DCR will be holding a public meeting this week:
- Mount Auburn Street Corridor Short-Term Improvements
- Tuesday, February 4, 2020 – 6:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.
- Haggerty School Cafeteria, 110 Cushing Street, Cambridge
The purpose of this meeting is to present the design for improvements to the Mount Auburn Street and Fresh Pond Parkway intersection moving forward into construction in 2020. The intersection was identified as a short-term alternative in the Mount Auburn Street Corridor Study.From DCR Official Meeting Flyer
Unfortunately, I cannot personally attend this meeting, but I wish to acknowledge that I have been fully consulted in considering the design dilemmas for the intersection and to state that I fully support the next steps outlined by DCR.
In summary those steps include the following:
- Closing the right lane of Fresh Pond Parkway (FPP) between Brattle and Mount Auburn (MA). Most of Fresh Pond Parkway is two lanes — the third lane in that segment does not handle necessary traffic and has the effect of widening the intersection with Mount Auburn.
- Addition of a crossing bumpout on the south west corner of the FPP/MA intersection for pedestrians and cyclists crossing FPP along MA headed into Cambridge.
- Moving of the stop bar forward for east bound travelers on MA at the FPP/MA intersection. This will increase storage capacity between Coolidge and FPP along MA and so improve throughput.
- Signal timing changes to balance traffic flow through the FPP/MA intersection
- Signal redesign at Coolidge and MA to allow separate management of right and left turners and improve throughput.
Some will be understandably concerned that this round of improvements does not include a bike lane along Gerry’s Landing Road between Mount Auburn and the River. After a lot of debate and study we had to conclude that it is necessary to preserve all three lanes of Gerry’s Landing Road until we redesign the intersection with Memorial Drive.
Experience with loss of lanes along Gerry’s Landing Road shows that as motorists cross-weave to choose between Eliot Bridge, Memorial Drive and Greenough Boulevard, they need all three lanes or else the traffic backs up past Mount Auburn with grid lock consequences.
As a frequent user of the intersection in all modes — bike, ped, bus, car — I believe that these next steps are sound and balanced.
- The heavily used bus routes will see further improvements.
- Pedestrians will get a big benefit from the bumpout over a bad crossing.
- Cyclists will also benefit from a much shorter crossing of FPP. Although they won’t get the path down Gerry’s Landing Road, that was a pathway to no good crossing until we redesign the intersection at Mem Drive. Cyclists have safer options — crossing at Grove Street and Hawthorne St — to reach the river.
- Motorists on FPP should see only very modest slowing.
We will need to continue the pressure to improve Gerry’s Landing Road for both cyclists and motorists in the next phase of improvements. The intersection at Memorial Drive contains a lot of space that creates flexibility for significant improvement. For example, we could shift an island in that intersection to take a lane from the two lane segment that connects Mem Drive to Greenough Boulevard and give an additional lane to Gerry’s Landing. This would streamline the flow for motorists who now do an odd shift left as they go inbound on Gerry’s Landing and over the bridge. It would also allow us to cleanly add the bike lane.
I will be pushing for that in the continuing conversation., but it is important to note that there has never been a fully-vetted plan for that intersection — we still have a lot of conceptual work to do there.