Auburndale Traffic Signalization Project – Update

Many folks have expressed interest/concern about the Auburndale Traffic Signalization Project.  The original presentation and plan can be found here.  The Department of Public Works has a status update as of December 6th, 2016 which can be found here. But here is the most recent correspondence I have received on this project on January 6th from Traffic Engineer, Steve Simoglou:

“Please see herein a couple of brief updates with regards to Auburndale Square; the signal at Freeman/Lexington will be coming off of the flash sequence today (January 6th). The signal will be temporarily set to a pre-timed phase, until final coordination is in place. We are aggressively working with the contractor to have final timing and coordination wrapped up in the coming week; I will provide specific dates for completion as they become available. Please note we have also been working with the engineering consultant to add a LPI (Leading Pedestrian Interval) to the crossings at Commonwealth/Lexington. The LPI will allow a pedestrian to get a 5 second ‘head start’ on the crossing, before concurrent traffic receives the green.

Temporary message boards have been put in place on all approaches to Comm/Lexington to notify motorists of a new traffic pattern, and to yield to pedestrians. Permanent signage throughout the square will also be in-place in the coming weeks. The square will continue to be closely monitored by the city and engineering consultant, and necessary adjustments will be made. “

The City is moving towards concurrent signalization – where the pedestrian walk signal is concurrent with auto-traffic signals.  This is a significant change for some as many signals in Newton used to be exclusive or an all-out stop.  At the West Newton Square Enhancements Project presentation last week, several Councilors expressed concern over the move towards concurrent signalization.  The Transportation Director, Nicole Freedman, has committed to providing supporting information on how concurrent signalization is safer for pedestrians.  As soon as that becomes available, I will post.

Please also note that Walk Boston is being used as a model approach for Newton. Information on Walk Boston can be found here.