Walking in JP gets safer

December 18, 2009
By

John

Walking in Jamaica Plain got a little safer in recent weeks thanks to improvements at two popular pedestrian crossings on Centre and Amory streets.

A new, high-visibility pedestrian crossing sign went up literally in Centre Street at the Seaverns Avenue intersection, bolted into the pavement on the double-yellow line.

And on Amory Street, a popular crossing between the Southwest Corridor Park and The Brewery business complex finally got an official crosswalk, following discussions in Boston Police JP Traffic and Parking Committee. A pedestrian-friendly redesign of the Amory/Boylston streets intersection nearby may be coming next year.
Centre Street

The Centre Street sign, erected two weeks ago, warns drivers to yield to pedestrians in the crosswalk there, and notes the $200 ticket for not doing so.

Known as a “pedestrian delineator,” according to the Boston Transportation Department (BTD), the sign is narrow and stands about 3 feet tall. The sign is double-sided and mounted on a flexible pole, though it is not intended to take a hard hit, according to BTD spokesperson Tracey Ganiatsos.

BTD has been installing pedestrian delineators at select crosswalks since 2007, said Ganiatsos. Sigourney Street and Walnut Avenue in JP’s Parkside area got some of the signs last year. The Centre Street sign is the first on a major JP street.

The Sumner Hill Association (SHA) requested the Centre Street sign, which BTD approved, said Ganiatsos.

SHA president Joe Orfant told the Gazette that the SHA frequently has raised the poor sightlines of the crosswalk and requested a pedestrian crossing sign via local Mayor’s Office representative Colleen Keller at its last meeting.

“We were delighted to see that they had followed up so promptly,” Orfant said in an e-mail to the Gazette.

Carlos Icaza, president of the Jamaica Plain Business and Professional Association, said his organization also has requested a sign there. He said that the intersections with Greenough Avenue and Burroughs and Sedgwick streets could use the signs as well.

In-street crosswalk signage has been a general suggestion made by various JP traffic advocates over the past decade.

Ganiatsos said that the pedestrian delineators cost $250 each. BTD has about 20 left in stock and is looking at other places to install them, but none are in JP right now, she said.

The signs can only be installed on double-yellow lines to mark an existing crosswalk where there is no traffic light, Ganiatsos said.
Amory Street

The Amory Street crosswalk, which was installed last week, is an example of the JP Traffic and Parking Committee’s results-oriented work and fix-it-now approach. The committee is a collaboration among the local E-13 Police Station, residents, city agencies and elected officials.

The committee targeted the heavily used crossing as a danger spot, and was able to get a crosswalk installed despite a tight city budget sapped by legally required work to make sidewalks wheelchair-accessible, said committee member Michael Halle in an e-mail to the Gazette.

“This crosswalk is one of only a small handful installed in Boston this year,” Halle said.

The committee also was able to convince the city to install the crosswalk on the street now, even though it is too late in the year to make the usual curb cuts that go along with it. Those cuts will come next year.

“It’s not a perfect solution in the short term, but it does provide increased visibility and safety for all pedestrians in this busy area,” Halle said.

“The next set of improvements on Amory Street will be the redesign and reconstruction of the Amory/Boylston Street intersection to make it friendlier and more accommodating for pedestrians,” Halle added. “We hope to see that project happen next year.”

The JP Traffic and Parking Committee meets regularly at the E-13 Police Station to hear about new problem spots and work on fixes. For information on its next meeting, see the JP Agenda.

Sandra Storey contributed to this article.

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