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April 10, 2008


Bo Williams

Bike lanes on Willow would be great- frustrated cars trying to take a shortcut get really pushy and dangerous. Bike lanes would help me win my "It's illegal and dangerous to ride my bike on the sidewalk, so stop yelling at me to get off the road" war.


Willow and Elm is definitely a pretty bad intersection to navigate for drivers and pedestrians. But Willow and Summer? I drive or walk through that intersection almost daily and haven't noticed cars speeding through there. That light changes fairly quickly too.


I don't think either of those intersections are dangerous at all and as a matter of fact I'd be hard pressed to remember any sort of major accidents at either intersection. How about we turn our attention to the narrowness that is Central St. from Highland Ave. before the bridge? Does anyone else out there agree that it's too narrow for a two way because of the cars that are allowed to park there?

Ron Newman

An interesting street with a very strange traffic signal, halfway down the block from Summer Street. It's there so that cars stop far enough back to allow the #85 MBTA bus to turn right from Summer onto Central.


Ron - I believe Bubs is referring to Central St., from Highland toward Medford St. Re: Central and Summer Sts. -- I never knew a bus turned there; yikes, I'm amazed they can make the turn, even with traffic stopping way back.

Bubs - I agree with your assessment of that stretch of Central St.; it can be quite congested. Re: Willow at Summer Sts., I'm guessing that the residents have witnessed a lot of speeding at that intersection. Let's fix both locations.

it *is* funny

Bubs -- I drive that stretch of Central Street all the time and agree it's very tight. But what I notice is *because* it's tight, most people slow down when driving on it. I'd hate to see them streamline it and see people screaming down there the way they do on every other street in town.



The 85 Bus from Kendall Sq. serves Spring Hill weekdays only from about 0600-2000. A little history here...

In most cases, the present day bus route numbers are the same as the older streetcar or trackless trolley routes which the busses replaced. When the 85 route was protected by streetcar, the service terminated at the corner of School St. and Summer, where a carbarn was located (pretty much where the Concord Gas Station is. There was a rotary converter station, which supplied 600VDC electrical power for the trolley wire, located in back of the carbarn on the corner of Avon and School. The building still stands (and I use the term "stands" in its loosest possible connotation--it is in quite an advanced state of decay and is a general blight on the neighborhood).

When the service transitioned to busses and the carbarn was razed, there was no practical place to turn the busses, thus the "loop" which exists today, taking the busses up Summer, north onto Central, and then east again onto Avon. While I have never seen this in print, I have long believed that there was also considerable community input about extending the service further up Spring Hill, specifically to serve The Somerville Home, which has one of the two bus stops created after the extension; but that's just a guess.

Also, there is a small waiting shelter located on Avon St. near the corner of Central.


Ron Newman

I recall the T experimenting for a few years with extending the 85 to Davis Square, but it didn't last very long. It was some time in the late 70s or early 80s, before the Red Line came to Davis.

Why doesn't the T tear down that building at Avon and School, and sell the property? Do they still use it for something?



As far as I know, they do not use it.

Considering that a former Mayor lives right across the street, I have only to assume that the MBTA has been notified on at least a few occasions about the neighbors' disdain.

IIRC, there's a red "X" on the building. A GUESS as to why it hasn't been taken down--possible asbestos, PCBs, etc. (that's the most common reason). Or, it could just be a question of the T's unwillingness due to the cost of doing so.



JAR - Thank you - That's very interesting; I love learning historical tidbits of Somerville.
(Carbarn - now that's a word I haven't heard, since my Medford junior high school days.)

Ron Newman

The current police station is a former carbarn ... but that's a whole nother story.


Hmm, I didn't know that. Thanks.

Joyce McCann

The intersections at Elm St. and Willow Avenue and Beech St. and Willow Avenue were under construction for at least four or five years!!!! Where were the urban planners of Somerville and Cambridge when all this was going on??? At the time of construction all of these crosswalk, traffic calming issues should have been implemented. It makes me laugh and shake my head, as usual, there is'nt much planning going on around here when they start talking about an issue that should have been addressed and taken care of long ago!!!!!


If they want to handle a big problem on Willow ave it should be that Charnwood Road is an one way street yet cars drive up it the wrong way all the time. The signs to let people know it's an one way street aren't very easy to see. If they want to do something to handle dangerous situations this would be a good one.

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