corner - which is totally not conducive to the high numbers of people walking and biking in the area.

better than what we have now, but not quite good enough. I wonder how long it'll take before this is fixed.
I found the "mixing zones" very odd as well. Hopefully they'll follow the new MassDOT Separate Bike Lane Design Guide (which was written by Toole) so we won't end up with these conflict areas in the final design.
 

Randomgear

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I was looking at typical dutch intersection designs and the designs for the casey arborway - the bike and ped crossings for this project are in the wrong places, and there is this weird "mixing zone" at each corner - which is totally not conducive to the high numbers of people walking and biking in the area.

better than what we have now, but not quite good enough. I wonder how long it'll take before this is fixed.
Remember, that the Casey Arborway was designed nearly three years ago before some of us learned about better bike/ped/traffic design. The Boston Cyclist's Union did try, just before the project went out to bid to get the "mixing zones" fixed and create something more like a protected intersection for cyclists, but really the advice was at least a year too late.
Considering that it's taken 25 years to marginally improve a few bike/ped crossings along the South West Corridor Park (and degrade at least one crossing), I wouldn't hold my breath.
 

clayville

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MASSDOT is hosting a meeting on the construction schedule Weds, 6/29, 6:30-8:30, English High School Auditorium.

Indications are that the "Full Beneficial Use" date is moving from October 2016 to December 2016, with "completion" date moving from November to February 2017. It seems some of this delay is being put upon the slow start of the project due to record snows of the winter of 2015.

Some factions of the local community feel MassDOT has not been entirely forthcoming concerning the timeline for some aspects of the project outside BHD's contract with Highway, namely ADA retrofitting of the station and the new Upper Busway roof which are (and have been) on a separate timeline.

Popcorn recommended.
 

clayville

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At the construction update meeting last night MassDOT announced a 366 day delay in completion. They blamed the snows of 2015 and procurement delays concerning jet fans to be installed at the northern end of the Orange line platform before the old head house can be demolished. The new Arborway goes right over that old head house site. Some routes will be returned to pedestrians soon (crosswalk at South Street and New Washington), and the eastern third of project area from the Court House through Shea Square to Morton Street will take on permanent configuration (including some landscaping) by end of 2016. New forecast dates:

Full Beneficial Use - Fall 2017
Completion date - Spring 2018
 

clayville

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Though construction continues throughout the Casey project area, MassDOT has announced that the first trees will be planted next week in the permanent mainline Arborway median between Shea Circle and about the Courthouse. Only 30 or so 'Princeton' American Elms to start, but they are the first of 29,000+ plants going into the landscaping - which should help make Forest Hills one of the real gems of the Emerald Necklace as they mature.

I wrote up a narrative version of the Master Plant List to mark this modest milestone for those looking for a silver lining:
Shade(s) of things to come
 

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