Letter: Overpass traffic questions still not answered

February 17, 2012
By

As a Casey Overpass Working Advisory Group (WAG) member, representing the Stonybrook Neighborhood, I have participated in a year’s worth of Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) meetings. During that time, traffic flow has been a major concern, especially for those representing nearby neighborhoods and commuters through and to Forest Hills.

The WAG has spent many months in meetings, but, unbelievably, there’s been the only one full, three-hour meeting focused on traffic counts, traffic modeling and traffic flow simulations.  Amazingly, there was no follow-up meeting to answer critical questions or difficult issues raised.

Example one: In a “no-bridge” scenario, we’ve been told that four bus routes will be getting special left-turn signals at the Washington Street and Hyde Park Avenue intersection. At rush hour, these buses could interrupt each and every traffic signal cycle.   Won’t this special signaling disrupt the synchronized signaling elsewhere in Forest Hills, and possibly disrupt smooth traffic flow through Forest Hills?

Example two: In both the “bridge” and “no-bridge” scenarios, the traffic counts and models don’t show the daily rush hour back-ups of traffic on the Arborway. Are there impacts from these back-ups to traffic flow throught Forest Hills, or to bridge traffic, or to drivers needing to use the proposed “bowties” for their left turns?

If MassDOT is to make an informed decision about the future of Forest Hills, it needs to address the questions and issues brought to light by all of our dedicated WAG members.

Allan Ihrer

Casey Overpass Working Advisory Group

Jamaica Plain

  • Polly Okunieff

    I would like to add to Allan’s observations that the buses of the aforementioned
    routes (16, 21, 31) that need the dedicated left turn from Route 203 to
    Washington Street come every three minutes. If you also consider the Route 39
    bus that requires signal priority every four minutes at the same intersection,
    you can see that every signal cycle will be disrupted.  The models also do not consider priority treatment for pedestrians who cross New Washington, among whom are high school students boarding buses to Boston Latin School and Academy, Catholic Memorial,
    Academy of Pacific Rim, and Brookline High. Moreover, bus and pedestrian priority treatments were promised for New Washington, South, and mid-block Washington Street. 

    Adaptive signal control and priority treatments don’t work when there are continuous
    interruptions of the cycle. Priority treatment must also be synchronized with the rest of the Forest Hills area including east-west traffic along Route 203, north-south traffic along South Street, and nearby streets including Ukraine Way, Hyde Park Ave, and more.  If you think this is confusing, try managing it.