17 thoughts on “Residents Say Traffic, Speed is Rising on Their Street; Officials Say the Problem is Townwide

  1. There are certainly many side streets(and not discounting this one) that get this sort of surge at specific times of day. I would not be against putting calming rises on many side streets…the cut throughs are easy to identify. Why are we waiting for Mt Auburn street given this is a townwide issue? I am still puzzled by Mt Auburn going down to one lane and left turn lanes when the biggest bang for getting people from point a->B would be to keep 4 lanes and make one lane a bus/bike lane either 6-9:30am then 4-7pm or all the time? Of course the pedestrian crossings should be made safer(and can be). The amount of people I encounter taking a left on Mt Auburn(not at a light) is very small in comparison(anedotal for sure). If the goal for Mt Auburn is a)better pedestrian crossings b) less traffic by promoting better times in other modes of transportation then we are missing the goals. I believe bus lane only, for the smaller sections of Mt Auburn has improved the times. Why not have a bus lane up Mt Auburn(costs< + more people in better time)? If anyone knows the answer to this please post, I sincerley would like to know why this was not the answer?

  2. We also have a cut-through problem on my street, Templeton Parkway. I fear for the children who live on my street because some people drive unreasonably fast for such a narrow street.

    I believe that side street speed limits should be cut to 25 mph and the police should get out and enforce it on various cut through streets in order to send a message. Do we have to wait for something horrible to happen before we act?

  3. Speed limits should be 25 or slower. Much safer if someone were to get hit—see Complete Streets. There should be parking allowed and little traffic circles at even small intersections. Gives us green and traffic calming. More speed signs— do we want to lower speeds or make money catching speeders? Show drivers what we expect. More enforcement.

  4. I live on Waltham Street, Watertown. Every day I am yelling slow down to cars exceeding the speed limit. I cringe when I am walking one of my grandsons down to the Bemis park.
    When the town fixed Waltham Street, I always wonder why there are no speed bumps. I have lived in my house over 25 years & have never been nervous walking on Waltham Street. It’s made think about selling my house and moving out of Watertown…..

  5. I live at Belmont and Lexington. Two stop signs on opposite sites of Lexington street are a suggestion for most drivers. I’ve witnessed at least 2 accidents a year in the 7 years being here.

  6. Residents of Watertown have been concerned about the increasing traffic in town for years. And what have our officials done — blindly allowed massive construction without true a plan of how to deal with the increase in vehicles. The steps they are taking with our roads are counterintuitive. Our current officials are not equipped to deal with this growth. It’s time for a change. We need people in charge that can fix our schools, dilapidated streets, traffic issues, etc. We can do better. #WatertownNeedsAMayor.

    • Better public transportation and more dedicated bus lanes would help too. For gods sake, can we get a bus line going down Grove Street? Traffic there is a nightmare during rush hour. Speaking of Grove Street, I wouldn’t mind seeing the parking lot owned by Mt. Auburn Cemetery (currently rented to Mt. Auburn Hospital) turned into a commuter lot. Getting anywhere by public transportation from this part of town takes far longer than it should.

  7. The traffic commission has heard and discussed the matter of reduced speed limits several times over the last 5 years and has sent it back to the staff ‘for study’ and kicked the can further down the road each time. Actually lower speed limits DO slow cars down. The first time someone gets a speeding ticket on a street, he or she is much less likely to surpass the posted speed limit again. Not to mention, there are plenty of studies out there that tell us how much less likely a person is to die after being hit by cars that are going a mere 5-10 mph less. As far as the Mt. Auburn Street project goes, let’s all please remember that those 5-10 mph that we might lose amount to almost nothing when it comes to getting to your destination as long as your car keeps moving at a steady pace and doesn’t get held up at the intersections.

    Its time to act on this speed limit matter Chief Lawn, Superintendent Mee, Councilor Bays. Enough studying of the matter. People who have advocated for it just got tired of asking but please don’t mistake that for us not wanting it. Showing up at a traffic commission meeting isn’t easy to do for most working people. Thanks and I know this is the absolute worst forum to voice this concern but I’m just venting frustrations. I live on Bellevue and I have nightmares about my kids getting hit on this cut-through. Have already lost a side-view mirror on my car and keep getting told by WPD that many streets have the same problem and there’s nothing they can do about it.

      • Yes, bravo Aaron. Acknowledging there is a problem and then doing absolutely nothing certainly hasn’t helped. I can’t see any reason not to lower the speed limits. Also, if, as Lawn says, “(Boston Mayor) Marty Walsh wants to reduce it to 20 mph, now”, then there must be some validity in reducing speed limits. They can observe and study things all they want, but sitting idly by doing nothing doesn’t help the situation.

  8. People are similar to water when they commute. Both will travel in the path of least resistance. Continue to add traffic congestion, stoplights, and narrowing main arteries for a few bikers and there will be traffic flowing through neighborhoods. It’s been happening for years. Quiet streets become rush hour cut throughs. Welcome to the new “progressive “ Watertown!!

  9. I’ve seen very few bicyclists using the new bike lanes on Mt. Auburn St. and Arsenal St. We spend all this money for them and add to the problems for those who have to drive cars to get to work or appointments. When winter and snow comes and people can’t see the road markings for all the zigs and zags on those roads, let’s see what happens! Progressive is regressive in my books.

    • What they have planned for Mt. Auburn St. is a joke. I find it laughable that Town officials and anyone supportive of the effort thinks that it will solve or alleviate traffic concerns.
      Quite the opposite… this noble idea of reducing Mt. Auburn from 4 lanes to two (all for the sake of bike lanes), is going to be a disaster, and make matters worse by backing up traffic, create even more congestion, and encourage drivers to take alternate side streets. The brianiacs that conceived this boondoggle should be humiliated and run out of town.

  10. Aldrich Road is a dangerous cut-through street with a blind curve, a school bus drop-off, parking on one side, and Casey Playground and basketball courts. Yet the traffic knuckleheads allow this narrow street to be two-way. Drivers cut through to avoid the traffic signals at the Watertown/Galen Street intersection. Kids getting off the school bus, kids chasing a ball from the playground, people walking in the street in winter when residents don’t clear their walks. What could possibly happen? Someone will be hit and maybe killed that’s what. Injury or death is what usually gets the attention of the traffic powers that be. Residents can complain and complain, but until there is a tragedy nothing is done. It happens over and over.

  11. If Watertown officials actually cared what residents thought, it would invite all to participate directly as a community through Town Meeting…just like every other Massachusetts town does. Power was grabbed in early 80’s by none other than a member of the traffic commission, whose traffic planning credentials include selling suits and owning land in town. The joke is on us for sitting idly by for all these years pretending to have a voice in any of this. Town government is going to do exactly what they want to do without inviting any of us into the process.

    • Just an FYI, the town meeting in Watertown was a representative one where members were elected, so not every resident could participate in those meetings. It is a common form of Town Meeting for larger towns.

  12. Reply
    When we had town meeting every Watertown resident was allowed to speak if they weren’t one of the 166 town meeting members representing each of our 12 precincts – they would ask the moderator. No one was ever denied that opportunity. I was an elected town meeting member. There are hundreds of representative town meetings in Massachusetts- including surrounding towns – Lexington, Arlington, Belmont Brookline etc
    This is New England citizen government

    What is better than having your neighbors representing the residents as your legislative body?

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