Shared Streets Roll Out to Stop Cut-Through Speeding Off Broadway

The new dedicated bus lane going north on Broadway is the crown jewel of the Re-Imagine Broadway initiative unveiled this week, but several smaller gems sit alongside Broadway on smaller streets – with temporary measures put in place on a handful of cut-through streets to get cars to slow down.

The smaller project in Re-Imagine Broadway – called Shared Streets – has put small, temporary measures in place as of last week on six side streets to discourage cut-through traffic, allow people to walk safely, maintain better parking access for residents and learn lessons for larger measures next year.

Transportation Director Jay Monty said they wanted to make the neighborhood streets slower, and help people get to a more lively Broadway.

It is a collaboration with NeighborWays – a non-profit group that partners with cities on beautification and making areas better for pedestrians.

“If we’re going to have an activated and exciting Broadway, people will need to get there and we want neighbors to be able to walk there safely,” he said. “All these streets have lots of neighborhood cut-through traffic and speeding issues. Major measures for traffic calming are expensive and time consuming. NeighborWays focuses on quick builds and temporary installations that go in quickly and are adjustable and they can engage with community members to maintain them and adapt them as neighbors see fit.”

The streets in question are:

•Oakes and School Street – (Main Street to Broadway)

•Cottage Street – (Ferry Street to Broadway)

•Hosmer Street – (Walnut Street to Broadway)

•Lexington Street – (Prospect Street to Broadway)

•Coburn Terrace – (EHS to Broadway)

•Beautification Way – (Ferry Street to Coburn Terrace)

So far the installations include barriers like flower barrels and signs that read, ‘Slow Streets’ or ‘Local Access Only.’ There are also plastic bollards installed to narrow the street and make cut-through drivers slow down and feel like the street isn’t a speedway, Monty said. In fact, in some parts they narrow the street from 30 feet to 11 feet.

“The desire is when someone enters the corridor, they get a shock and there is a little bit of an uncomfortable feeling,” said Monty. “The hope is they slow down and become more vigilant and maybe not use the street for a high speed cut-through again.”

Already, for instance, on Tuesday, a driver was going southbound on Broadway and hit the gas to bang a left on Cottage Street – a common cut-through to avoid the light and speed off to Ferry Street. However, the driver was confronted with ‘Shared Street’ signs and flower barrels that narrowed the entryway. It, indeed, caused him to slow down and proceed with caution – rather than hit the gas.

To be sure, there have been complaints already from neighbors, and Monty has been called to the City Council to explain the program – which was rolled out without much discussion as it’s only a temporary pilot.

Monty said they plan to only leave up the installations through November, and they’ll be keeping data on those streets to see if drivers have slowed down, and if cut-through trips have decreased.

Meanwhile, a parklet installation on the corner of Ferry Street and Broadway looks to maybe have a longer life. The parklet sits at the corner in front of a few restaurants and stores, and is meant to activate the sidewalk and narrow down the wide road. The parklet has been well-received there, and was even scheduled to begin hosting a Farmer’s Market put on by the Everett Community Growers – who grow food in Everett at community gardens and on the Northern Strand Bike Path.

That parklet is also part of a larger look at the road, as it will be undergoing major reconstruction next year for a multi-year major reconstruction project. The closure of the lane to activate the sidewalk will feed in to the design of that intersection when the road is reconstructed. So far, the so-called “road diet” there looks to be working and well-received.

To ask a question or give input about either project, e-mail Monty at [email protected]

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