This is a quick post and response to the Telegram and Gazette article today re. the Shrewsbury Street Neighborhood Association supporting a proposal to reconfigure the roundabout at Washington Square to alleviate traffic congestion during rush hour. Representative Vincent Pedone is proposing a potential solution with the creation of a four way intersection in Washington Square.
Please stop and re-think this proposed change that would exacerbate a worsening traffic problem and let's get to the root of the problem!
Last June, national traffic and walkability expert, Dan Burden, the featured speaker at the Massachusetts Smart Growth Conference in Worcester, stayed an extra day to do a walking audit from Union Station through downtown Worcester. Dan Burden has consulted with cities and towns across the country to assist in the better flow of traffic and the increase in safe and accessible pedestrian activity. HE IS A RESPECTED EXPERT WHO KNOWS WHAT HE IS TALKING ABOUT!
Here is a synopsis of what Dan Burden told us on this walking tour:
*The roundabout in front of Union Station is a great vehicle for keeping traffic flowing appropriately. The installation of roundabouts has been a key recipe in solving traffic nightmares. Message: thumbs up for the rotary in front of Union Station!
*The traffic intersection at Front and Foster Streets is not fully functional due to the problem with walk signaling and the timing of the lights. He predicted that the problems at this intersection ripple its way through to create back-up traffic all along the street back to the roundabout and up towards Main Street.
*He even proposed that the light at the corner of Front and Commercial Street could be removed and even that small change would help the traffic through this downtown corridor.
Dan Burden's message was very clear: The root of the traffic problem jam is NOT at the roundabout but further on up at the Front and Foster intersection and Front/Commercial signaling. LET'S FOCUS OUR ATTENTION ON THE ROOT OF THE PROBLEM.
Gary Vecchio of the Shrewsbury Street Neighborhood Association was quoted in the T & G article, "The roundabout used to work. The roundabout didn't create this problem. It's what they have done since, with the major culprit being the opening up of Front Street and creating a four way intersection at Foster Street."
Gary Vecchio is affirming Dan Burden's diagnosis of the problem. So, let's focus on removing or reworking the intersection at Foster and Front Streets to alleviate traffic and increase the accessibility for pedestrians from Main to Shrewsbury Street. Leave the roundabout at Washington Square alone, doing it good job of moving the traffic along at its needed pace!