Anyone who lives in Orient Heights knows that the area near the Marty Pino Community Center where Ashley Street dumps out onto Boardman can be a dangerous area for pedestrians and motorists.
With a community center and neighboring Noyes Park hosting hundreds of children each week once the weather gets warm the city has heard enough complaints about the intersection to begin trying something different.
At the Orient Heights Neighborhood Council meeting earlier this month Jacob Wessel from the city’s Transportation Department (BTD) briefed residents on a new traffic calming measure being tried at the intersection.
“For those of you that have been by the Ashley and Boardman Streets intersection you may have noticed a lot of our lovely orange cones that have been deployed to the intersection and thought to yourself, “What’s going on?”, said Wessel. “So I am here to explain our trial which we’ve done sort of on purpose to demonstrate to folks in real time what our plans are for the future of that intersection. I understand that there was a proposal for this a couple of years ago as part of mitigation with a project elsewhere in the neighborhood.”
Wessel said as part of that mitigation BTD deployed the traffic cones to demonstrate the city’s plan to transform the triangular intersection into a more user friendly area for motorists and pedestrians.
“There have been complaints of speeding coming off of Ashley Street and also the fact that cars try a lot of different ways to turn left from Ashley onto Boardman or merge with traffic going on Boardman towards McClellan Highway,” Wessel explained. “So what the cones are doing is creating two things. One is a narrowing of the roadway at the end of Ashley as you merge onto Boardman in order to make sure that cars aren’t speeding. It’s quite simple when the lanes are narrower it creates a bit of discomfort for a driver that might feel like they may hit something if they don’t slow down.”
The second thing the cones are creating according to Wessel is creating a three-point intersection for vehicles turning left onto Boardman.
“The gap between the two triangles created by the cones is now a three-point intersection so that folks can then turn left more safely onto Boardman Street,” said Wessel.
After studying the intersection BTD realized the stop sign that is currently by the crosswalk on Ashley Street doesn’t get followed very often so the stop sign will also be moved much further down Ashley Street so motorists have plenty of time to break before the crosswalk.
“Our goal is to eventually replace the temporary cones and install flex posts,” said Wessel. “That will delineate this area from the asphalt roadway space with the hope that it’s really known as a place where cars shouldn’t be driving. Over time, as we study the intersection and how folks respond to it, we can think about whether there should be more permanent enhancements.”