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State officials seek advice on bad parkway intersection

State officials come to Roslindale next week to discuss the intersection of Walter Street with Centre Street between the Arboretum and Hebrew SeniorLife.

The state Department of Conservation and Recreation, which maintains the parkway, will send reps to St. Nectarios Church for a meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at St. Nectarios Hall, 39 Belgrade Ave.

In a recent presentation on overall plans for fixing up the parkway along the Arboretum, state engineers acknowledged the Walter/Centre intersection sucks, or, in engineering terms, "fails" and proposed two possible solutions: Traffic lights or turning the intersection into what they called a "roundabout," which is sort of like a rotary only somehow better.

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Comments

Is going to be brutal. Its not that hard to navigate the intersection.

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It is a pretty brutal and somewhat scary intersection depending on where you are and where you are turning into -- especially weekday mornings.

It's not just the left turns against oncoming traffic -- it's the strange road geometries - when turning from centre street onto Walter the amount of 'safe space' to wait for a break in oncoming traffic is curved + pretty small and more than ~2 cars queued up means someone is gonna hang ass-end into traffic either blocking centre street traffic or people trying to turn in the opposite direction.

This would be one intersection where I'd actually not mind seeing a traffic light or at least some reshaping of the roads to make dedicated lanes for merging/turning cars and bikes that are simply just trying to get through alive.

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I agree that a light is problematic, but I wouldn't describe the current situation as "not that hard," especially given some of the turning angles and visual impediments. The roundabout plan shouldn't prove disruptive to existing flow but will make it far easier for interchange between Walter and Centre streets.

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But I think a roundabout is exactly the same as a rotary.

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A roundabout is clearly much classier sounding than a rotary.

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That's circular reasoning for you.

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It's the British translation.

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I mean they're basically the same general idea (roads intersecting in a circle) except for scale/size. "Roundabout" or "traffic circle" is used to describe smaller, street intersections, and "rotary" is used for larger-scale junctions (e.g. the Concord/Orleans/Bourne rotaries, Sweetser Circle in Everett, the US 5/MA 57 rotary in Agawam, the I-93/110/113 rotary in Methuen, etc.)

http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/intersection/roundabouts/presentations/safety...

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But I saw some DCR report (sorry, can't remember if it's the one that I linked to) that showed a pretty large circle under "Roundabout" (as opposed to that cute little thing with a couple of bushes in the middle on the road to 128 off Bridge Street in Dedham). It seemed like the only differences was that all the roads hit the "roundabout" at 90-degree angles, while in "rotaries" they came in at angles. Also, roundabouts were always shown as perfect circles, while some of our parkway rotaries look like balloons as if squeezed by an occult hand.

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Another thing to point out is that the term "rotary" is pretty exclusive to New England.

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Pretty illegal
Pretty unique
Pretty dead
Pretty exclusive

What the hell does pretty ______ mean in any of these examples ? Answer : Nothing . Something either IS exclusive or isn't exclusive .

/rant

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pretty pedantic

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Nah, it's just, um, correct.

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Because Roundabout is a much better song than Rotary.

p.s. you're welcome for the earworm

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IMAGE(http://www.dangerousroads.org/images/stories/Newroads3/Swindon3.jpg)

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People who drive south on Centre St at full speed only to swerve right around the waiting line of cars and thread between oncoming traffic without touching their brakes should be given life sentences w/o parole.

People who pull around you while you're waiting in the middle to take a left towards the VFW should be given 50 years hard labor.

When I'm waiting to take that left turn, don't wave me through when I can't see the idiots driving south on Centre at 60 MPH.

This is the best option raised to date:

https://pbs.twimg.com/media/CQwy7V1UkAAW5D9.jpg:large

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I think Concept 1, with some modifications like perhaps a second right turn lane, is preferable. Concept 2 is too much like a highway on-ramp and has multi-stage pedestrian crossing that isn't optimal. Perhaps a hybrid of the two is the winner, we'll see. Regardless of the ultimate winner, more protection for cyclists needs to be built in here as well.

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There is very, very little need for pedestrian crossing at this part of Centre St. There is a crosswalk with lights at the bottom of the hill by the Hebrew Rehab and top of the hill by the Faulkner. So where there would be pedestrians. The church and Sofia Snow generate no foot traffic.

Unaddressed is that there really needs to be a bike lane at from the end of Walter to the Faulkner crosswalk, but that's impossible w/o losing the sidewalk. Oh well.

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I thought the church had a daycare in it. Those generate foot traffic. Kids going to the park, etc.

Also, if they're going to redo this intersection, the city ought to take ten feet or so away from Hebrew Rehab so it can continue the sidewalk on Centre Street around the corner to meet the Walter Street sidewalk. And put in a proper curb to keep people from parking on it.

The 38 Bus stops right in front of the Hebrew on Centre, and it's pretty crazy trying to get to it from the Peters Hill neighborhood.

Or do you think one new crosswalk at the Centre Street intersection is enough? All pedestrians to cross there, even those who are going to have to cross back later?

This intersection is not just a clustermuck for cars, but it's a bizarre impediment to foot traffic, of which there is more than zero.

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People definitely walk around there and need a safe way across Centre and Walter. I respectfully don't agree with your assessment and DCR recognizes that too. Even if it's not used as much as other spots, why would it be a bad thing to make it safer for pedestrians? This is a residential area. Walter St is very difficult to cross as it is and Centre St is next to impossible. You have the Aboretum there for one that people want to access, there are two daycares close by that might want to walk to the Arboretum. It needs to be safer for all modes, which is the point of the study in its title.

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Walter is a mess and needs a crosswalk. Centre St is well served by the light at Hebrew and Faulkner as again, the only thing over there is a daycare and an old folks home. My kid went to that day care and they crossed at the Faulkner BTW and it's non-issue.

Anyways, anything is better than what they have now.

Different area, but Walter needs a crosswalk at the top of the hill at the Arboretum entrance, badly, maybe a raised crosswalk to slow traffic.

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I think the city should take the same approach they picked for the casey overpass. Find the least convenient solution to traffic, ensure pedestrians are interfered with, give the greatest attention to bicyclists that don't follow rules of the road, and ensure that traffic becomes ever more en-snarled than it already is. I guess this means block the intersection completely, reduce traffic to one lane on either side, bump out the sidewalks, put in raised cross walks, and make sure that the only way to go south on Center from Walter is to go over Bussy by the old state labs, into Forest Hills, up onto 203 and then come south from the rotary by the arboretum. Or of course redirect all the traffic to south street and up by Holy Name.

These solutions would at least be consistent with other traffic calming/driver infuriating approaches that the city has taken so far. Of course the budget impact would be the lowest cost.

And yes, this is a SNARKY CYNICAL commentary on recent traffic management.

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And yes, this is a SNARKY CYNICAL commentary on recent traffic management.

I hadn't noticed.

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These solutions would at least be consistent with other traffic calming/driver infuriating approaches that the city has taken so far.

Bear in mind that many people do live on Walter St with their families and children and might not want it to just be a speedway for you, as it is a de facto one now.

This is also a state project and so was the Casey.

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These solutions would at least be consistent with other traffic calming/driver infuriating approaches that the city has taken so far.

If you are having such extreme trouble following the rules, waiting in line, waiting your turn, planning your time and travel to arrive on time, then the problem isn't traffic calming or other measures that get everyone home alive.

The problem is that you need to go back to kindergarten.

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Do you live by and use the Forest Hills area by car? With the overpass, there were almost never backups on 203 going east all the way back to the main entrance to the Arboretum. Your concept of patience doesn't allow for the fact that 30 years ago when I moved in, commuting through the Hill was reasonable if not a mess. Extending the commute time up Hyde Park in the morning by as much as 20 minutes from Walk Hill is not really convivial (Look that up in your kindergarten dictionary).

The reality is that the solution has to work for everyone. If the solution selected handles traffic in in efficient manner, then the impatience that leads to crazy driving would not build. In fact, your opining that equates calming with bottle-necking, indicates your total ignorance about human behavior, any understanding of flow dynamics and the reality of living in a city booming like Boston. Keeping traffic flowing in a reasonable way allows for time for pedestrians and bicyclists. Extending travel times by as much as 20 minutes through a 3/4 to 1 1/4 mile segment, only creates frustration and forces people to the side streets. Not to mention the extended idle times of traffic through the hills, all the additional pollution, an the increased rudeness of people driving and riding bicycles because they can't move through the area in a time that even approximates a sane commute.

So I suggest before you espouse more putrid opining, you examine the issues from all sides, understand the broader impact on all the people in the area, and realize the ignorant one sided attitude only promotes more problems and offers no solutions.

oh.. and by the way, I do NOT really thing traffic should go down Walter to South or Bussy to the Hill and around 203. But I DO LIVE IN WOODBOURNE and I have to put up with all the driving idiots who now zoom through our neighborhood because they CAN"T GET THROUGH THE HILLS in a reasonable amount of time. (and please spare me the next obfuscation about what is "reasonable".)

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I suppose you think it would be better if they ressurrected the Inner Belt and the Southwest Expressway? And we'll put an elevated highway between Downtown and the North End! Turn the South End into a parking lot!

Also, I would like to point out that it is not the City of Boston doing these things, but the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The Casey Overpass was MassDoT and the parkways are run by the Department of Conservation and Recreation. These are State agencies, not City ones.

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I think my snarky attempt at highlighting the difficulties the Casey Overpass approach has caused were lost and my concern that this project will be equally managed with false promises. I do NOT think traffic should be redirected to the neighborhood roads. I am thrilled that something may be done to this intersection - I go through it several times a day on occasion. I detest the way drivers rush to prevent drivers going south on the Arborway from turning onto Walter. I also detest that unbalanced way the Casey Overpass was handled giving priority to one group as if their needs outweighed the reality of other peoples lives. I also detest that so many promises about the impact of the Casey project were mis-information. So often rude drivers block cross access to other drivers... So often the people there to assure safety do nothing to enforce the "don't block the box" and it doesn't matter that traffic is backed up 1/2 mile at times and nothing is done to ease the traffic flow.

So I hope this clarified what my sarcasm was attempting to convey. I was really quite surprised by the sophomoric comments I evoked from some people. This was not my intent.

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Yesterday I was reading streetsblog going on about wasteful Texas road spending and eventually landed on an article comparing the spending on roads and transit for the top ten metro areas in the country. Boston spends the least on roads, and next to last per capita. Its not completely up to date, but I doubt much has changed. NYC spends the least per capita because it accounts for about 1/4 of the total transit in the US and spends accordingly.

The article is here:
http://www.houstontomorrow.org/livability/story/houston-region-spending-...

And the link in the article for the data is this:
http://www.houstontomorrow.org/uploads/TIPSpendingTop10MetroFinal.xls

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Hard to spend money on infrastructure when most of the cash is going to bloated payrolls, retirement benefits, debt service, and welfare.

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For state workers, Romney Care, welfare etc.

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IMAGE( http://bigmouthbarry.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/horze.jpg )

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marked One Way.

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This stretch of road between the VFW and the rotary at the other end definitely needs some thought. The intersection of Walter and Centre is essentially lawless during the morning and evening commutes in both directions. People on Centre, anticipating that people on Walter are merging, will speed up as much as they possibly can without rear ending the traffic backed up from the Faulkner to make sure that any on-commers think twice about merging in, while the people on Walter will pull out to block both lanes so that they can make a left turn on to Alendale. Making a left off of Walter onto Centre headed towards the VFW is so insane that it cannot be described in words. Pedestrians are totally out of the equation and the recent addition of bikes adds a new and frightening variable to the morning mix. Glad the state is being proactive on this.

The concept of the round about is a bit absurd and I think would make things much worse. The "Option 2" thing seems to make the most sense to me. Now, if they could stop people from using Walter Street as a speed way and put in cement sidewalks, as opposed to the lumpy asphault that is there, that would be great too.

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In the words of HarryTruman, highwy commissioner.Misouri "ITS SO DANGEROUS ITS SAFE.

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Their parkways are profoundly substandard and shockingly dangerous.

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Not another rotary

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Heaven forbid they should build a traffic interchange that allows traffic to flow freely during low-volume periods and handles high-volumes traffic as well.

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If rotaries work so well, why are they removing Shea Circle, and proposing to remove Murray Circle?

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The plan shown for Murray Circle looks terrible! The short-term re-stripe looks fine for what it is, but the long term plan look just as hideously confusing, nearly as unsafe for peds and cyclists, and simply a nightmare. compare it to this earlier plan,
IMAGE(<a href="http://bostoncyclistsunion.org/wp-content/upLoads/2015/02/Arborway-Bike-before-after-Murray-Circle-HiRes-020915-300x194.png)">http://bostoncyclistsunion.org/wp-content/upLoads/2015/02/Arborway-Bike-...

IMAGE(<a href="http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-BWkVzQ_rLgU/VNU1uVfkJ4I/AAAAAAAASxU/u5lvgqhzC3Y/s1600/Overall.jpg)">http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-BWkVzQ_rLgU/VNU1uVfkJ4I/AAAAAAAASxU/u5lvgqhzC3...

At Walter street, a roundabout seems to make sense, but not the one they show here. it should have a small radius, and the approaches need to be more dead on rather than angled, both of which would lower speeds and improve safety. The direct approaches would also shorten crossing distances and improve visibility.

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can someone help with image imbedding?

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Substitute a [ for { and ] for { in the string, below:

{img}image location{/img}

Image location must point to an image (.jpg or .png, etc.)

Alternatively, you can specify the image size with {img=400x600} or whatever size you want, expressed in pixels.

Remember: don't use { ... use [

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That's what I did. Oh well.
Thank you anyway.

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The Murray Circle redesign looks suspiciously like Alewife. And we know how well that works.

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Adam, a rotary and a roundabout are extremely different.

Are they both circle shaped? Sure. But a stop sign intersection and a traffic light intersection are both cross shaped, does that mean theyre the same? Of course not.

A rotary is designed for high speeds with limited or no lane markings. In a rotary you can and sometimes are required to weave across lanes, causing an unlimited number of merge points. Theyre not safe, and no one will ever build them again new.

A roundabout is designed for low speeds and defined paths of travel. Used correctly, you do NOT switch lanes. You pick your entry based on where you want to leave. They are much safer than rotaries and, depending on traffic volumes, safer than signalized intersections.

Traffic circles are also different. Those have two meanings. The giant ones like Columbus Circle (NYC) or Dupont Circle (DC) which have multiple traffic signals, and the tiny decorative ones in local neighborhood streets.

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A rotary is not one type of thing. It's any number of designs from several decades ago.

A roundabout is a recent word [in the U.S.], introduced to mean a circular intersection that meets modern guidelines.

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