Pedestrian, Chestnut Manor, Dec. 31, 2019. / Paul Schlichtman photoA cane and shoe at the site of December 2019 fatality.Paul Schlichtman photo

UPDATED April 19: Three years and three months after an elderly pedestrian heading to Mass at St. Agnes was struck and killed in the Chestnut Terrace crosswalk at Mystic Street, the Town of Arlington plans to repair the intersection.

Work aimed to make the location safer, partly under one $144,000 contract, started April 10. D&R Paving has put in a leveling course of pavement, the town reported April 19. The road may look close to being done, but curbs and sidewalks need to be adjusted and or replaced before final paving and markings are installed. Estimated completion is estimated in late June. Read more at  

Town officials took action after after two Precinct 9 Town Meeting members – Paul Schlichtman, a neighbor, and Jo Anne Preston, a member of the housing authority – persisted, as the 2019 death of Ann B. Desrosiers dimmed

The two "have been working with neighbors to improve pedestrian safety on Chestnut Street," Schlichtman wrote in a statement to YourArlington. "It is highly likely Ann would be alive today if there [had been] a pedestrian-activated warning signal at the crosswalk, and I am glad these safety improvements are about to be constructed.

"I just wish it didn't take more than three years to get to this point, and I hope we continue to move forward with safety improvements for the intersections at either end of Chestnut Street."

For her part, Preston wrote that the tragic death "elicited both grief and anger from many residents. Shortly after the accident, residents constructed an informal memorial on the nearby sidewalk and were observed shouting at cars speeding by.

"When I tried to reassure the assembled residents that the town would take action, one woman replied, 'And in what year?'" -- Jo Anne Preston

"When I tried to reassure the assembled residents that the town would take action, one woman replied, 'And in what year?' "

Preston and Schlichtman began to regularly attend meetings of the Select Board and Transportation Advisory Committee seeking pedestrian-safety measures. Joining them were members of the grieving family and area residents.

The three-year wait for pedestrian-safety measures "seems inexplicable, given the demonstrated dangerousness of the street (confirmed by TAC members) and the repeated appeals from residents to public officials," Preston wrote.

A March 30 town news release reported that the Department of Public Works plans to begin construction on Chestnut Street safety improvements in spring, with work anticipated to begin in mid-April.

After the December 2019 tragedy, the Transportation Advisory Committee and the departments of Public Works, Engineering, and Planning and Community Development collaborated the next year during the pandemic to reach out to the community in developing recommendations for safety improvements. These recommendations were approved by the Select Board in 2021, the news release said. Yet discussion about putting those plans into effect continued to last October, as reflected in this discussion >> 

View construction, pavement marking plans >> 

In addition to the construction project, the DPW plans to make accessibility improvements to a number of curb ramps in the vicinity of the project.

In 2022, the town was awarded a MassDOT Shared Streets and Spaces grant of about $144,000 to partly pay for the construction.

Stantec Consulting Services Inc. was hired to provide design, engineering and community-engagement services, in combination with the firm’s work on the Mass Ave/Appleton Safety & Accessibility Corridor Project.

Stantec’s work included advancing conceptual drawings into construction plans for Chestnut Street between Chestnut Terrace and Medford Street, to put into effect changes the Select Board approved.

Read Stantec’s proposal: Chestnut Street Safety Project Stantec Proposal

The release said the town issued a request for proposals for both projects in December 2021 and received proposals from four companies. Based on Stantec’s project approach and scope of services, and how they ranked on the RFP criteria, town staff determined that the proposals provided by Stantec for both Mass. Ave./Appleton and Chestnut Street were the most advantageous to the town.

Oversight for both projects has been a cross-departmental effort, the release said, among the Town Manager’s Office, Department of Public Works and Department of Planning and Community Development, including consultation with the Arlington Police Department. 

Oct. 17, 2022: Chestnut intersection getting safety improvements, officials respond to resident

Site history: Facebook group for Chestnut Street

This news summary was published Monday, April 3, 2023, based on information from the Town Arlington and from town residents contacted by YourArlington. It was updated April 19, to note work done ro date,

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