A city transportation official told residents of Summer and Austin streets last night he could have a simple fix for the cut-through speeders that have made many of them afraid to park in front of their own houses: Some buckets of white paint.
Bill Conroy, senior transportation planner for BTD, told members of the Grew Park Neighborhood Association he would look at having city workers paint white stripes to mark off the parking lanes on either sides of the relatively wide one-way roads. That would make the roads seem narrower to drivers and narrower roads make drivers "tend to go slower," he said.
Conroy said that one option tried in Jamaica Plain - speed humps or speed tables - probably wouldn't be a solution for the two roads because they are used by the T's 50 bus, and buses and speed impediments are not a good mix. He will also look at getting the two streets radar signs that flash at drivers if they're going too fast.
Conroy acknowledged that fixing Hyde Park's growing traffic congestion, caused in large part by out of towners or out of neighborhooders seeking to avoid the nightmare of Cleary Square, will be much tougher.
Conroy, who grew up in the area, but who now lives in Dorchester's Savin Hill, said he is always amazed at how many cars there are in Hyde Park, which used to be a traffic backwater where only locals went. Out of towners, though, have discovered - sometimes via Waze - they can cut through Hyde Park from Rte. 128 to Brookline and other destinations to the north. And increasingly, that means speeding down side streets that few people had previously ever heard of.
And while Conroy said the lights at Gordon Avenue and River Street are now coordinated with the lights a block away in Cleary Square, residents said the intersection remains a chokepoint, partly because of people making rights on red from Business Street, in front of Junior's, partly because Massholes are Massholes and turn left from the other side of Gordon or just plow straight ahead on River even if they can't get through the intersection and then the light turns red and the whole area becomes gridlocked.
Conroy agreed with a resident that one possible fix would be to bar right turns on red from Business Street onto River.
Child Street residents, meanwhile, complained of large BPS school buses using their narrow street as a bypass around Hyde Park Avenue on their way to the bus yard in Readville. BPD officers said residents should contact BPS - which can order drivers to stick to wider roads, and which can then use GPS to track their compliance.
He added that another fix for the area comes this summer - BTD has scheduled installation of a set of traffic lights at the free for all at Hyde Park and Dana avenues.
Ed. confession: To get to the meeting at District E-18 from Roslindale, I cut down Austin, turned left on Gordon, then left on River and Hyde Park Avenue to avoid the traffic backed up to Austin on West Street from the intersection at Hyde Park Avenue.