Plan to remove Dot Ave. turn stirs Fields Corner fuss

A brouhaha over a right-hand turn in Fields Corner may cause some bumps in the Dot Ave Project, which has so far had a smooth ride.

Jane Matheson, a Linden Street resident and executive director of the Fields Corner Community Development Corporation (CDC), is irate over the proposed elimination of a nearly 140 degree right turn from Dorchester Avenue southbound onto Adams Street northbound. The change, she said, would force drivers to turn right on Linden Street instead.

"Residents were assured there would be no impact on Linden Street," said Matheson. "It's supposed to be cutting back on traffic, but from roughly 2:30 on, Adams Street is backed up for 3 blocks. You're just going to create a big traffic jam."

But the assistant project manager for the project, Jeremy Rosenberger of the Boston Redevelopment Authority, said the BRA has observed that Linden Street is already being used as a short cut, and the turn from southbound Dot to Adams is used only rarely.

"The overall goal is to improve the congestion and improve the streetscape. To do that, we need some new movements on Dot Ave.," said Rosenberger. "If you're traveling southbound, there would be an individual lane for left hand turns and one for going straight through. To reduce congestion is to take away turns that aren't utilized according to our studies. Also, we felt that the plaza was an under utilized asset for pedestrians at Hero Square."

In the plan, which is still in draft form and not finalized as of yet, today's right hand turn lane would become a small grove of street trees, and notes on the plan indicate the area could also include provisions for an outdoor café. Matheson agrees with the idea, but suggests cutting off the corner in the area to make an even sharper right turn.

Sharp turns would slow down Dot Avenue traffic, Rosenberger argues. His point is echoed in the draft plan.

"This issue has been thoroughly vetted with our task force," said Rosenberger. "This wasn't just the city making decisions in a room somewhere. But, if there's any further issue we'd be happy to look at it. "

Ed Crowley represents the Fields Corner area on the project's task force. Crowley was out of town this week and did not immediately return phone calls for this article.

In the grander scheme for Dot Ave., signal timing would be coordinated from end to end, said Rosenberger. This, combined with separating the turning lanes and eliminating sharp movements, could bring the Dot and Adams intersection to a C congestion rating, up from the F the crossing is rated at now. Ratings range from A thru F and are based on the amount of time it takes to get through an intersection at peak traffic hours.

Bob Susi from Susi Auto Body on nearby Freeport Street believes Linden will not be affected by the change. Instead, he envisions problems South of the intersection, after drivers see they can't turn. He suggests making Leedsville Street, which is closer to the intersection but still North of it, two-way.

The completed 25 percent draft will be presented for comment at a community meeting this month, said Rosenberger. A date has yet to be set. The issue was listed as the key agenda item at last night's meeting of the Freeport Adams Neighborhood Association, which convenes at the Fields Corner CDC offices. City council President Maureen Feeney was expected to attend.