Traffic, traffic everywhere

A long-planned MWRA water main project that caused severe traffic detours last year in Milton is about to be launched in Lower Mills.

The agency was having one final public meeting last night with merchants and residents to give near-final details of the project.

The construction begins in just over two weeks, on Mon., April 18, a state holiday and the first day of school vacation week.

And one thing is clear – when the work begins, it will necessitate a series of traffic detours and re-routings, and some Lower Mills merchants have expressed a concern over the potential loss of business. Also, neighbors in the area have voiced their concerns over some detours that would re-route heavy traffic through residential side streets.

Once begun, the project will include parts of River Street, Adams Street, and Washington Street, resulting in disruptions of traffic flow through the village. As designed by the MWRA, the work will be accomplished in stages, resulting in short-term closures and detours at various locations, depending upon the parts of streets then under construction.

The MWRA expects the project to continue well into the fall, with an estimated completion date around Thanksgiving.

Brace yourself; it’s likely to be a big traffic headache.

Our traffic lights redux

Traffic management remains a source of irritation to motorists in Dorchester. Somehow, with the advent of daylight saving time this month, the timing of traffic lights at several locations has seemed totally out of sync with the flow of traffic.

One of the chief irritants are the Adams Village lights at the intersection of Gallivan Blvd, Adams Street, and Granite Avenue, where volume is always heavy. Last year, engineers from the state D.O.T. (Department of Transportation) came in and changed the flow, allowing for delayed green lights for vehicles turning left or right out of Granite and Adams.

For the most part, those changes have seemed to work well – except during peak times, when some cars trying to turn left off Granite into the McDonald’s can be blocked. The resulting ripple effect routinely causes back-ups on Gallivan and even Adams Street back to Cedar Grove Cemetery and beyond.

Last week, a vehicle attempting just such a turn went out of control, ending up over the sidewalk and in the bushes of the now-closed video store across the street. A police officer at the scene said the solution here is a simple one: Prohibit left turns into McDonald’s during the rush hours.

But what is truly inexplicable is the left-turn arrow off Gallivan onto Adams Street northbound. Before last year’s change, there was a well-timed six-to-eight second delay on the green arrow; but now, that delay has been dramatically shortened, almost down to a single second , so there’s almost no time to make the turn before the west-bound green light flashes on.

The current situation has created a danger and a real hazard, for pedestrians and motorists alike. The state traffic engineers caused this problem; they should come back out and fix it. And soon, before anyone gets hurt.