J’way crossing delayed again

John Ruch

PONDSIDE—A two-year-old plan for a new pedestrian crossing and traffic light on the Jamaicaway at Eliot Street has been delayed again, the Gazette has learned. It appears that the upgrade, which would improve pedestrian and bicycle access to Jamaica Pond Park, will not happen until early next year.

The often-delayed plan was originally pegged for a fall 2009 construction start. A final design is still “finishing up” and construction bids are now slated to go out this fall, according to Wendy Fox, a spokeperson for the state Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), which oversees the Jamaicaway. DCR was to hold a public meeting this month to unveil the final design, but that is postponed and is not yet rescheduled, Fox said.

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

The latest version of the plan, unveiled at a January meeting, included 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.

Some attendees at the January meeting expressed concerns about the traffic impact of the bump-out. Planners were tweaking the idea as part of the final design.

As part of the same planning package, DCR also devised two other Jamaica Pond-area improvements that remain unfunded and unscheduled. One project targets the Kelly Circle rotary where the Jamaicaway meets Parkman Drive, tightening and marking the lanes, and adding a better pedestrian crossing. The other project is a raised crosswalk across Parkman Drive to connect Jamaica Pond Park with the Francis Parkman Memorial area.

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