Letter: A traffic solution

As a 15-year resident of Perkins Street and a daily dog walker in the Emerald Necklace park system, I have long had an idea that I think would alleviate several concerns at once. Perkins Street between Pondview Avenue and Jamaicaway should be three lanes (there is room, I’ve seen it during construction, and the street is as wide as it is on the other side of the Jamaicaway), with the left one being a left turn only lane. Advantages would be:

  • Decrease traffic going west across the Jamaicaway to turn onto Parkman Drive because it’s illegal to turn left onto Jamaicaway. The pedestrian injury at that intersection is one of the events that spurred this planning effort. Decreasing traffic there would be an important part of the solution.
  • Decrease traffic coming out of Parkman and trying to merge into Jamaicaway at the bottom of the Pond. This area is usually congested and dangerous as people try to fight their way into the never-ending traffic coming south on Jamaicaway. Parkman Drive is simply not designed as a major traffic artery, which the left turn ban at Perkins and Jamaicaway has turned it into.

Pedestrian safety is at risk now because so many drivers make that illegal left anyway. I do not use the pedestrian light because of the global warming effect of making traffic stop in all four directions. I should be able to count on people not making an illegal left, but I cannot. You might say that traffic planning should not be done on the basis of if you can’t lick them join them, but I’m not sure that’s always right.

I will mention that Perkins Street during rush hour is often backed up all the way from the Jamaicaway to S. Huntington Avenue. Pollution, short tempers, honking horns. Having a left turn lane at the Jamaicaway would empty twice as much traffic with every light cycle as at present, greatly adding to the quality of life on Perkins St.

There is already a left turn arrow for drivers heading east toward Jamaicaway and turning north onto it. The left turn I am proposing would be part of the same cycle, not adding to delays.

Marcia Peters

Jamaica Plain residents

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