Subject: Latest report on Ongoing Downtown Salem Traffic Study (Thanks, Jim Kearney) and upcoming CTPS meeting in Lynn on January 19th at 10:30 a.m.

The latest report follows, below.

Additionally, there is a meeting of the CTPS on Wednesday, January 19th, at 10:30 a.m. at Lynn City Hall to continue discussions on transportation and traffic issues, including those in downtown and South Salem and in connection with the Blue Line and bus service.  This is a public meeting.

Central Transportation Planning Staff.

Wednesday, January 19th, 10:30 AM at the Lynn City Hall, Room 302

Agenda: Discussion of the details of the CTPS study of issues in Lynn, Swampscott, and southern Salem (to Holly St.).

The scope of the work is to include:

1.  Seeking ways to improve traffic and pedestrian circulation in downtown Salem.

2.  Blue Line service review

3.  North Shore Bus Improvement

4.  To identify the inadaquacies of the transit system





TO: Study Advisory Committee

January 12, 2005

Transportation Improvement Study for Routes 1A, 114, 107 and other Major Roadways in Downtown Salem

FROM: Chen-Yuan Wang, Project Manager

RE: Summary of Comments from December 1, 2004 Meeting, CTPS Action Items, and Proposed Schedule for Next Meetings


At the December 1, 2004 meeting with the Study Advisory Committee (SAC), CTPS staff presented analyses of existing conditions and discussed with Committee members transportation issues that this study should further address. This memorandum aims to summarize these comments for the SAC's review and for CTPS staff to respond by indicating how the issues/concerns will be addressed (in bold letters). Comments are summarized by the following topic categories:

Pedestrian Issues

Traffic Operations at Riley Plaza

Traffic Signal Warrant at Derby St. @ Congress St./Hawthorne Blvd.

Parking Issues

Directional Signs

General Comments

Please note that this memo is not meant to replace the earlier CTPS memo (Summary of Transportation Issues and Concerns, June 8, 2004) about downtown problems but rather to help focus on the areas that the Committee is most concerned about.

Pedestrian Issues

Committee members expressed concerns about the spacing of crosswalks on Washington Street between Riley Plaza and Bridge Street. There needs to be a "balance" between crosswalk locations and the maximum number of stops by traffic.

To address this concern, CTPS will examine the crosswalk spacing on Washington Street and make appropriate recommendations.

Concerns were expressed about pedestrian access to the MBTA commuter rail station and pedestrian circulation around the area.

CTPS will examine pedestrian access to the station and pedestrian circulation around the station.

Pedestrian bridges were discussed as a solution for difficult crossing points and why they may not be a good idea:

They tend to be under-utilized.

They are required to comply with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) rules and are expensive to build and maintain.

More importantly, pedestrians who choose to cross at-grade instead of using the pedestrian bridge would be crossing unprotected.

It was the consensus at the meeting that pedestrian bridges will not be considered in this study.

Traffic Operations at Riley Plaza

Traffic congestion in the area needs to be addressed.

Examine how traffic circulations at Riley Plaza relate to Washington Street traffic operations.

Consider "Do not Block Intersection" signs and pavement markings (i.e. cross-hatching yellow lines in the middle of intersection) at major intersections.

CTPS will address all these concerns as part of the short- and long-term recommendations for traffic operational improvements in Riley Plaza.

Traffic Signal Warrant at Derby St. @ Congress St./Hawthorne Blvd

Preliminary traffic signal warrant analysis favors installation of a traffic signal at this location.

New developments in the area, including a new hotel and a new condo development, will increase traffic.

Police Safety Officer pointed out that a nearby new school (Salem Academy Charter School) might add to the need for safe crossings.

Committee members suggested that CTPS staff perform a complete warrant analysis for this location.

CTPS will finalize the traffic signal warrant analysis and will recommend appropriate intersection geometry and traffic signal settings to the Committee. Salem Police and Public Services Departments will look into setting up 24-hour traffic counting devices to assist with the collection of additional traffic data for this analysis.

Parking Issues

Tourists and Business visitors should have clear directions about where to go after they park their cars. On the downtown roadways, there are often too many signs instead of just one or two clear signs directing visitors to parking locations.

Committee members felt that there is a downtown parking shortage.

CTPS responded that, by observation, parking seems to be at capacity in the central area but spaces seem to be available in the outer area.

One Committee member mentioned that there are creative ways to find parking spaces. He commended that recently Salem Police created at least 30 to 40 resident parking spaces by opening the tourist bus parking spots in the nighttime.

CTPS will examine parking in relation to an intersection's functional area and how parking may affect the intersection's traffic operations.

General downtown parking demand/supply analysis requires more resources and it is not in the scope of this study. In addition, there is a recent analysis done for the downtown parking (Final Report: Downtown Salem Off-Street Parking Study, Miller Dyer Spears Inc., January 1994).

Directional Signs

Committee members expressed concerns that getting in and out of downtown and finding Route 128 is not easy for downtown motorists.

City Planning Director noted that a program for city signs was completed recently (City Sign Program Comprehensive Plan, Jon Roll & Associates, March 2003). Phase I (gateway signs on Routes 114, 107, and 1A from nearby cities/towns) has already been implemented.

CTPS suggests that since the city already has a comprehensive sign program, this study will focus on ways for the City to direct motorists in and out of the downtown area and to Route 128. This has to be accomplished through discussions with City officials and the Study Advisory Committee.

General Comments

The Committee suggested that improvements should not be proposed in a piecemeal fashion but rather be examined and recommended as part of system of improvements that work synergistically. Location-specific short-term and low-cost improvements are beneficial and should not be overlooked. Long-term improvements and impacts on traffic and pedestrians should also be examined.

Summary of CTPS Action Items

In summary, CTPS will focus on the following items for further study:

(1) Riley Plaza traffic circulation and potential coordination of traffic signals in the vicinity. The area includes five


Washington St. @ New Derby/Norman St.

Washington St. @ Canal St.

Lafayette St. @ Derby/New Derby St.

Norman St. @ Margin St.

Margin St. @ Mill St.

(2) Complete traffic signal warrant analysis and recommendation of appropriate intersection geometry and signal settings for the intersection of Derby St. @ Congress St.

(3) Analysis of congested intersections and recommendation of traffic operations and/or pedestrian safety improvements. Identification of intersection functional area and review of parking issues related to traffic operation will be included in this analysis. The intersections that will be examined are:

Washington St. @ Essex St.

Essex St. @ Summer/North St.

Summer St. @ Norman St.

Essex St. @ Hawthorne Blvd.

Lafayette St. @ Washington St.

Lafayette St. @ Harbor St.

(4) Analysis of pedestrian crosswalk spacing in relationship with traffic operations along Washington St. between New Derby St. and Bridge St.

(5) Review of pedestrian access to the MBTA commuter rail station and pedestrian circulation around the area.

(6) Identification of desirable paths for motorists in and out of the downtown area through discussions with City officials and the SAC members.

Proposed Schedule for Next Meetings

To meet the study schedule, CTPS will conduct two future meetings.

The first meeting (target date: February, 2005) will focus on improvements at Riley Plaza, complete signal warrant analysis for the intersection of Derby St. @ Congress St./Hawthorne Blvd, and analysis of congested intersections (action items (1), (2), and (3)). The second meeting (target date: March or April, 2005) will focus on analysis of crosswalk spacing along Washington Street, review of the MBTA commuter rail station pedestrian access/circulation, and identification of desirable paths in and out of the downtown area (action items (4), (5), and (6)).

A report will be drafted after the completion of the two scheduled meetings. The City and the SAC members will review the draft report before its submission to the Transportation Planning and Programming Committee of the Boston Metropolitan Planning Organization.