New J’way crossing coming this summer

February 5, 2010
By

John Ruch

PONDSIDE—A new pedestrian crossing and traffic light is coming to the Jamaicaway at Eliot Street this summer, officials from the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DRC) announced at a Jan. 27 meeting at Arnold Arboretum.

The long-planned improvement will include twin crosswalks on either side of the intersection; a cobblestone median area to deter illegal left-hand turns; and probably a bump-out where Pond Street meets Eliot to help slow traffic and shorten the crossing.

The $150,000 project, co-funded by the state and the Jamaica Plain-based Emerald Necklace Conservancy (ENC), targets an intersection where pedestrians and bicyclists now often cross illegally.

Some meeting attendees expressed concerns about the traffic impact of the bump-out. Planners are reconsidering it, and a final design will be unveiled at a meeting in March.

DCR also unveiled more advanced designs for two other Jamaica Pond-area improvements that are part of the overall planning package but do not yet have funding.

One is a raised crosswalk across Parkman Drive that would contect Jamaica Pond Park with the Parkman Memorial area. That crosswalk would run about 175 feet south of Perkins Street. The project would include an extended sidewalk and new wooden guardrails. ENC has applied for funding for that project, but the current $90,000 cost is more expensive than planned, according to ENC president Julie Crockford.

The other project targets the Kelly Circle rotary where the Jamaicaway meets Parkman Drive. That improvement would reduce the size of the rotary; add a dedicated left-hand turn lane; and greatly shorten the pedestrian crossing at Parkman Drive, including adding a 16-foot traffic island. There is currently no funding for the $115,000 project.

State Rep. Jeffrey Sánchez has played a major role in shepherding the public process that led to the improvements package.

Final designs for all three projects will be presented at the March meeting. For updates, see the DCR web site at www.mass.gov/dcr; e-mail dcr.updates@state.ma.us (subject line “Jway Access”); or call 626-4974.

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