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.