State plans improving access to Jamaica Pond

PONDSIDE—The state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) unveiled during a June 26 community meeting three concepts to improve access to the Jamaica Pond at the intersection of Perkins Street and Francis Parkman Drive.

Attendees seemed to prefer a combination of the concepts, where traffic-calming measures would be implemented at the intersection and a crosswalk and signal would be installed on Perkins Street, just west of the entrance to the housing development Cabot Estate.

About 25 people attended the meeting at the Hunnewell Building at the Arnold Arboretum. The plan at the intersection is part of a larger effort to improve access to Jamaica Pond that already saw projects done at Kelly Circle and Eliot Street.

Mike Misslin, acting chief engineer at DCR, said the June 26 meeting was to show the preliminary concepts and collect input from the community before DCR came back with a more concrete plan.

“Once we build something, you are going to be stuck with it. We want to get it right,” he said.

The first concept would place a crosswalk on the west side of Perkins Street at the intersection and another crosswalk at the end of Parkman Drive. A traffic light would be installed, along with traffic-calming measures, such as bumping out the curb on the southeastern side of the intersection and fattening the medians on Perkins Street.

Kenneth Petraglia, vice president of the Beta Group, which is doing the consulting for the project, said that the idea behind the traffic-calming measures is to lessen the amount of roadway because with “a lot of width people tend to drive faster.”

Some people opposed the location of the crosswalks. Sarah Freeman, a local conservation activist, said, “If I lived at Cabot Estate, I would not want to cross both Perkins and Parkman.”

The second concept would place a crosswalk and pedestrian signal farther west on Perkins Street near Prince Street. A path would bring people to Parkman Drive, south of the intersection, where another crosswalk and pedestrian signal would be installed. The response to the second concept was unflattering.

The third concept would place a crosswalk and pedestrian signal on Perkins Street, east of the entrance to Cabot Estate. A sign warning drivers of pedestrians crossing would be placed farther east on Perkins Street, prior to a curve in the street.

Attendees seemed to prefer Concept Three, along with the traffic improvements of Concept One, but with the alteration of having the crosswalk west of the entrance to Cabot Estate. That would give drivers more time to react after coming around the curve.

Howard Allen, who lives at Cabot Estate, said placing the crosswalk near the housing development is “far more convenient.” He said many people live at Cabot Estate who “pour out of there,” heading to Jamaica Pond.

Misslin said that DRC and the Beta Group would go over the community input and come back with a “more solid” plan in the fall. He said the improvements could be implemented within two years, depending on budget constraints.

For comments or questions, call 617-626-4974 or email [email protected].

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