Would You Change Shea Circle?

The Casey Arborway project will make Shea Circle a lighted four-way intersection.

As result of the impending Casey Arborway project, the Shea Circle roundabout will become a lighted four-way intersection.

However, the Massachusetts Historical Commission has asked for a review from MassDOT of the site because it falls within a historic distinct.

MassDOT have said their plan to make the area an intersection is the safest option.

Would you keep Shea Circle as it is in the interest of history, or would you change the roundabout? If so, how? Leave your opinion in the comments.

kurt January 15, 2013 at 04:49 PM
It's a hazard - I know folks on Yale Terrace that overlooks it that would sit outside and watch accidents happen.
Peg January 16, 2013 at 04:43 AM
I asked Mass Dot at one of the meetings what the major cause of accidents were at the circle, they said "single car accidents" I have seen cars got straight at the circle, as there is no warning beforehand that you are about to enter a rotary. Sineage to warn cars beforehand could solve much of it.
fp January 16, 2013 at 11:59 AM
fp January 16, 2013 at 01:05 PM
In Virginia, rotarys (roundabouts) are found to be SAFER intersections. Could it be Boston drivers? click this link: http://www.virginiadot.org/info/faq-roundabouts.asp
Sarah Freeman January 16, 2013 at 01:09 PM
Rotaries allow the traffic to flow continuously, which means there's never a safe opportunity for pedestrians or bicyclists to cross the street (especially with "Boston drivers"). Motorists can run red lights, but once the first car stops, it is safe to cross.
Michael Halle January 16, 2013 at 02:33 PM
Rotaries and roundabouts are names sometimes used interchangeably, but they aren't the same thing. Rotaries such as those commonly seen on DCR roadways (Shea Circle is an example) handle large volumes traffic at irregular intersections relatively efficiently. However, they are usually multiple lanes wide and encourage lane changes and comparatively high speeds within the rotary itself. That makes them difficult for pedestrians and cyclists to navigate and possibly accident-prone. In contrast, a modern roundabout is a traffic calming roadway facility that is usually designed for lower capacity roadways (single lane) with emphasis on lower speeds. Good examples of these roundabouts are not so common around here. There's at least one in Needham, I think, but you'll see private versions in large shopping centers such as Legacy Place, the Natick Mall, and near IKEA. Pedestrian and bicycle facilities are still tricky to design into modern roundabouts, but lower motor vehicle speeds tend to make them safer, especially in case of a collision. The Morton Street and Arborway traffic volumes preclude at least some elements of low-volume roundabout design at Shea Circle.
Pete Stidman January 16, 2013 at 05:52 PM
It's a real drag to watch park users run for their lives when they're coming and going. And riding a bike through there is only for the brave. Better access to our historic Olmsted designed Franklin Park could be had from changing this monstrosity, which came about some 40 years after the park. I'd say it's only in a historic district by coincidence. Is something historic simply because it's old, or because it represents something dear to us that we want to remember? If it's the latter—I don't want to remember all the times I've had a close call with being hit by a car here.
fp January 16, 2013 at 07:16 PM
A MODERN roundabout will handle the 20,000+ daily traffic load and reduce speeds without unnecessarly stopping vechicles which increases polution. The lower speeds will also make on demand solar pedestrian signals effective and safe. Intersections cause vehicles to belch hydrocarbons everytime they stop and start. Global warming anyone?
Michael Halle January 16, 2013 at 08:05 PM
A modern roundabout "might" be able to handle 20,000+ cars daily, but that would put it at the upper range of what single-lane roundabouts could do and at the lower end of current and projected traffic volumes. From what I understand, a roundabout's performance is highly dependent on the volumes and configuration of the roadways that feed it. Two lane roundabouts could meet the traffic demand, but are more challenging for drivers, pedestrians and cyclists. To be clear, I'm not saying that modern roundabouts are bad. They can be very useful when used in appropriate locations. I'm also not saying the current Shea Circle couldn't be made better, much like the traffic circles near Fresh Pond were improved somewhat in the early 90's. I am saying, though, that one can't assume that all the benefits of modern roundabouts are applicable to an improved Shea Circle, or that it would be possible to improve the pedestrian or cyclist experience very much.
Shawn F. January 16, 2013 at 08:30 PM
part of the problem is how badly our roads are marked.... every time I am in Ireland or England I am amazed at how well their roads are marked, especially the roundabouts. They don't distinguish between rotoarys and roundabouts. they are all roundabouts... Also some have over 10 lanes entering and exiting around the roundabout and everything is clearly marked. you know what lane you should be in to get off where on the roundabout and you USE your directionals.... Seems to work fine there with plenty of crazy drivers.
betsey brooks January 30, 2013 at 03:00 AM
Betsey I agree with Shawn. When rotaries are clearly marked they would keep the traffic flowing, Yield and merge. Rotaries are smart. Less pollution.


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