The residents of Mudville are taking action after the downtown traffic lights caused a significant increase in traffic through the neighborhood when the lights were activated on July 25, 2018.
For as long as there have been cars in Holliston, there has been neighborhood traffic and cut-throughs off of the main road. But with the implementation of new traffic lights downtown, some residents are seeing an influx in traffic coming in eastbound off of Washington. Others say the lights are doing their job and that neighborhood traffic influx was not the intent.
“Their main objective was safety, particularly for pedestrians,” said Robert Smith in a phone interview. He is the Senior Project Manager at McMahon Transportation Engineers and Planners, the company that installed the lights.
Smith finds the lights overall effective, saying in the interview that “there are unintended indirect consequences that you have to try to mitigate” but that “it’s a balance.”
He added that there will always be cons when a new traffic device is put into place and that it will take time but people will adjust.
“The traffic lights were not put in to improve the traffic flow through Holliston. What it was done to do was to slow it down and manage it,” said Town Selectman John Cronin in a phone interview.
Cronin, who became Town Selectman in May 2018 “on the back end of the project” said, “It was a volume issue” when referring to the traffic being redirected and that despite the diversion of traffic into Mudville, “the tradeoff was safety.”
As for solutions in Mudville, Cronin and the other selectmen have decided upon ordering several new stop signs and no turn signs. The no turn signs will be effective from six a.m. to nine a.m. and the cost will be absorbed within the public works project.
“The problem is greater than eastbound six to nine a.m.,” said Mudville resident Tina Hein, who is taking charge in her neighborhood’s fight against the traffic influx.
She said that among the selectmen “there was an intention all along to do something to help,” but that she doesn’t think “that there is a well-defined process” to the matter.
Hein does think that the traffic lights improve pedestrian safety, but she also thinks that because the timing of the lights is off, people grow more impatient and can make rash decisions prompting accidents. Hein believes that the lights were not the cause of the problem but that the problem was there all along. She has seen the traffic for as long as 20 years, and she doesn’t see a day where it truly goes away.
The lights were put in place for pedestrian safety, and though they had been vocal before, a neighborhood voiced frustration with traffic increase in their area.
Hein was grateful for the selectmen’s help and optimistic about the future, saying, “I do think the time will come when we as residents in this neighborhood will feel as though we can be outside without safety concerns.”
picture credit: Metrowest Daily News