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Q&A

Over the course of this project, like any planning and design effort, it is normal that certain questions have been asked for than once. While the project team welcomes your questions, concerns, and comments, here are some of the most commonly asked questions related to the East Milton Square Parking and Access Design Project. If after you have read through the FAQ page, you still have questions, please feel free to contact our public involvement specialist. As the project moves forward, this page will be populated with additional answers as appropriate.

Questions Regarding the Use of the Square.

Q: East Milton Square is currently difficult for pedestrians.  The landscaped deck at the Square’s center is underutilized from a pedestrian standpoint.  What can be done to boost walkability and use of the green portion of the landscaped deck?

A: Under the proposed design, a new, multi-use path will run perpendicular across the center of the deck over I-93 between the parking area and the remaining green space to provide a connection between Bryant Avenue and Granite Avenue.  Providing a direct path will help to both activate the green space and provide a stronger pedestrian and bicycle connection across the square.  Way-finding signage will be incorporated to better orientate unfamiliar pedestrians to their preferred destinations.  Additional pedestrian improvements such as improved crosswalks and signals are also proposed.  These improvements are intended to help circulate people through the area on foot and visit local businesses in the area.  More broadly, improving pedestrian accommodations will allow Milton residents to access one of their community’s premier business districts by foot, easing traffic and creating a greater sense of place.

Q: Who is responsible for upkeep and maintenance of the proposed new parking area?

A: The Town of Milton would be responsible for the parking area, retaining plantings, and any other new features such as the proposed town green and pavilion.

Questions Regarding the Slip Lane

Q: How many additional parking spaces will be gained by removing the slip lane which takes traffic from Adams Street to Granite Avenue?

A: While the design for the proposed parking lot has not yet reached the 25% design level, it is currently anticipated that the removal of the slip lane would yield an additional seven parking spaces. With the slip lane, approximately 36 parking spaces can be created. Without it, the total rises to around 44.  However, the removal of the slip lane will create significant traffic issues by re-routing vehicles that would have used the slip-lane onto Boulevard Street.  It would also be very difficult for large trucks to make the left turn from Bryant Ave onto Boulevard Street. 

Q: How will the decision be made as to whether the slip lane can be removed?

A: The decision will be made based on traffic modeling. Of particular concern is whether trucks can make the series of turns around the southern end of the landscaped deck without occupying lanes other than those in which they are traveling and how the additional traffic from the slip lane would impact the intersections of Bryant Avenue/Boulevard Street and Granite Avenue/Boulevard Street. These elements will be modeled using industry standard computer programs including AutoTURN and Synchro.

Q: If you remove the slip lane, how will you stop motorists from using the parking lot as a cut-through route?

A: At present, the concept design suggests signing the parking lot with a “do not enter” sign and pavement markings such that traffic, could not cross from Bryant Avenue to Granite Avenue.  While traffic would be able to cross from Bryant Avenue to Granite Avenue, the route through the parking lot would be circuitous and relatively inconvenient for those not seeking parking.  As part of the 25% design process, the operations of the parking lot will be subjected to analysis using the standard traffic modeling software Synchro. 

Q: Will there be impacts to traffic operations on Boulevard Street if the slip lane is removed?

A: Any change in traffic patterns will have some impacts associated with it.  The question to be answered is whether those impacts are significant and if so, whether they can be addressed.  Removing the slip lane would result in those vehicles having to in essence make a U-turn around the southern end of the landscaped deck using Bryant Avenue, Boulevard Street, and Granite Avenue.  This additional traffic from the slip lane would cause significant traffic queues at the intersection of Bryant Ave and Boulevard Street.  The Functional Design Report (FDR) which is submitted to MassDOT as part of the 25% design process will include an alternatives analysis of the two design options: keeping the slip lane or removing it.

Questions Regarding Improvements to Traffic Exiting I-93 (The Expressway)

Q: What can be done to improve traffic coming off the expressway and heading north through the Square along Granite Avenue?

A: It is well known that in both the morning and afternoon peak commuting periods, Granite Avenue coming into East Milton Square from the south is substantially congested.  In the morning, this is partially the result of a purposeful signal timing to reduce the attractiveness of this route as a cut-through for vehicles heading north into Dorchester and Boston along Granite Avenue.  In the afternoon, the congestion is generally the result of drivers returning home to Milton and Quincy.  The current design process will analyze operations at this location to see if they can be improved within the scope of work on East Milton Square. 

One of the long term recommendations that came out of the Parking and Access Study was a study to determine whether alterations of the geometry of exit 11 to allow traffic exiting I-93 to travel both north and south along Granite Avenue could address the congestion associated with Exit 10 and Granite Avenue entering the Square from the south.  This study is outside the scope of the current design process for East Milton Square. 

Q: What can be done to prevent motorists from cutting through the Square after they exit I-93 (The Expressway)?

A: During the 2010-2011 planning exercise, a major goal of the study was to ensure that the option selected for further design did not make cut-through traffic in the residential neighborhoods abutting the Square worse than it currently is.  While this issue will be analyzed to an extent as part of the current design phase, it is generally acknowledged that a substantial amount of the cut-through traffic on streets surrounding the Square is driven by Milton residents going to and from their homes.  As such, much of the cut-through issue will have to be addressed by the Town under separate efforts.  When we worked with the Business and Citizens Advisory Committee (BCAC) and the community in 2010-2011, one of the things that we heard a lot of concern about was the idea of rerouting traffic towards the residential areas.  For this reason, rerouting traffic onto the surrounding streets is something into which we are not looking.

Questions Regarding Bicycle and Pedestrian Improvements

Q: How do we make the Square more pedestrian friendly?

A: There are many ways to make the Square more attractive to pedestrians including better way-finding, more visible crosswalks, and more intuitive paths from parking areas to local businesses. When completed, this project will also install new pedestrian signals at each traffic light with count down indications clearly denoting for pedestrians how much time they have to cross the street. All sidewalks and accessibility ramps at intersections will be brought into full compliance with current ADA requirements.

Q: How do we make the Square more bicycle friendly?

A: As part of MassDOT’s Healthy Transportation Policy Directive we are required to look at all modes of transportation including bicycle, pedestrians and public transit.  While specific bicycle treatments have not yet been fully developed, they will be part of the 25% design plans and presented fully in advance the 25% design public hearing.  At present, we are considering bicycle lanes on Adams Street, both east and west of I-93, connected by a designated bicycle pathway adjacent to the parking area. Anyone with ideas as to how to make East Milton Square more bicycle-friendly is welcome to contact our public involvement specialist.

Q: I have seen cars run through pedestrian signals around the Square.  What can you do to enforce motorist to stop at pedestrian signals?

A: One of the goals of the current design phase is to add bicycle and pedestrian improvements to East Milton Square which can help to telegraph to motorists that they are in a space shared with other modes and should behave accordingly.  Ultimately, however, when cars run through pedestrian signals it is an issue that must be addressed by law enforcement which is the responsibility of the Town of Milton.   

Questions Regarding Parking

Q: How many parking spaces are going to be incorporated into the proposed new lot?

A: The design that retains the slip lane would provide 36 spaces, and the design removing the slip lane would provide 44 spaces.

Q: Is parking behind the library a feasible option?

A: The library abuts an area of Milton zoned for residential use.  After looking at the recommendations that arose from the Parking and Access Study there was some interest in converting this area into a mixed-use zone.  With the current zoning regulations, only residential parking can be incorporated.  More broadly, one of the outcomes of the Parking and Access study was to avoid incorporating parking for the Square into the surrounding residential areas to prevent cut-through traffic by vehicles looking for parking; repurposing a section of the landscaped deck at the Square’s center for parking helps to accomplish this goal.

Q: Will the proposed amount of parking be enough to support the demand?

A: The Parking and Access Study looked at several, large-scale urban approaches to providing additional parking including a two-level parking deck.  Due in part to the cost and disruption to surrounding residential neighborhoods this would have caused, the Town, advised by the Business and Citizens’ Advisory Committee opted to go for a balanced approach of providing a modest amount of new parking and getting existing parking to work better through a combination of improving bicycle and pedestrian accommodations to reduce parking demand while stepping up enforcement of time limits in some fashion to encourage parking turning over. 

Q: Has there been any thought about service zone parking?

A: The Parking and Access Study suggested shifting service zone parking to outlying areas of the Square such as Bryant Avenue south of Boulevard Street. At present, it is anticipated that the new parking area would not contain service zone parking.

Q: How many additional spaces would be needed if the Square expands i.e. more stores, mixed use housing?

A: If there is a change in business mix over time, more parking may be needed.   The potential for future growth or change is why the Town approved a middle-of-the-road approach that creates a modest amount of additional parking.