1265 Main (Polaroid Site) Traffic Improvement Plan
Updated September 2019
Thank you to everyone who attending the August meeting and asked questions. A few key themes emerged from our conversations, and an updated plan is scheduled to be presented to the Traffic Commission in October.
Key takeaways from our meeting include:
1) We asked to maintain the existing on-ramp that connects Route 20 to 128 northbound. The state DOT initially proposed this change, and we will requesting that they re-think its removal. If it is removed, the existing ramp that is accessible from Route 20 eastbound to 128 northbound, as seen in the video below, will remain, and an additional ramp will be added directly connecting the Market Basket plaza to 128.
2) The added Green Street connector and additional changes are expected to decrease traffic by 30-50% on Weston Street, significantly reducing the traffic burden for our neighborhoods.
3) Several people suggested adding “smart” traffic lights, that can dynamically adjust their timing depending on the traffic volumes. These could significantly benefit our Cedarwood Ave, Tavern Road, and Stowe Street intersections with Weston Street, and I will advocate for installation of these as soon as feasible.
4) Completion of the Waltham portion of the Wayside rail trail (MCRT) is considered in this project, and a flyover bridge connecting the existing portion north of 117 to the Weston portion of the trail will be included in the design. The state DOT expects to request funding from the Transportation Improvement Program (TIPs) to complete construction.
5) Noise barriers to protect Livingstone Lane, Sibley Road, and the Cedarwood neighborhood are being investigated as part of the design process. Current noise evaluations may trigger a federal requirement for their construction in some areas, and I will continue advocating for barriers along the entire length of the corridor to protect our neighborhoods. I look forward to updates from the developer in October.
6) Myself and other Waltham city officials will be tracking new cut-through routes, especially those directed by Google Maps, Waze, and similar apps, to make sure we aren’t creating new problems. I am especially following changes to Ravenswood and Cutting Lane, and am in conversation with neighbors on those streets to find solutions that protect our community.
7) Depending on the permitting timeline, construction is expected to begin as early as next spring or as late as next fall along the Green Street corridor. The 117 bridge will be constructed in tandem with the existing bridge, and dead-ending of Stowe Street will follow opening of the Green Street, so limited disruptions are expected. Other improvements will follow in 2021, and full completion is expected in late 2022 or early 2023.
Development at the 1265 Main site (former Polaroid factory) is by right and can be up to one million square feet of office and retail space, and housing may be included. The rotary project and other improvements aim to keep traffic going to and from that development on the highway and not on our residential streets, to protect our Waltham neighborhoods.
The developers expect to present updated plans to the Waltham Traffic Commission in October, and will follow with submission to the State DOT for permitting and approval. I am actively working with the Mayor’s office, state and federal representatives, and DOT decision makers to ensure this project prioritizes the needs of our community.
If you have additional questions or concerns, please get in touch by clicking here to fill out a contact form. Please note: this will be a public record, and I may include your comments as part of future communications with the State DOT or FHWA. If you have previously submitted comments, no need to send them again.
Please visit my other pages for information on other traffic and infrastructure projects I have championed for Ward 7.