Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Jamaica Pond Access Enhancements at Perkins Street and Parkman Drive

On Tuesday April 11, 2017 at a well-attended meeting of stakeholders, the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), City of Boston Department of Parks and Recreation, and their engineering and design contractor BETA Group revealed plans for pedestrian and cycling access improvements at the intersection of Parkman Drive and Perkins Street and near the Cabot Estate entrance at Jamaica Pond. The plans include two sets of crosswalks, new paths and sidewalks as well as new traffic signals.

Click for larger image
Vehicle travel lanes on Perkins near the intersection will be narrowed to provide traffic calming and to reclaim greenspace adjacent to the pond. A new island west of Parkman, a concrete median between Cabot and Parkman, a bump-out at the Cabot crosswalk and widened sidewalks to the north are planned to enhance safety for pedestrians in the area. Plans call for the creation of two new ADA-compliant paths connecting the crosswalks to the main Pond-side recreational path while reducing erosion. Though five existing trees will be lost, ten new ones will be planted.

The plan for these safety and access improvements seemed generally well received by those in attendance, with spirited community input commenting on various details. Concerns were raised about whether the plan provides enhanced bicycle safety in the corridor, how the light cycles would function and whether "desire lines" of pedestrian behavior had been covered. It was noted that the community still awaits an access path to the Parkman Memorial from the Pond. JPNC Chair Kevin Moloney expressed gratitude that a plan was moving forward and asked for continued focus on the related Centre Street improvements between the VFW Parkway and Murray Circle as well as the more complex Arborway corridor improvements which have not reached the "25% Plan" stage eighteen months after the last community update. Mark Tedrow of the LivableStreets Alliance questioned whether the crosswalks at Parkman would provide maximal pedestrian safety. Peter Furth, speaking on behalf of the Boston Cyclist's Union, questioned whether the plans took advantage of contemporary best practices for cycling safety and called for consideration of a modern roundabout at the intersection to slow all traffic, not just those stopped at red lights.

DCR said construction staging will be coordinated to reduce rush hour impacts. Their timetable hopes to have most construction complete by year-end, with landscaping coming in Spring 2018. Next steps include taking the plan to the Boston Landmarks Commission next week, to the Mass Historic Commission in about 30 days, with construction bidding taking place this summer and construction beginning this fall.

1 comment:

  1. This proposed plan looks good except for those wanting to access to and from Sargent Crossway. Why not line up the intersection and make it a four (three corner stop with the option of four for the residents of Sargent Crossway?) Also, why not have the crosswalk from next to the pedestrian entrance of Sargent Crossway directly over to the Pond? From this proposal, one would have to always make dangerous U turns to get into Sargent Crossway, from Francis Parkman Drive.