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Letter: Ravine Road Residents Disagree with Dolan, Support One-Way Trial

Residents Kathleen McGourthy and Craig Schwarze wrote a letter to Mayor Rob Dolan disagreeing with his assessment of the DCR's one-way Ravine Road trial.

Mayor Robert J. Dolan
Melrose City Hall
562 Main Street
Melrose, MA 02176

June 12, 2012

Dear Mayor Dolan,

We respectfully disagree with the , 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.

Sincerely,
Kathleen McGourthy
Craig Schwarze
Ravine Road, Melrose

CC: Michael D. Misslin, Acting Chief Engineer for DCR
      Senator Katherine Clark
      Repesentative Paul Brodeur

Rick June 07, 2012 at 02:40 PM
As another commuter that uses this road-way fairly often, I understand the few residents complaints about traffic, but we are all living this world together. What if we made the street one way (going the way of the traffic at the time) ie put the one-way going from Wyoming to the Fellsway from 8-10am and from the Fellsway to Wyoming from 3-6pm? all other times should be whatever the residents want it to be. (I would propose 2 - way traffic at off hours) I would also propose that the speed limit be strictly enforced along this road. (speed traps at the times above some times.) There is technology and signage that could be purchased to make sure that there is a light or whatever that could direct at the appropriate times. What do you think? Thanks,
Chad H. June 08, 2012 at 01:27 AM
Wow this is great and I think this is going to inspire me to write a letter to the city now as well. I mean I live on a residential road and I am tired of cars flying up and down at all hours of the day and night. I think at this point we should just alternate and make every street one-way. Why as a tax paying resident should I expect folks to be on my road unless they live on it. My children would be much safer if we limited who can travel on them. I'm all for these changes.
Daniel DeMaina June 08, 2012 at 01:51 AM
Thanks everyone for your comments. There's a lengthy comment thread, with lots of opinions and ideas being shared, over on Dolan's letter to the editor: http://melrose.patch.com//articles/dolan-to-dcr-stop-one-way-ravine-road-trial
Matt June 11, 2012 at 12:04 AM
I'm with Chad. The traffic on Lebanon street where I live is really heavy. Can we close it too? Maybe massive speed bumps? People use it all day as a cut-through from Melrose to Malden and it just isn't safe for the kids. Sure I knew it was a busy street, and that made my house about $50k cheaper than it would have been on another street, but traffic just gets worse and worse. [end sarcasm] Are the Stoneham assessors going to revalue the houses and increase taxes on Ravine Rd. now that there is less traffic? Seems only appropriate...
Chad H. June 11, 2012 at 02:40 AM
Good call on the taxes. If nothing else hit them in the wallets. I figure we are losing not just time but financially as well by sitting idling for longer periods now. Probably not good for the environment either....maybe there is an idea on how to get this reversed if we can show it is having a negative impact on the environment???

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