Submited by Jennie
Lafayette Square, the intersection of Main Street, Columbia Street, and Mass Ave, has been transformed into a redesigned intersection and pedestrian plaza due to its complicated driveway. Lafayette Square is located along Massachusetts Ave, Sidney Street and Main Street. Massachusetts Ave is an article of two-way, four-lane and two way cycling roadway. It crosses with Sidney Street and Main Street which is implemented road closure now. Main Street and Sidney Street is a local street which is a two-way. Columbia Street is a two-way two lanes road.
Before the construction, road closure, had started, it exists four intersections around Lafayette Square. Vehicles from Main Street to the intersection of Main Street and Mass Ave need to pass two closed intersections, Main Street and Columbia Street, and Main Street and Sidney Street.
- Many movement conflicts located in so short distance are easy to increase incidents.
- People who drive on Main Street run through Lafayette Square to Mass Ave are easy to ignore the cross road and forget to slow down their speed.
- People need to wait two traffic lights. It could be easy to result in drivers spend more time to wait and loss their patient.
- The closed signalized intersections are easy to result redundant lost time and worsen service level.
Therefore, the City of Cambridge planed to redesign the roadway and close Main Street form the intersection of Main Street and Columbia Street to the intersection of Main Street and Mass Ave. The construction started in early 2005, and was completed in summer 2008. The construction is to implement road closure from intersection of Main Street, Columbia Street, to the intersection of Main Street and Mass Ave, and reconstruct the roadway and new sidewalks. The project used bollards and gateway pier to close the road.
From Main Street to Mass Avenue or from Columbia Street to Mass Avenue, drivers have to make a detour by Sidney Street. The construction also supplies pedestrians and bicyclists a safety space to access. Main feature of the construction is to provide the roadway service and improve safety of the corridor for pedestrians, bicyclists, and vehicles. They also set some chairs and tables to supply people a leisure place.
The road closure of Lafayette Square has the following features:
- Make the intersection easy for all modes to use.
- Improve accessibility and safety for cyclists and pedestrians.
- Create a new community plaza.
- Minimize impacts on parking and loading.
The construction also brings some problem about traffic signal and roadway that would have to be continued to take care. The old traffic lights and land marking do not remove from Mass Ave that will confuse drivers’ follow. The marking on the roadway from Columbia Street to Main Street doesn’t use the standard frame. It is a low visibility marking for user to follow.
In summary, this project achieves its goal to improve and provide a safer environment for vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians by road closure. The construction is not only focus on traffic safety but create a new community plaza. Although it will make people have to make a detour from Main Street and Columbia Street to Mass Ave it reduce traffic confliction in this area that is the best objective for a traffic engineering designer.