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Selectmen's Meeting -- Mudville Traffic Report

by Mary Greendale
November 19, 2018

It was standing room only tonight as the report on the Mudville Traffic Study was to be discussed.

 

Mudville residents packed the room to hear from McMahon & Associates engineers. Before the engineers got a chance to talk, many residents asked to be heard in Public Comment. Anecdotes poured forth and Travis Hein of Union Street brought a photo of Middle School students being squeezed into and onto a snowbank by a passing car on Union Street with only six feet between the car and the nearest girl. "My concern is that when this car gets to the crest of the hill, if there's another car coming from the other direction, where do walkers go??


Several speakers talked about hostile drivers honking horns to try to get cars to move faster as residents are trying to pull into their driveways, people yelling at walkers, using crude language and gestures -- and this is new since the lights went in. As one engineer noted, the drivers are frustrated. Clearly the residents are, too, having spent two years bringing comments, questions, data, and stories to the Board. A couple of times tensions rose a little bit on both sides of the table as the conversation went on. Susan Woodrow of Union Street was applauded when she said, " You do not need any further data to lower the  speed limit... We’re desperate for some timetable – what else can citizens do to have meaningful input?"  

The engineers made their presentation and said that there were not major volume increases just looking at the numbers and the volume of cars was reasonable if you did not take into account the narrow streets, poor delineation between curbs and streets, many driveways, dense population and other geographic and neighborhood conditions. But the neighbors were vehement that those conditions matter significantly, and the engineers assured them that those conditions would be taken into account in the mitigation options. Options included granite curbs to clarify where the street actually is. In some cases, the street and sidewalk merge. In some spots, telephone poles appear to be in the street but are on sidewalks. The curbing will make the streets look narrower and serve to slow drivers. Other options included lower speed limits, stops signs, flashing signs and one way streets.

Come spring of 2020, Mudville will have a total re-do of water, gas lines, new sidewalks, curbs and streets and an improved drainage system. "There’s going to be lot of construction for a long time," Ahonrian noted, "drivers won’t want to cut through, won’t be able to speed. I think when it’s all done, it’s going to be awesome, but construction and traffic mitigation are two different conversations."

Marsden told residents that the process has been, "Data driven since the beginning. We are looking for balance and to make educated decisions and not make things worse. "I have no opposition to reduced speed. Not opposed to signage – it's the right way to go." He added that they would look at the speed liimit closely in what will be a two-step process: first to 25 mph and then the neighborhood must meet certain other, more challenging, standards to qualify for a 20 mph limit.

One resident suggested that they turn the entire picture around and focus on pedestrian safety. He asked that the BOS reach out to MAPC (Mertropolitan Area Planning Council), and the Board agreed. These folks will take a big picture analysis of what exists and what steps can be taken to create safe streets for people walking or riding bicycles. Marsden will reach out to Public Safety to come in on December 3, to discuss mitigation efforts, signage, speed reduction and hammer out solutions.

Speaking to the residents, Selectman Cronin said, "One ways, stop signs, speed reduction, they are coming. We're just taking a thoughtful approach."

For the full report including charts and maps,  

https://www.townofholliston.us/sites/hollistonma/files/uploads/mcmahon_mudville_traffic_pattern_analysis_memo_2018-11-07.pdf

 

 

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Comments (5)

People take a right on Hollis onto Washington and then take a left on central and cut back around to take a right onto Washington just to avoid the wait time at the Hollis light as most people in the am are going left onto Washington from Hollis and the right lane is wide open. Saw it today because someone behind me went into the right lane when I stopped at the yellow light and then they ended up in front of me after the light turned green. This person was tailgating me from prentice. Lots of rude people cut through our town -they tail gate, pass you on Washington street - mostly when you get to Sherborn. Sick of it. And the best part is they save no time. Always accidents in Holliston. Something needs to be done. Not just in Mudville but all over town. Chamberlain street is a highway as well as highland and central. People also cut down hollis and go around highland to beat the lights.

- Bill Littlefield | 11/28/18 7:06 PM

I appreciate your feedback, Travis. I'll admit that I never heard McMahon say that the major cut through streets had increased three times. You are right that the report and the neighborhood residents brought that up and I should have included it, but I missed McMahon folks saying it. Thanks.

- Mary Greendale | 11/21/18 12:02 PM

Mary, please correct your statement: "there were not major volume increases just looking at the numbers". If you review the video on HCAT, you'll see that this reference was for streets like Spring St with low numbers in pre- and post- construction traffic studies (from 4 eastbound vehicles in 2016 to 9 in 2018). However, the main cut through streets, eastbound in morning on Pleasant and Union increased 3x (from 28 in 2016 to 88 vehicles in 2018) - Table 2 in the report.

- Travis Hein | 11/21/18 9:05 AM

Another issue to add to the list. Several telephone poles with street lights attached came down on Pleasant St earlier this year. The poles were replaced but without the street lights. Add a very dark street to the list of problems on Pleasant.

- Carol | 11/20/18 11:45 AM

The McMahon conclusion was that the volume changes did not support the need for traffic mitigation however the raw data very clearly shows increases of 50-300% (hundreds more cars) throughout the day and on several different streets.

- Tina Hein | 11/20/18 11:24 AM

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