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Mass. Ave./Appleton safety option 1 OK’d amid public disagreement

UPDATED, Sept. 17: The Select Board voted Monday, Sept. 13, to supply safety measures for bicyclists on the Mass. Ave./Appleton Street intersection within the Heights, the place bike owner Charlie Proctor was killed in May 2020 after he was hit by an oncoming automobile. 

Selectboard logo, May 20, 2019
Manager to conduct parking examine in October.

The board was offered two short-term choices by Traffic Engineer Jayson Gauvin, and unanimously authorised option 1 — slightly than the extra intensive option 2 — and to have the city supervisor conduct a parking examine in October and supply the ends in November. (4–0 vote; board Chair Steve DeCourcey recused as a result of his sister owns a neighborhood enterprise.) An extended-term answer is so as to add a site visitors mild, which requires funding. 

“Voting for option 1 doesn’t mean I won’t be voting for option 2 at some point in the future. Some of option 2’s requisites need to be investigated,” mentioned board member Diane Mahon.

Both choices intention to enhance safety on the Mass. Ave./Appleton Street intersection. Option 1 maintains the prevailing situation of requiring cyclists to share the site visitors lanes with drivers, including new shared-lane markings to extend driver consciousness and direct cyclists to their positioning, eliminating 5 parking spots on Mass. Ave. Option 2 offers devoted bicycle lanes on Mass. Ave. to enhance biking safety however loses 22 parking spots, with many of the affect on the eastbound facet of Mass. Ave.

First voted for option 2

The board had initially voted to undertake option 2, which resulted in a 2–2 break up (Len Diggins and Eric Helmuth voted sure; John Hurd and Mahon no), so members then voted on option 1.

See all agenda documents for this issue >> 

In making this choice, Hurd mentioned, “We have to weigh a number of factors, including safety improvements and the impacts on businesses.”

Hurd additionally recommended fusing the 2 choices. “The plan will come back with additional safety measures to get the best solutions to this intersection until we can get a traffic light.”

This intersection must be signalized to make it safer. The majority of accidents have been brought on by vehicles turning left onto Appleton Street and cyclists coming east on Mass. Ave. These accidents occurred due to the velocity of the site visitors, the design of the intersection and the visibility of bikers. It’s incumbent on drivers and bikers to decelerate coming into this intersection. There’s additionally numerous foot site visitors and safety is paramount.”                                                                 — John Hurd 

“This intersection needs to be signalized to make it safer. The majority of accidents have been caused by cars turning left onto Appleton Street and cyclists coming east on Mass. Ave. These accidents occurred because of the speed of the traffic, the design of the intersection and the visibility of bikers. It’s incumbent on drivers and bikers to slow down coming into this intersection. There’s also lots of foot traffic and safety is paramount,” added Hurd. 

Helmuth mentioned, “We’ll be a bike-friendly town, regardless of what decision we make tonight. Neither option is a perfect solution and won’t necessarily prevent future crashes and fatalities. However, until we have a long-term solution, we need to make a short-term decision, with the long term in view.” 

“A lot of work and consideration has gone into this. There’s lots of passion on this issue, on all sides,” mentioned Town Manager Adam Chapdelaine.

A variety of views

Family members, neighbors expressed opinions:

Members of Proctor’s household, in addition to almost 50 city residents, voiced their issues, with a majority favoring option 2. Sample feedback embrace:

“My brother Charlie was killed at this intersection,” mentioned Thomas Proctor. “My family has experienced unimaginable loss, and I’m impressed with the town’s support. His death was not an isolated incident, there were also two other very serious accidents since then.”

Alison Piasecki, Charlie’s former companion, mentioned, “I was 15 feet behind Charlie when he was killed. Further tragedies could be avoided by making this intersection safer. With option 2, the driver who hit him would’ve had to slow down, and not hit him.”

Christopher Cassa mentioned, “One death is too many, and we watched it repeat with two additional serious accidents. Parking cannot take priority.”

Carol McDonald, who’s lived close to that intersection her enire life, 67 years, mentioned, “I’ve seen lots of accidents over the years.” 

Leonard Greenberg described the time he bicycled by means of that intersection and a automobile didn’t cease. “I’ve since had four surgeries, and lots of physical therapy.”

Linda Epstein, a bike owner who’s commuted by means of this intersection for 20 years, has had her share of shut calls. “I’d be disappointed and deflated if option 1 is chosen, overruling pedestrians and cyclists in favor of drivers.”

Brian Ristuccia, a member of the East Arlington Liveable Streets Coalition, mentioned: “The hazards at this intersection are not theoretical. It’s not fair for the town to favor drivers over those who cannot drive for reasons such as disability. Town residents have the right to travel safely.”

‘Price of parking’

Roderick Holland, a Precinct 7 Town Meeting member, mentioned, “Saving parking areas has worth, however the worth of parking shouldn’t be paid with lives. Option 2 has an neglected benefit — it mitigates the status for loss on this city.

Karin Turer helps option 2 as a result of “I’m terrified of that intersection for my fifth grader crossing it twice a day with option 1.”

Abbi Holt, an Ottoman Middle School trainer, additionally recommends option 2. “I see lots of students riding bikes to school. Middle-school cyclists are typically bad cyclists, and we’ve more bikers now because of Covid and people’s reluctance to ride the bus.”

Arlington High School scholar Petru Sofio, a biking activist who bikes to highschool day-after-day by means of this intersection, mentioned, “The drivers shake me up, and it affects my learning. We need an infrastructure that protects people from speeding cars. Arlington is a bicycle-friendly community, and it shouldn’t prioritize drivers over bicyclists. Other AHS students agree; 132 use this intersection every day, either on bike or foot, and demand bike lanes.”

Business house owners’ issues

However, a number of space enterprise house owners expressed concern in regards to the lack of parking spots, in a city the place parking is already a problem:

Deborah Nowell, an lawyer with an workplace within the neighborhood, mentioned, “Our businesses cannot function without on-street parking.”

Kevin Lam mentioned: “Option 2 may cause drivers to speed up, causing more accidents, and also create economic hardship for business owners who’ll lose parking spots.”

Kevin Fallon, Mill Brook Animal Clinic proprietor, mentioned, “More than 200 people from my clinic have signed a petition supporting our position. We see 60 to 90 people a day, and I’m concerned how option 2 will affect my business — asking customers to navigate longer walks from their cars carrying pets in carriers — where it’ll be economically unfeasible for me. Putting in a new bike lane will not increase safety. The safety concerns are the ones turning left onto Appleton Street.”

Real property agent Bill Copithorne, who personal properties on Mass. Ave., mentioned, “Option 2 eliminates 22 parking spots, which will force my tenants, who rely on their customers, to relocate or go out of business.” 

Jim Doherty, proprietor of 1211 Mass. Ave., the previous Disabled American Veterans Club, the place he plans to construct a lodge, mentioned, “As a long-term bicyclist, I appreciate the safety, and am a proponent of option 1.” 

See your complete Sept. 13 broadcast on ACMi:


May 6, 2020: Fatal collision of two bicycles, automobile probed

 


This information abstract by YourArlington freelancer Susan Gilbert was revealed on Wednesday, Sept. 15, 2021. It was up to date so as to add the affiliation to East Arlington Liveable Streets Coalition. It was up to date Sept. 16, so as to add ACMi video window.

 

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