For about three weeks now, improvements have been underway at the Pleasant and Washington Streets intersection near Marty's Furniture to make the area safer for drivers and pedestrians, according to City Planner Denise Gaffey.
"The city has long considered the intersection as needing improvement," Gaffey said. "The traffic engineers involved in the review of the Stone Place Development noted the awkward configuration of the intersection which creates driver confusion and cited the rate of vehicular crashes at the intersection as a contributing factor in recommending modifications."
The project, which was approved by the Planning Board, Traffic Commission and the city engineer and given site plan approval in June 2009, is expected to be complete by Lexington-based developer Wood Partners in mid-October, according to Gaffey. The city planner was uncertain of the estimated project cost, as Stone Place's developer is handling the work and not the DPW.
"DPW reviewed the construction documents and met with the contractors prior to the start of construction," Gaffey said. "DPW is monitoring the construction to ensure that it complies with the approved plans and conforms to city standards."
"When the work is complete, drivers traveling north from Oak Grove will make the left turn onto Washington Street on the north side of the triangular traffic island, rather than the south side as is currently the case," reads a city press statement. "In addition, there will be stop signs at the Stone Place approaches to Washington and Pleasant Streets."
Several improvements will be made to the intersection, as drivers will be able to make left turns at a 90-degree angle at Stone Place, which will be safer than the current Y-shaped section of the intersection; traffic will flow smoother on the southbound side of Washington Street and a portion of the road will be transformed into green space, according to the statement.
About 425 linear feet of new concrete sidewalk on the north side of Stone Place between Pleasant and Washington Streets, which will connect the existing sidewalk located on upper Washington Street, will be established, according to Gaffey.
"This sidewalk is currently unpaved and avoided by pedestrians. The new sidewalk will lead pedestrians from upper Washington Street to a new crosswalk on Pleasant Street just north of the intersection of Pleasant Street and Stone Place," reads the statement. "Currently, there are no crosswalks along the entire length of Pleasant Street and no opportunity for commuters who live on the west side of Pleasant Street to safely cross to the east side to access the MBTA station."
Traffic-calming measures will also be made at the Brazil Street and Washington Street intersection, including a concrete paver median that will be installed in the pavement on Pleasant Street just north of the Pleasant Street and Stone PLace intersection
"This will have the effect of visually narrowing the approach to the Stone Place intersection and slowing the traffic," reads the statement. "In addition, curb extensions will be installed to narrow the pedestrian crosswalks of Brazil Street and Washington Street, with an additional crosswalk to the north of Brazil Street to improve pedestrian safety and slow vehicular traffic."