Please join the City of Somerville for a community meeting in regards to ongoing construction and design elements on Powder House Blvd. The meeting is scheduled for Wednesday, July 31, at 6:30 p.m. at the West Somerville Neighborhood School, 177 Powder House Blvd., and will include a brief presentation with construction updates, parking study results, questions about the temporary, short-term solution to stripe a bike lane in one direction on a portion of the Boulevard, (see below), and the completion of traffic calming measures this summer. This meeting will not cover additional information about proposed permanent bicycle options on the Boulevard. A meeting on that topic will be scheduled this fall.
With utility and sidewalk reconstruction nearing completion this summer and lane and crosswalk striping to occur in August, the City will stripe a temporary single bike lane using low-durability paint. This temporary condition will not require the loss of any parking, but will provide a dedicated bike lane and is anticipated to reduce motor vehicle speeds on the Boulevard. This paint will wear off over the course of the next 12 months as we continue to work with the community for a permanent solution as discussed in previous meetings. A full list of Frequently Asked Questions can be found at http://www.somervillema.gov/powderhouseboulevard, however please note the following important selections from the FAQ section:
· Is this the final decision regarding street design?
No. This temporary, short-term solution is NOT a final design. The City will continue the process of finding the best long‐term street design solution, but an interim decision had to be made given that the street was repaved in early July and needs paint in the very near future for safety reasons.
· Will the temporary single bike lane be on the same side of the street for the full length?
No. The temporary single bike lane will be on the westbound side of the street from Powder House Circle to about halfway between Packard Ave. and Curtis St., and on the eastbound side of the street from North St. to about halfway between Packard Ave. and Curtis St.
· Is the 4‐way stop pilot at Curtis St still happening?
Yes, the City will test the safety benefits of temporarily converting the traffic signal at Curtis Street to a 4‐way stop sign, similar to the Packard Avenue intersection. Given the timing of the sidewalk reconstruction, repaving, and restriping on Powder House, the decision was made to wait until construction is complete to start the pilot. This is now estimated to begin in early August.
· What happened to the rubber speed tables and flex posts outside the school?
The rubber speed tables and flex posts were removed to allow for the street to be repaved. Given that the rubber speed tables were a success but are seasonal in nature (they have to be removed for winter snow plowing), the City has instructed its contractor to install permanent asphalt speed humps in their place. These are expected to be constructed in the next 2‐3 weeks. Flex posts will also be reinstalled upon completion of final striping.
· Does the City still intend to install a different on‐demand, red pedestrian signal at the entrance to the school?
Yes, the City still intends to install a hybrid pedestrian signal (also known as a HAWK signal) at Hardan Road to provide a safer pedestrian crossing. This type of signal flashes red when activated by a pedestrian, and motor vehicles are required to stop. However, this depends on the success of the 4‐way stop pilot at Curtis Street – the HAWK signal cannot be installed so close to a traditional traffic signal.
For a full list of FAQs and additional information about the temporary plan, please visit http://www.somervillema.gov/powderhouseboulevard.
Individuals with disabilities who need auxiliary aids and services for effective communication, written materials in alternative formats, or reasonable modifications in policies and procedures, in order to access the programs and activities of the City of Somerville or to attend meetings, should contact should contact Nency Salamoun, at 617-625-6600 x2323 or NSalamoun@somervillema.gov.