Several accident hotspots in Chelsea should see some improvements in the coming months.
At its meeting on Tuesday, the Traffic and Safety Commission approved a request to modify the traffic signal and intersection markings at Spruce Street and Everett Avenue. The commission also approved a request for improved pedestrian safety measures near the Early Learning Center.
“We hired an engineering firm to look at the intersection of Spruce and Everett,” said Fidel Maltez, the DPW Commissioner. “What we are seeing are a lot of vehicles on the left-hand side, and they want to make a left across Spruce onto Everett. Because there is not a dedicated lane or light, they are always creeping into the intersection.”
The solution devised by the engineering firm calls for a dedicated left-turn lane on Spruce Street to make a left onto Everett Avenue.
“We will modify the road for it with proper markings and proper signage, and we are going to modify the light as well so that the vehicles that are on the left-hand side will have a dedicated left turn onto Everett.,” Maltez said.
The improvements will have little impact on the current flow of traffic, said Alexander, the Director of Housing and Community Development.
“When our engineers analyzed the proposed change, they demonstrated it wouldn’t have an effect on the level of service at the intersection, and it will improve safety,” said Train. “One of the major safety deficiencies at this intersection is that as cars are creeping (into the intersection), they are rear ending each other, and there are many sideswipe accidents. Our goal with this is to decrease the number of these types of crashes while streamlining traffic flow.”
Train said the area near the school department’s Early Learning Center at the intersection of Hawthorne, Central, and Park streets is also an accident hotspot in the city.
“This school walking route encompases a high crash cluster with numerous crashes over the last five years,” said Train. “We hired our on-call transportation company, TEC, to prepare a plan of interim safety measures that could be implemented with low-cost treatments.”
That plan includes painted curb extensions, new crosswalks, signage, and bicycle facilities.
Train said a dedicated bike lane is being considered for the area, but because of some engineering concerns, the city will likely move forward with shared lane markings on Hawthorne Street for bicycles and vehicles to share the road.
“Upon commission and (City) Council approval, our plan would be to implement this configuration in the early fall, with construction completion before the end of December,” said Train.
Maltez said this plan is in line with other safety improvements around the Early Learning Center.
“We are really trying to increase pedestrian safety and bicycle safety, and this project is a good complement to the corridor that we are building into the downtown,” he said.