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Mudville Residents Discuss Traffic in Neighborhood

by Matt Ristaino
July 30, 2018

Residents of Mudville gathered together Wednesday evening to discuss the issue of increased traffic in the neighborhood and brainstorm possible solutions. The meeting took place on the front porch of Tina Hein’s house on Union St., and throughout the evening, car after car after car passed by, illustrating the problem plain as day.

“The biggest feeling is the sense of loss,” said Hein. “It’s like we lost the community that Mudville is, the quiet neighborhood. It shouldn’t be this way, and it doesn’t have to be this way.”

Hein has been the leader of the community when it comes to addressing the traffic problem. She first went to the Board of Selectmen last fall to discuss this issue, and has been going to meetings regularly throughout the summer.

She and many other Mudville residents feel that their once quiet, walkable neighborhood has become unsafe, especially for children, because more and more people are using it as a cut-through to avoid downtown.

Peter Guellnitz, who lives on Pleasant St. and moved to Mudville a couple of years ago, said they chose Mudville because of its quiet neighborhood feel, but that has gone away.

“It surprised us when we were here for our first rush hour,” he said. “It’s unfortunate that we’re worried about the kids running out the front door and playing out front.”

“You wouldn’t think of teaching your child to ride a bike on this street anymore,” said Hein.

Traffic in the area has significantly increased recently, especially with the now complete rail trail running through the neighborhood and the new traffic lights downtown.

On Wednesday morning, the first day the lights were turned on, Hein said she counted anywhere from 60 to 100 cars an hour going down Union St. That day, the police pulled somebody over for going 44 mph through the neighborhood.

“It’s only going to get worse once schools open again in August,” said Jean Spera, another resident of Mudville.

So what can be done to increase the safety of Mudville? Residents have a number of ideas, the simplest being posting speed limit signs in the neighborhood, increased police enforcement of speed limits, and travel and turn restrictions during certain times of the day.

Other possible solutions that would be more difficult to implement would be dropping the speed limit to 20 mph, and installing speed bumps on certain roads.

“At 20 miles per hour, the risk for pedestrians using the roads goes down significantly,” said Hein, who has done research and spoken to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation about the process of lowering speed limits.  

What makes this such a pressing issue is the unique layout and zoning of Mudville. As Hein pointed out, Mudville has the shortest house set-back distance from the road of any residential zone in Holliston. It is an incredibly dense neighborhood with narrow streets that are not meant for heavy traffic.

“We are the most densely populated neighborhood in Holliston, with small house lots and many, many children," said Lesley Kennally, who also lives in Mudville. “Safety is the primary concern. The sidewalks are either non-existent, or in such poor condition that it is actually hazardous to use them.”

The residents want something to be done as soon as possible, but the Board of Selectmen wants to wait until the a traffic study in the neighborhood is done in the next couple of months.

“At this point, I’d take anything,” said Guellnitz. “I’m not picky.”

“I think the selectmen and police know that there are reasonable solutions,” said Hein. “I think they care, but it remains to be seen if we’ll get the change we want.”

 

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Comments (2)

As a former Mudville resident, I feel for these families as the traffic levels and speeds increase in the neighborhood. I've stopped taking any detouring routes through there myself, as I don't want to add to their discomfort. I hope the town will work with the residents to come up with a solution to mitigate this problem.

- Janee Connor | 7/30/18 8:42 AM

I have to admit, I did not expect a huge surge in Mudville traffic (Holliston, but not Mudville resident here). It's amazing that people are so impatient. The only time I ever cut through Mudville was when I was trying to avoid a left turn onto Washington from Cental. I was actually looking forward to the lights to help that.

Hopefully some combination of tuning the lights (to reduce driver frustration), one way streets and/or "resident turn only" can help.

- Mark | 7/30/18 8:31 AM

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