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ArsenalSt_BannerWebMassDOT is working with Watertown officials, residents and business owners to study ways to improve travel through the Arsenal Street Corridor. Arsenal Street directly connects Watertown with neighboring communities, including Waltham, Cambridge, Newton and Boston.

Recent developments have converted vacant and industrial parcels on Arsenal Street into mixed use and residential buildings, with several more developments planned. By studying the way people currently travel through the corridor – by foot, bike, bus, and car – and considering future growth, MassDOT can identify ways to improve multimodal transportation conditions for this regionally important link.

Most Arsenal Street corridor bus stops consist of posted signs only, without formal shelters or passenger amenities.

Most Arsenal Street bus stops consist of posted signs only, without formal shelters or passenger amenities.

This study will result in a final report that includes a recommended plan of short, medium, and long-term transportation improvements. Goals and objectives of the study, which help guide the project team in evaluating these improvements, include improving mobility and accessibility and enhancing safety throughout the corridor. A special focus will be on bus service along Arsenal Street and locations where the bus service ties into other crossing bus routes. The study team has found that both MBTA Bus Routes 70 and 70A, which provide service in Cambridge, Brighton, Watertown, and Waltham, operate at or over capacity during key periods of its daily run along Arsenal Street.

Since the study’s launch in September 2015, MassDOT has convened two meetings with the study’s Working Group. The Working Group, comprised of local officials and representatives of neighborhood and civic organizations, is sharing its local knowledge to help guide and inform the study. In late February, elected officials and the public shared their perspectives at a public meeting at the Watertown Middle School. MassDOT’s project team summarized existing conditions in the corridor, which sees heavy traffic during peak hours.

Uneven sidewalks along Arsenal Street in Watertown can make walking a challenge.

Uneven sidewalks along Arsenal Street in Watertown can make walking a challenge.

Several meeting participants commented on their goals to use transit, walk in the corridor or ride bikes more frequently. Photos show that obstructed sidewalks and uneven surfaces can make walking tough, especially for mobility-impaired individuals or parents with strollers, or for students from the nearby Perkins School for the Blind. MassDOT’s public health assessment listed some of the other barriers for non-vehicular travel, including congestion, delays, noise, and high levels of auto traffic.

As the study advances, MassDOT will host two more public meetings and convene four more Working Group meetings. The Working Group and project staff appreciate hearing about your local goals and experiences. For more information on how to participate in future meetings, be added to the project mailing list or share your own ideas, please visit the study website.

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