FRAMINGHAM – The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) held a public forum Thursday night to present plans for a proposed traffic light that will be installed at Edgell Road and Central Street
.The project is currently at 25 percent completion, and scheduled for construction in summer of 2022.
According to a “Traffic and Safety Improvements” packet given out at the meeting, the “purpose of the proposed project is to improve vehicular operations and safety by addressing congestion issues on Central Street and addressing existing sight distance deficiencies.”
According to MassDOT staff, there are several factors that may warrant the introduction of a traffic light.
Factors for this specific intersection included crash data and traffic volume.
The proposed improvements will (according to MassDOT):
- Provide a left-turn-only lane for southbound Edgell Road to turn onto Central Street eastbound;
- Provide a right-turn-only lane for northbound Edgell Road to turn onto Central Street Eastbound
- Remove the three existing islands that currently do no accommodate pedestrian safety, and replace them with one island which will be accessible for pedestrians;
- Provide a five-foot bicycle lane for all approaches;
- Modify the radius of the turns eastbound to Central Street and westbound from Central Street to slow traffic and promote safety of all users, and
- Shift the Edgell Road geometry to the east to improve sight distance in the southbound direction along the curved geometry
- Optimize traffic signal timings for anticipated traffic volumes
- Provide pedestrian signal heads with countdown timers and APS pedestrian push buttons
- Provide Traffic Signal Detection for vehicles and bicycles
Though there was a consensus in the room that something needs to be done about this intersection, there were questions from citizens over whether a traffic light is the most appropriate solution.
Traffic data collected from the intersection as part of the study required for the project show that currently, individuals taking the right-hand turn are going an average of 37 mph.
The speed limit is only 30 mph.
Framingham resident and project abutter Andrew Mackin believes the project may need traffic calming measures and address further safety concerns.
“There is a larger problem that needs to be addressed,” Mackin said. He believes the traffic light is merely putting a bandaid on the issue as a whole.
Currently, the wait time for a left-hand turn at the intersection is three to five minutes during peak hours, which is an “F”.
With the addition of a light, MassDOT hopes to lower the wait time to 45 seconds, which would be given a “D”.
Project officials admitted at the meeting that though this project may reduce traffic on Central Street, it may increase traffic on Edgell Road.
“Sometimes someone’s big ideas create another problem,” resident Kathie McCarthy said.
Many residents urged MassDOT to consider a more holistic approach to Framingham’s traffic problem. A couple of dozen residents attended the meeting at Historic Village Hall.
The project will cost an estimated $2.2 million, 80 percent of which will be federally funded and 20 percent of which will be funded by MassDOT.
Once construction begins, it will take approximately 18 months to finish.
The timeline for the project following tonight’s meeting is:
Summer 2020: 75 percent Design Submittal
Spring 2021: 100 percent Design Submittal
Winter 2022: Project Advertised for Construction
Summer 2022: Construction Starts