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Proposals to Improve Davis Square Include Adding Pedestrian Plazas

Other proposals presented at a Tuesday meeting include adjusting traffic signal timing.

Proposals for improvements to Davis Square include adding pedestrian plazas where some streets currently exist, adjusting traffic signal patterns at most intersections and re-routing the official bike path around the square.

The proposals were made at a community meeting Tuesday night—part of a seeking public opinions about how to improve the square.

Two of the proposals that would most alter the current shape of Davis Square would convert traffic lanes into pedestrian plazas.

The first of these proposals would do away with the "slip lane" traffic lane near that allows drivers coming down Highland Avenue to turn left onto Elm Street. With this proposal, the space taken over from that lane would be turned into a pedestrian area. Traffic would still be able to tune left from Highland to Elm, but there would be no dedicated lane.

The other such proposal would do away with the short Summer Street connector that runs between Elm Street and Cutter Avenue. This, too, would become a pedestrian area under one proposal.

Neither of these proposals are set in stone, and the purpose of Tuesday's meeting was to solicit opinions from people about the ideas.

Other proposals include:

  • Routing the onto Morrison Avenue, Winslow Avenue, Park Avenue, Winter Street and Buena Vista Road so cyclists don't go through the heart of the square
  • Adjusting the traffic light timing at intersections to improve pedestrian and car traffic flow, particularly outside the MBTA stop on College Avenue
  • Adding crosswalks to various locations
  • Adding a traffic table to the intersection of Highland Avenue and Grove Street
  • Removing the cobble stone island at Highland Avenue and Cutter Avenue

The next meeting will be held Aug. 7, when the project team plans to discuss what materials to use in Davis Square, according to Dennen Crosby of Crosby/Schlessinger/Smallridge, LLC, one of the planning team members.

The city is asking people to take a to share their thoughts about the square and how it can be improved.

In addition to Crosby/Schlessinger/Smallridge, LLC, Howard/Stein-Hudson Associates, Inc. and HDR Engineering, inc. are working on the project.

jennifer D. July 18, 2012 at 11:18 AM
No! Davis Sq. is perfect just the way it is. There is no reason to change a thing.
RG July 18, 2012 at 11:49 AM
"Perfect" is always relative.
Jonah Petri July 18, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Will the presentation be available online? Or are the 95% of us who can't be at Tufts for a 6 PM meeting just out of luck for this process?
Kate July 18, 2012 at 01:02 PM
I think this is a great plan
cp kostos July 18, 2012 at 01:35 PM
There are too many bars in Davis!! Davis has become a drinking destination from 4 PM to closing. The police are making multiple calls to bars at taxpayers expense. Also, there are too many events planned in such a small square thereby crippling the flow of bus and non event vehicular flow of traffic. Not everyone wants to celebrate every weekend in Davis Sq. Some people have errands to do and things that a week-day worker has to do on weekends. Who pays for all this police overtime for these events......the bar owners who make all the profits?
Somerville Home Owner July 18, 2012 at 06:51 PM
cp kostos: police overtime and other city services are paid by taxes. Taxes are paid by residents AND businesses. i.e., We all benefit from bar owners making a profit because without them we have a smaller tax base.
Chris Orchard (Editor) July 18, 2012 at 08:12 PM
Hi Jonah: The city has not put the presentation online yet. I understand it will be put online sometime soon so people can look at some of the proposals.
Jonathan Buck July 18, 2012 at 08:41 PM
I suggest we go to extremes and turn Davis Sq into a "Church St in Burlington, VT" car free environment entirely. I t would boost space for businesses and pedestrians and you could even use some of the extra space freed up around the sq as parking. I don't know anyone that actually knows how to navigate Somerville from being a resident that ever drives through Davis anyway. I avoid it constantly even though it is the shortest way for me to get to work in the morning because of the congestion and constant threat of pedestrians stepping out in front of me. Let's keep it from being a pass through and make it into the true world class destination it has the potential to be. PS Keep the chain stores from tearing out its heart
Matt July 19, 2012 at 03:12 PM
I really think this is fixing what isn't broken.

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