After hit-and-run motorists killed two pedestrians in separate crashes in crosswalks near Assembly Square in Somerville, city and MassDOT officials are hosting a meeting this evening to announce short-term safety improvements to the state-controlled roadway.
"MassDOT has allocated a bunch of staff resources to do early-action investments, mostly focused on getting new pavement markings and signage in this construction season in the next couple of weeks," said Brad Rawson, Director of Transportation and Infrastructure for the City of Somerville, in a phone conversation Tuesday afternoon. "We’ll be replacing signs, improving channelization with pavement markings, and reinforcing crosswalk visibility."
The complex and hazardous junctions of the Fellsway, Mystic Avenue and McGrath Highway – gateways to the fast-growing Assembly Square development – have been the subject of two state safety audits in recent years: in 2015 and in 2017.
Rawson says that the city and state are currently collaborating on a more robust, $5 million project to implement recommendations from those audits, but that effort isn't likely to go under construction until 2022.
"We want stakeholders to understand, people aren’t just shouting into the wind. We have this great intermediate-term project for 2022, but we’re just in the early phases, this thing’s not going to be ready for bidding for another year... (what we're discussing tonight) is a robust series of early action measures," said Rawson.