Mayor Robert J. Dolan
Melrose City Hall
562 Main Street
Melrose, MA 02176
June 12, 2012
Dear Mayor Dolan,
We respectfully disagree with the letter that you recently sent to Michael D. Misslin, acting chief engineer for the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), that the reconfiguration of Ravine Road “does not appear to be alleviating any of the issues where Ravine Road intersects with Fellsway East.” It is my opinion from my frequent travel there that it is indeed a much calmer and safer intersection with the reduced number of turning movements. There is less evening rush hour traffic at that intersection and it is now possible to safely turn onto Ravine Road from Fellsway East, and there is much less high speed cut though traffic on the neighboring side roads that are ill equipped to handle commuter traffic. The implementation of the one-way traffic pattern has made this treacherous intersection much safer.
The safety of Melrose children and residents should take priority over adding to the length of time commuters are spending at the intersection of Pond Street and Woodland Road. I have observed that that there is now more traffic on Pond Street because it is now more difficult to make a left turn onto Pond Street. This is where the problem should be mitigated instead of returning to the status quo.
A Fells Area Vision Plan was developed by the the DCR in December of 2006 with the area’s stakeholders, including Melrose officials, about the problems with traffic in the area. The following link illustrates the comprehensive plan that was developed to improve the traffic flow and safety for all residents: http://www.mass.gov/dcr/pe/documents/fellsposter.pdf Unfortunately this was rejected by the Mass Historical Society due to their reluctance to make any type of alterations to the historic parkways.
Another frustrating issue is that subsequent to this plan, in 2007, DCR entered into a Memorandum of Understanding with the developer of the proposed Langwood Commons , see this link here: http://www.env.state.ma.us/mepa/downloads/StonehamLangwood/02-%20Final%20MOU%20with%20DCR.pdf. The DCR received $1.8 million to implement Transportation and Safety improvements for the Woodland Road, Pond Street, Ravine Road, region. To date, the only mitigation every done, is the current reconfiguration of Ravine Road. I wish that your letter to the DCR had asked why this has not been done. Another development, located in Melrose, Stone Place, currently under construction on Washington Street, agreed in May of 2011 to pay the town of Stoneham $25,000 to do a traffic study of the same area. Has this traffic study been done?
We all know that the traffic situation is difficult and our high traffic commuter corridors are roads that were originally built over one hundred years ago to be pleasure roads. As the Mass Water Resources (MRWA) begins construction this summer on a new 20 million gallon covered storage water tank on Woodland Road at the site of the former Boston Regional Medical Center the situation will be exacerbated further. (http://www.mwra.com/01news/2012/03-2012-spotpondstorage/032012-spotpondcoveredstorage.html) The DCR should be anticipating traffic issues such as blasting and increased heavy equipment traffic and have proper plans in place. Please put safety over convenience and do not allow us all to go back to the status quo. Let’s get a permanent solution that we can all live with safely.
Ravine Road, Melrose
CC: Michael D. Misslin, Acting Chief Engineer for DCR
Senator Katherine Clark
Repesentative Paul Brodeur