The second of a series of public meetings took place last night when preliminary plans for modernizing Washington Avenue – from Congress Street to 1-295 – were presented to a well-attended public meeting at the Root Cellar, 94 Washington Avenue. This corridor is becoming a dynamic area and changes need to be made to keep up with its growth.
The work will be done in two phases – Phase 1 is expected to be completed by 2020 or 2021, although there is no specific timeline. Federal funds will be used which can be a slower process than dealing with local funding. The second phase could take up to ten (10) years to complete.
Cross-walks will be shortened to expedite walkers getting across the street for safety reasons. The cross-walk near Coffee by Design will be revised for this reason thus making the street narrower. That will make the street narrower and slow down traffic as well. Another salient point is the possibility of constructing a small round-about at the juncture of !-295 and the Eastern Promenade to slow down traffic in that area. “Traffic comes off 1-295 fast,” said Bartlett.
In response to a question during the Q&A, Bartlett said there is no opportunity to bury utilities. “CMP has not been much of a partner in this. Cost is prohibitive,” he said. One resident of the corridor expressed concern that this process would eliminate twenty-two (22) public parking spaces in the area. Bartlett said that local artists would be part of the process in order to retain the character of the neighborhood. “There is a lot of potential for artists here,” said Bartlett.
The separation sewer work on Washington Avenue will be completed next spring.