City Ready to Bring Two-way Streets

By Seth Daniel

The City has designed and is preparing to put out to bid a construction project that would bring two-way traffic to Washington Street and Traveller Street in the New York Streets neighborhood.

The project is an off-shoot of the Harrison Avenue re-design work and is aimed at relieving traffic congestion in the Old Dover neighborhood and on Albany Street and Herald Streets.

“At first we were just going to do Harrison Avenue, but then we began to hear from the community that two-way traffic on Washington Street would be a good relief for traffic and so would two-way traffic on Traveller Street,” said Bill Conroy, senior planner at the Boston Transportation Department (BTD). “The 100 percent design for Washington and Traveller is coming in now. We would put it out to bid in September or October and have it completed in early spring of next year.”

Added Vineet Gupta, director of policy and planning at BTD, “In general, bringing a change with two-way streets helps alleviate traffic because you have more choices to make. It’s more or less for local traffic as well. It vive the neighborhood more options to take.”

The idea is to make Washington Street two ways from East Berkeley Street to Herald Street – an area that is now one-way. Then, the second part of the plan is to make Traveller Street two-way from Washington Street to Albany Street. The plan brings a two-way horizontal choice and a two-way vertical choice for drivers.

The executive board of the New York Streets Neighborhood Association said they were on board with the idea, and would like to hear more details also.

“We are building an 18-hour neighborhood in the New York Streets and believe mobility, connectivity and accessibility are key to sustainable and smart growth of this area,” read a statement. “Two-way streets and enhanced bike lanes will only add to the livability and quality of life in the New York Streets.”

The statement was issued by Jamie Curtis, Jefferson Macklin and Kristin Phelan of New York Streets Neighborhood Association.

The plan came out of a March meeting with the neighborhood about bottlenecks and traffic problems related to the Harrison Avenue Redevelopment. Once hearing from the neighbors, it was determined to start the side project.

As for the Harrison Avenue redevelopment, designs are nearly at 100 percent and the goal is to also bid that out in the fall.

That project will institute a protected bike path on Harrison, with the bike lane abutting the sidewalk and being protected from traffic by parked cars. That, in addition to wider sidewalks and other improvements, would be achieved by removing the center median strip.

“We want to make sure pedestrians and people on bicycles are accommodated in a significant way,” said Conroy. “That’s the difference people will see in the long-run when Harrison Avenue is constructed.”

He said there might be one more community meeting regarding the Harrison Avenue project, but that would be up to Commissioner Gina Fiandaca.

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