Arlington Bicycle Advisory Committee - Jun 17th, 2020
Meeting held via video-conference. I wasn't able to attend the entire meeting, so my notes cover a subset of agenda items.
Report on Select Board. The Select Board agreed to appoint a committee to look at the intersection of Mass Ave and Appleton Street, where Charlie Proctor was killed. This committee will include representatives from both TAC and ABAC. Chris Tonkin will serve as the ABAC representative, with Rod Holland as backup. The select board expanded the committee composition, to include representation from Ottoson Middle School. They've also expanded the study area to include adjoining intersections.
Charlie Proctor Memorial/Ghost Bike Update. The Select Board approved the creation of a monument. The town manager and the DPW have to work on placement. The monument should be visible, but can't be placed where it would create an obstruction.
The town recently added temporary barriers to prevent vehicles from making a left turn from Mass Ave onto Appleton street. There was another accident over the weekend, which resulted in a cyclist being hospitalized.
Brian Ristuccia believes the barrier will help prevent this particular kind of crash. He rode around the area after the barriers were installed, and didn't observe any significant traffic backups. Going forward, we will need something that doesn't involve police intervention (i.e., something that doesn't require a traffic control officer to enforce the no left turn prohibition). Perhaps the temporary intervention could be done with more permanent kinds of barriers.
Dan Amstutz talks about a study from the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety. The study found benefits in putting center-line barriers near crosswalks, to prevent drivers from turning early and cutting across intersections. That finding may be applicable here.
Adam MacNeil mentions minor signaling improvements at the intersection.
Town Meeting Update. Town meeting agreed to a $20k appropriation for the purpose of funding a bike share program. The capital budget appropriated $25k for the planning department to install bike racks. The Minuteman Bikeway study didn't make it into this year's CPA plan.
Shared Street Pilot. Muris thinks the shared streets prototype was awesome, and he's sad to see it go.
Dan Amstutz says it was a week-long pilot. He presented an evaluation to the select board, which they liked. He's looking at other areas in town where a slow streets pilot might be beneficial. Dan plans to visit Somerville, to see what they've done for their shared streets program. He'd like to bring the Brooks Ave accommodations back, but have them connect to something. There were a few objections to the pilot. Some were ideological, while others felt that 25 MPH was too high a speed limit for a shared street. We may step up traffic calming in future pilots, to get the speed limit down to 20 MPH.
Galen (from MassBike) asks if the slow streets pilots are being considered on their own, or in conjunction with improvements to dangerous intersections. He also says the state is releasing funds to help municipalities with tactical improvements to roadways.
Dan Amstutz is aware of the state grants. Arlington needs a more worked-out and vetted proposal before it can consider applying. Right now, slow streets pilots are being treated as temporary changes.
Chris Tonkin notes that Belmont recently closed Leonard Street, for pedestrians and outdoor restaurant seating.
Sustainable Transportation Plan. The sustainable transportation plan survey has gotten over 900 responses so far. Dan Amstutz is talking to the Council on Aging and Arlington Housing Authority to get their feedback. DPCD is planning a virtual forum for July 1st. Our consultants are developing a transportation fact book, with information about the current system. He's expecting this to be a robust and detailed analysis. The consultant may conduct additional focus group work.
Bike Friendly Community. Dan has worked out portions of the Bike Friendly Community survey. He'll send this to ABAC members for feedback.
Arlington High School Rebuild. Muris thinks that Mass Ave has been well-insulated from construction work.
Dan Amstutz talks about a transportation impact study that was done for the high school. A supplemental analysis was recently done, which looked at the effects of removing a traffic loop, additional entrances and exits, and a potential need for more traffic signals. The supplemental analysis also considered bumpered bike tracks on Mass Ave.
Mirror at Gold's Gym. There's discussion about the feasibility of adding a mirror to the area where the Gold's Gym parking lot adjoins the Minuteman Bikeway. The goal is to improve visibility. Chris Tonkin is talking with the DPW about this.
Bike Counts. Dan reports problems with the counter at Swan Place; it stopped reporting numbers about a month ago. The vendor believes there's an equipment defect, and they're sending replacement parts. Whittemore Park construction may complicate bike count efforts. We'll need to figure out where counts should be conducted, and counters will need to bring their own tally sheets.
Tentative locations include: outside town hall, the bike lanes on either side of Appleton Street, and the intersection of Bartlett Ave and Pleasant Street. Dan thinks a twelve-hour count would be nice, because we don't know what the peak times are at these locations.
Scott Smith suggests counting in the evening, when it's cooler and people are out exercising.
Chris suggests leaving the Appleton Street area to the committee that's working on improvements to the intersection.
Rod Holland suggests fewer locations, and counting for longer periods of time.
For now, counting outside town hall seems like the best bet.