Will One-Way Ravine Road Trial Continue?

A DCR spokeswoman said that the six-month trial will continue as planned unless both Melrose and Stoneham say they would like the experiment to cease.

You Ask, Patch Answers is a weekly column for Melrosians who have questions about something they've spotted around the city or wondered about. Submit your question to danield@patch.com.

Regarding the , Chad asked, "Any idea if the DCR (Department of Conservation and Recreation), Stoneham or Melrose is doing anything regarding this issue or is the six-month trial just moving along as planned?"

DCR spokeswoman S.J. Port said in an email that "DCR will continue the trial period unless we hear from both communities that they would like the trial to cease."

That means, for now, the trial will continue.

Mayor Rob Dolan wrote a , citing "havoc" created at the Pond Street intersection and saying that the experiment hasn't alleviated issues at the Ravine Road and Fellsway East intersection.

However, last Tuesday the Stoneham Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to continue with the trial. Stoneham Town Administrator David Ragucci, who also received Dolan's letter, told the Stoneham selectmen on Tuesday that DCR Commissioner Edward Lambert asked the town what they'd like to see happen.

"I had suggested we wait until the six-month trial period (is over) before we take any action," Ragucci said. "He did say he would wait for Stoneham's decision before he would make a decision on taking the one-way down so I told the commissioner I would bring it up to the board this evening to see if you wish to continue with the six-month trial period, or if you'd like them to take the one-way down. Whatever you decide the commissioner will stand by."

According to Stoneham Selectman John DePinto, he had spoken with some Melrose residents about finding other commuting options while the Ravine Road trial period is in effect.

"I was trying to give them alternate routes, and I'm surprised they're not trying alternate routes ... because there are other ways to get to East Border Road down by (Flynn) Rink in Medford," DePinto said. "I know it's hard. I go by there at night on my way home and I see how it's backed up ... but I think it has to run its course before we can make a decision."

Port told Melrose Patch that the DCR is not considering any alternative solutions to the traffic issues in the area at this time.

"We will evaluate near the end of the trial period," she said.

Melrose residents in the comments on Melrose Patch, either in conjunction with the one-way Ravine Road or as a replacement solution.

Stoneham Selectman Bob Sweeney said he wants to meet with Dolan to get any suggestions Melrose has to try and resolve the issue, Ragucci said last Tuesday. Sweeney was not present for Tuesday's meeting.

DePinto suggested saving all letters submitted by residents for review at the conclusion of the one-way trial period.

In a , 75 percent of readers voted that they do not support the trial period on Ravine Road. Similarly, in a , 85 percent voted against the Ravine Road one-way experiment.

Port said that residents are welcome to provide feedback either to their respective communities or to DCR by emailing massparks@state.ma.us.

Previous coverage of the one-way Ravine Road trial on Melrose Patch:

If you've got a question about something in Melrose, send it to danield@patch.com. We'll choose one question each week and get to work on digging up an answer.

Dave Gray June 18, 2012 at 04:55 PM
Gee, what a surprise.
Daniel DeMaina (Editor) June 18, 2012 at 04:57 PM
"I'm shocked, shocked to find that gambling is going on in here!"
Chad H. June 18, 2012 at 06:30 PM
Not sure where to begin on this. Find it funny how a selectman is encouraging folks to find alternative routes to work around the traffic. I wonder how the residents around the rink in Medford feel about him suggesting folks increase the traffic in that area? I also love how 75% of Stoneham and 85% of Melrose residents DO NOT support this trial but yet it still continues. Good to see the Selectmen of Stoneham listening to their constituents. It really is frustrating that Mayor Dolan is against it and all that is needed now is for Stoneham to agree and the trial could be ended. Instead it seems that a point is trying to be proven for whatever reason and us the commuting residents are the ones suffering. I for one am still waiting for the data to support why this trial was ever started, especially at a time when work is being done at the medical facility which is going to impact traffic with the large equipment.
Chad H. June 18, 2012 at 06:47 PM
Oh yes and thanks Daniel and Mark for following up on this and continuing to keep the discussion going. Although I admit at this point I feel like I am banging my head against the wall (more like a steering wheel while waiting in this traffic) which is due to frustration that something that seems to be so clearly failing "...has to run its course before we can make a decision".
ed shreenan June 19, 2012 at 11:07 AM
This was & is Stoneham sticking it to Melrose again. All they need is for Dave Ragucci to agree to end it and he won't. Mayor Dolan should immediately make all side streets do not enters from Stoneham into Melrose, that way the Lynn Fells Pkwy wouldn't be so congested. I'm sure they can find alternate routes of travel.
Daniel DeMaina (Editor) June 19, 2012 at 03:40 PM
You're welcome Chad. We'll of course provide any updates or new developments as they arise, although it does seem as if we're at an impasse for the moment, unless the Stoneham Board of Selectmen decide they've seen enough to change their minds.
Laura June 22, 2012 at 01:27 PM
I just have one word to describe why the Selectmen of Stoneham is not reversing an incredible stupid idea....ego...To suggest making other resident streets as alternate routes is ludicrous...that is not solving any problem it...it is creating all new problems...I hope he has enough courage to say this isn't working and reverse it back.
Jeff July 09, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Well, if anyone gets killed at that intersection (which was statistically the most dangerous intersection to begin with) during the 6 month trial period, we'll know exactly who to blame - each and every one of the Stoneham Board of Selectman who voted to keep it going despite all the protests. It's a shame they can't just grow up. I'd also love to know how much they're paying the state troopers to sit at the intersection at Friendly's every day to do nothing. This morning everyone on their way to 93 north had to drive by some tough-guy state trooper who was standing in the crosswalk staring everyone down as they passed him. We're just people trying to get to work for god's sake - this isn't a freaking check-point in Afghanistan!
Steve Meuse July 16, 2012 at 04:58 PM
I drove down it yesterday for the first time and IMO for a trial what they did was overkill. Was it really necessary to restripe the entire street? That's going to look great when the trial ends... They blocked off one end to prevent vehicles from going in the other direction, and that's really all they had to do.
Kenny July 17, 2012 at 05:03 PM
Didn't do well on the State Police test Jeff? Or did you get a ticket`? I am happy to have a Trooper at that intersection, maybe it will stop all the inconsiderate people from running the light.
Kenny July 17, 2012 at 05:05 PM
Not by law Steve. I agree it looks crazy but they are required to do that.
Steve Meuse July 17, 2012 at 05:43 PM
I don't think that's a requirement. It would essentially operate as a "half closure" which is a common traffic calming treatment on the west coast. It can be seen in the following images: http://www.ite.org/images/calming/tccls2.gif http://www.palgrave-journals.com/udi/journal/v13/n2/images/udi200820f11.jpg "Half closures are barriers that block travel in one direction for a short distance on otherwise two-way streets; they are sometimes called partial closures, entrance barriers, or one-way closures (when two half-closures are placed across from one another at an intersection, the result is a semi-diverter)" Since there are no driveways, just blocking off the Woodland Rd entrance like a half-closure would stop the traffic in that direction thus making it a defacto one way. The point of the trial isn't to make the road a one way (that can happen if it is successful), it is to prevent traffic from traveling from Woodland Road to Fellsway East and to see what happens to traffic in the area because of it.
Kenny July 17, 2012 at 06:28 PM
If you are going to change any traffic pattern you must erase and install all proper markings on the roadway and signage. It is a DCR road which is now a Mass DOT road so strict rules are to be followed. You can look whatever you want up on your computer but they have to do it that way. Trust me.
Steve Meuse July 17, 2012 at 06:39 PM
They aren't actually changing the traffic pattern if it remains as a two-way. Preventing vehicles from entering at one end is all they needed to do. Maintaining the roadway as two-way would still yield the same results since if no cars entered at Woodland Rd, then no cars would exit at Fellsway East. No through traffic in that direction is all that they needed to assure for this trial. Even if a car going towards Woodland Rd turned around in one of the pulloffs and went back towards the Fellsway, it wouldn't impact the results of the trial.
Kenny July 17, 2012 at 06:50 PM
Can cars legally go both ways? No they can't, that is changing the pattern. That is why it is marked the way it is. I understand what you are trying to say but for now vehicles can only go one way. That is how they are required to do it.
Steve Meuse July 17, 2012 at 06:57 PM
I'm saying if they just blocked off Woodland Rd and left the rest two-way then they wouldn't need to restripe the whole roadway. The only thing that makes it a one-way is the striping. Without the one-way striping it would operate exactly like a half-closure.
Kenny July 17, 2012 at 07:00 PM
Steve they can't. Call Mass DOT and ask them ,they will tell you the same thing. In addition they have to change GPS codes and mapping. I know it sounds nuts but it's how they are required to do it no matter what people think. I give up after this.
Steve Meuse July 17, 2012 at 07:11 PM
I'm not saying that they did it wrong. I'm sure that they did whatever procedure said was right. My point is that they obviously didn't think outside the box and look at how other jurisdictions deal with similar issues. Overall this is a traffic calming issue; there is too much volume coming from Woodland Rd. A common fix for this type of problem is the half-closure, which prevents through traffic from going in one direction while preserving two-way convenience for those who live on the street. With no abutters, a half-closure doesn't make sense as a permanent solution, but my point is that if they had set it up that way for the trial there would have been lower construction costs for the trial and the same results.
Kenny July 17, 2012 at 07:17 PM
Steve if this was a Melrose or Stoneham and not a state road I bet that would have been done.I don't think anyone lives on that end of the street either.


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