See the Latest Designs for Mt. Auburn Street at Meeting Hosted by DPW

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The latest plans for how Mt. Auburn Street will be renovated will be on display at a Department of Public Works meeting on May 14, 2018.

The Town of Watertown is redesigning Mt. Auburn Street with a “Complete Streets” approach, which seeks to to improve safety and better accommodate all users: vehicles, transit, bicycles, and pedestrians.

The meeting will be similar to the one held in February, but while that meeting focused on Coolidge Square, this one will encompass the entire length of the Mt. Auburn Street project — from Patten Street to the Cambridge line, said Town Engineer Matt Shuman.

“The meeting at the Coolidge Apartments was received positively. People liked the one-on-one format,” Shuman said. “We got a lot of constructive comments and a lot through our website.”

At the meeting, residents can have their questions addressed by members of the design team and Town staff on topics including traffic, safety, bicycle and pedestrian issues, parking and loading concerns, and public transit on Mt. Auburn Street.

Large printouts of the roadway will be on display for people to look at, and comment upon. The draft to be presented has incorporated the input collected from prior meetings and from the project website, mountauburnstreet.com.

“We considered all the comments and we are trying to respond, but some comments oppose each other,” Shuman said.

The plan to be presented on May 14 will have many of the major pieces, such as which areas will have two lanes each way and which will be reduced to one lane each direction, Shuman said. The smaller details, such as where a street lamp might go or the locations for trees, will not be decided yet.

“Our intent is to roll out the draft (at the May 14 meeting) and ask the Town Council for support,” Shuman said.

The project will be at the 25 percent level, which is important for getting state funding for the work, Shuman said. The project is on the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) list for projects to be funded in 2022 (an estimated $13 million to $14 million), but the Town must show it is working on project designs.

“It shows progress, and if you don’t get approval it doesn’t look like you are working on the project,” said Dennis Sheehan, the DPW Director of Administration and Finance.

The Mount Auburn Street meeting will be held at Hosmer School Cafeteria, 1 Concord Road, Watertown, from 4 to 7 p.m. on Monday, May 14.

5 thoughts on “See the Latest Designs for Mt. Auburn Street at Meeting Hosted by DPW

  1. Dear Watertown town councilors:

    Instead of redesigning streets, has it ever occurred to you to first fix the potholes, cracks, bumps, and other problems that are ruining cars that drive on your streets?

  2. I wonder if the DPW could respond to this point by explaining the prioritizing method that is used in determining what work goes first. I have looked at the DPW website and I could not understand this.

  3. Having recently looked at the proposed changes I am deeply disappointed that there is no well defined problem that you are trying to solve with this proposed solution.
    It seems to me that if the problem is that during rush hour there are too many vehicles trying to use a resource that is limited in capability to accommodate the demand, then taking traffic flow from cars and giving it to busses is not a reasonable solution.
    If you have only one tube and it is not big enough for what you want to move through it then you must use an additional tube.
    It seems to me we need to replace the busses with a subway system.
    All of this lane stealing from cars and trucks to give priority to busses is a short sighted waste of time and $
    Let’s think long term.
    Plan like we are a great society then we will be a great society.
    Plan for the long term.
    In the short term, Do what they do in many other places, have the bike lanes as part of the sidewalks (slightly wider sidewalks, no useless & unsightly grass strip), parked cars next to that like they are already and continue to share traffic lanes equally until a subway is built.

  4. Another bone headed Watertown idea for this street as only Watertown could come up with. Namely, once again narrowing a two lane road down to one to accommodate all 10 cyclists a day that would use it. Skip “inclusiveness” for practically.

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