Short Term Design – Blue Hills Parkway and Unquity Road
Blue Hills Parkway – Miton, MA
Our design project focuses on Blue Hills Parkway and Unquity Road in Milton, MA, starting at the intersection of Blue Hills Parkway and Brook Road and continuing through the merging of Unquity and Hillside Street up to Houghton’s Pond at approximately 988 Hillside Street. Blue Hills Parkway and Unquity Road are roadways for local traffic and together they provide direct access to Tucker Elementary School, Parkway United Methodist Church, Milton High School, and numerous recreational facilities such as the New England Base Camp and Houghton’s Pond. We propose a short-term project with the goal of keeping vehicle speeds low on this stretch of road while keeping traffic flowing through the area at a reasonable rate. Additionally, we aim to greatly enhance the bicycle facilities here, which only exist in the form of unprotected bicycle lanes in short spurts. We plan to do this without any additional paving or removal of any current barriers such as trees, lamp posts, and curbs.
Blue Hills Parkway (North of Blue Hill Terrace St)
Blue Hills Parkway (South of Blue Hill Terrace St)
The segment from Unquity Road through 988 Hillside is a 1+1 lanes with a centerline and no median. It has small shoulders measuring just a couple feet each. In the picture below, it can be seen that the lanes are unnecessarily wide for travel on a local street where speeds should be low. We plan to use some of this travel lane space to facilitate safe cycling through the area, while the reduction of vehicle space will discourage speeding drivers.
The portion of roadway in question should only be serving residents and traffic to local destinations. It is framed on the west by route 138 and on the east by route 28, which is easily accessible via Brook Road. These state highways can support high traffic volumes and provide convenient access to Interstate 93 and route 24. Since Hillside road merges with route 138 shortly after Houghton’s pond and shortly before route 138 intersects with I-93, there is no need for through traffic from the north to use Blue Hills Parkway/Unquity Road/Hillside Road. Coming north from Unquity Road, the parkway is fed by a single travel lane at a signalized intersection so there is no need for the it to expand to two lanes further north. Therefore, we will convert the entire stretch from Brook Road to Houghton’s Pond to one lane in each direction. Our design will demonstrate that the intended use is for traffic to local destinations through a road diet and the implementation of low-cost speed controlling devices.
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Design summary: In a few sentences, what changes do you propose?
The proposed design calls for converting the northbound side of Blue Hills Parkway into a two-way roadway with one lane in each direction. This will allow the southbound direction to be converted into a service road. The service road has an alternating one-way car traffic scheme with permeable barriers that will allow bikes and pedestrian to pass through in both directions. The northernmost part between Brook Rd and Oak St will be left the way it is now to facilitate access to Tucker Elementary and the church. For Unquity Road, we propose narrowing each travel lane and widening the shoulders for use as a bicycle lane. We will add bollards every so often???? to give bicyclists an added sense of separation from vehicles and to motivate drivers to stay far away from the bicycle lane.
Section 3 – Unquity Road
We propose 10 foot travel lanes with 5 foot bicycle lanes for the majority of this stretch of roadway. Some may think the 10-foot lanes to be too small, but it is certainly enough to facilitate safe travel through a 30 mph zone. Between the intersection of Unquity and Harland and the intersection of Unquity and Hillside, the road expands to 33 feet. In this section we plan to add an extra 1.5-foot buffer on the inside of the bicycle lane to add an extra sense of security for cyclists. Additionally, the buffer will (where are the bollards???) motivate drivers to give sufficient separation from the bike lane and discourage them from speeding.