The Select Board unanimously approved new signs for a locally notorious intersection; members that evening also received reports about installation and, in some cases, relocation of automatic external defibrillators; the overnight parking pilot program; next month’s Veterans Day parade; and last fiscal year’s final budget.

Improved signs are now to be installed at Downing Square in Arlington Heights -- where Lowell Street, Westminster Avenue, Park Avenue Extension, Alpine Street, Park Avenue and Bow Street all come together near Mass. Ave.

“These are advisory information signs that [will] go on the existing stop signs,” said Transportation Advisory Committee (TAC) representative Jeff Maxtutis at the Oct. 11 meeting.

He and others recommended what they thought would be the most helpful at this unusual traffic configuration.

In a memorandum to the Select Board, TAC had written, “Extensive earlier study efforts performed by TAC in conjunction with town departments determined that signalization options would not perform well, resulting in excessive delays and failing to improve safety.

“The new signs would be placards, placed below the existing stop signs on the same poles, at least 7 feet above the ground, to avoid visual obstruction.”

“We’re trying to give motorists more information at this intersection -- but not create more confusion. This intersection is [already] confusing, so the signs would make it clearer. Five-way stop signs at a six-street intersection is unique, and we don’t want to over-sign the intersection,” Maxtutis said.

“Signs are a better way to go than signals. As a pedestrian, it’s a scary intersection,” said board member Len Diggins.

“This will help make this intersection safer,” board member Steve DeCourcey added.

To read the full memo, click here >>

AEDs now more accessible

Christine Bongiorno, deputy town manager for operations and previously longtime health and human services director, said that the number and the locations of AED have been improved in town buildings.

AEDs can be used to help people experiencing sudden cardiac arrest; they typically have written instructions and are designed to be relatively easy to use even by civilians after those civilians call 911 to summon professional first responders to the scene. A few also have been placed in parks and recreation centers.

“Our teams, working with the fire department, performed an assessment of what we had, and who’s responsible in each location. We then put AEDs in places that didn’t have them and moved those not in visible places to more visible locations. We’ll now provide training on how and when to use them,” said Bongiorno.

“Our goal is to have them in more public locations, such as the library, skating rink, Town Hall and Department of Public Works. We’ll install and move these devices, and provide training within the next six months,” added Bongiorno.

Town Manager Jim Feeney said there’s great public interest in these devices, and what they can do in case of an emergency.

“We want to make sure employees know where the AEDs are located, and how to use them. The first few seconds can be critical. I encourage people who work in town and the community to have this training. It’s very important, because you never know when it will be needed,” DeCourcey said.

Board Chair Eric Helmuth added the recommendation, “Don’t hesitate to operate them even if you’re not familiar with them, because there are instructions. But the first thing to do is call 911.”

Overnight parking pilot update

Diggins said that the overnight parking pilot is scheduled to start in two months and asked residents to think about what questions they’d like answered. The pilot program, broached earlier this year, has both its adherents and its detractors and has been intended to provide for exceptions to the longtime general situation in Arlington, in which, with some exceptions, all-night parking on the street is currently prohibited from 1 to 7 a.m. 

Veterans Day parade set

Starting at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 11, residents who wish will have an event at which they can wave American flags and otherwise recognize veteran of U.S. military service.

Veterans’ organizations plan to participate in Arlington’s annual Veterans Day parade, beginning at Walgreen’s Pharmacy in East Arlington, 324 Mass. Ave., and proceeding west to the fire station in Arlington Center, board members heard.

End-of-year budget report given

Comptroller Ida Cody presented the budget report for fiscal year 2023, which ended June 30. 

In a memo to Cody, the Select Board and the town Finance Committee, Deputy Town Manager/Finance Director Alex Magee wrote that almost all revenue categories exceeded projections.

The report states, “The total revenue surplus was $6,204,459. Overall general fund spending was 96 percent and revenue collection was 103 percent. The revenue surplus and appropriations turnback increased the undesignated fund balance by $3.3M.”

To read the full report, click here >>


Watch the Oct. 11, 2023, meeting on ACMi: 

 Aug. 18, 2023: Board approves removing parking spaces, creating bike lanes on Medford Street 

This article was published Oct. 20, 2023, based on reporting by freelance writer Susan Gilbert.