[personal profile] skyyy posting in [community profile] davis_square
What are your thoughts on this sketch of what Davis would look like with Elm St turned into a pedestrian-only area?



Deliveries could drive through during off peak hours. Buses would get a huge boost with the bus lane and better symmetry and turnarounds.

I'd especially like feedback on bikability. I didn't manage to fit bike lanes in anywhere, and we'd lose the door zone lane on Highland, but that'd be made up for by having a smaller slower intersection. Perhaps bikes could also share the bus lane? Would a 2-way cycletrack through the pedestrian area be too disruptive?

I'm also discussing it on twitter: https://twitter.com/skyqrose/status/867314846957801472

Date: 2017-05-25 08:29 am (UTC)
kelkyag: eye-shaped patterns on birch trunk (birch eyes)
From: [personal profile] kelkyag
If you've got busses going east on Highland and turning left Grove to get to the T station, you're going to need a light at Highland and Grove. That's only going to make the traffic on Highland uglier, with three lights tightly spaced.

The Cutter & Highland intersection also changes a lot and needs a left turn cycle from Cutter to Highland if Highland stops becoming one-way at that point. Cutter (and/or Willow and/or Hancock) would need to become two-way or reverse directions to carry traffic that'd otherwise take Elm out of Davis down to Elm and Summer. Loss of traffic for businesses is potentially bad for not just the block of Elm that becomes pedestrian-only, but the next couple of blocks of Elm and Summer.

Moving busses from Elm to Highland eliminates the bus stop on Elm that's all but on the doorstep of the new grocery store (bfresh) there, which is probably unkind to their customers. Six bus routes go by there currently; not all of them would go past a stop on Elm past Grove.

Similarly, having the pubs (and restaurants serving alcohol) on Elm not being able to call taxis to their doorsteps an unpleasant adjustment at best. It's hard to be a responsible drinking establishment and see your tipsy patrons to their rides when you can't see their rides from the door.

Deliveries that need to park half a block away and move things by hand truck are a lot slower than deliveries that can park right outside the door.

Traffic in Davis is not all going to or from Davis. Ugly and slow as that intersection is, those are major roads carrying through traffic. Shoving that traffic onto Broadway or Mass Ave is not a feature. Powderhouse circle is already backed up at rush hour.

While in the abstract I like the idea of pedestrian streets, this needs a lot more detailed traffic engineering work than you've given it, in a wider scope than just the immediate vicinity of Davis Square, and input from local businesses, and possibly from the MBTA ...

Date: 2017-05-25 09:14 pm (UTC)
kelkyag: eye-shaped patterns on birch trunk (birch eyes)
From: [personal profile] kelkyag
All the busroutes using the busway would still be asymmetric. It'd be a smaller loop for the ones turning around to get to the busway, but it'd still have a left turn, and it'd be a left turn off of a busy two-way street instead of a left turn from a one-way to a one-way. The 88 route would jog less, but the 87 route would jog instead. You'd have busses turning both left and right from Highland and Grove -- that split alone makes me dubious of the practical value of a bus lane there. The busses going left from the bus lane can get across the traffic lane with the left turn cycle (or not -- do cars still get to use that bit of Grove to get to the parking lot? Should those busses be merging into the car lane?); the busses going right have left-turning busses keeping them from reliably turning right-on-red, and I'd like to know if their turn radius means they'll need to use some of the car lane to make that turn.

If Highland there is two-way, people coming out of the drugstore parking lot may also try to to turn left onto it, further complicating traffic. That could be discouraged with signs, but without use of Elm, how do those folks then get turned around to go east on Highland?

And a short walk to Highland or Elm/Grove is not really an issue when you're walking through a pedestrian friendly environment instead of crossing a busy street.
The grocery store is on the same side of the street as the bus stop on Elm. If you're an unladen, able-bodied pedestrian, a block or so is not much bother. If you have a load of groceries and/or are not so able-bodied, it might be an issue. (And you do have to cross the newly-complicated Elm/Grove intersection to get to one of those possible stops; a Highland might not be so bad.) One thing I'd very much like to hear from the businesses in the area is how much traffic they see from folks dropped off and picked up at their front doors.

Date: 2017-05-26 05:00 am (UTC)
kelkyag: eye-shaped patterns on birch trunk (birch eyes)
From: [personal profile] kelkyag
That last I don't think is an option, as the parking lot is narrow enough that there isn't room for two-way traffic in the lot parallel to Grove. Currently, that bit of Grove is one way going north, and if you're not going into the busway, the only way to exit is through the parking lot. (As you describe elsewhere with Day and Dover, it's essentially a stub of two-way street, with a wide median full of parking spaces.)

I hadn't considered pulling the westbound stop bar back. That could make the left turn out of the lot workable, with some warning to folks turning right from Grove.

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