Pedestrian, Chestnut Manor, Dec. 31, 2019. / Paul Schlichtman photoUnindentified pedestrian at site of 2019 fatality. / Paul Schlichtman photo

UPDATED Oct. 18: A neighbor of the intersection where a pedestrian died nearly three years ago has urged action to improve the site, and Town Manager Sandy Pooler has pushed back.

In an email to the Select Board, included in the agenda to its Oct. 13 meeting, Pooler responded to local resident Paul Schlichtman detailing Chestnut Street repairs and safety improvements. Schlichtman is a Town Meeting member and School Committee member but writing as a private citizen.

At Chestnut and Mystic, resident Ann B. Desrosiers was struck and fatally injured on Dec. 31, 2019, while crossing the street to go to Mass.

Schlichtman also wrote to the Arlington Email List, “It was a time of low light, poor visibility and light traffic. A significant number of people (many from Chestnut Manor) use this crosswalk to get to 7 a.m. Mass at St. Agnes, and I strongly believe that if a Rectangular Rapid Flashing Beacon (RRFB) was in this location three years ago, this tragedy would never have happened.”

Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) announced that the town was to receive $143,910 in construction funding for the Chestnut Street project.

The Select Board voted on June 21, 2021, to install the RRFB at the Chestnut Terrace and was told this work would take place during 2022. However, “Here we are, one year later, with the same inaction, more than 1,000 days after the fatal collision,” added Schlichtman.

Town Manager email

In his email, Pooler stated that the town has:

Selectboard logo, May 20, 2019

  • Repaired the sidewalk across from the Russell Common parking lot driveway; 
  • Installed advance crosswalk warning signs;
  • Installed a “No Turn on Red” sign on the right-turn lane from Chestnut Street westbound to Mystic Street northbound; and
  • Restriped some crosswalks to improve visibility.

What remains is to install pedestrian islands and flashing warning signs. “The need to study the islands and finally determine if they could be installed is what caused the construction work to be delayed this summer. Now, it is planned for the spring of 2023,” penned Pooler.

Curb extensions are also planned for both ends of the Chestnut crosswalks, at Chestnut Terrace and Medford Street. By shortening the length of the crossings, pedestrians will need less time to cross and be exposed to oncoming traffic, he wrote. Extensions are scheduled to be installed permanently when Chestnut Street is repaved, expected in 2022.

Pooler also wrote that all other improvements, such as bike lanes, parking changes and pedestrian warning lights depend on the final design recommendations. He included comments from Michael Rademacher, the DPW director, and Daniel Amstutz of town planning. 

Oct. 11, 2022: Study of clerk's office looks ahead to potential changes

This news summary by YourArlington freelance writer Susan Gilbert was published Monday, Oct. 17, 2022. 

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