THIS STORY HAS BEEN FORMATTED FOR EASY PRINTING
Globe Watch

The curious incident of the missing crosswalk

Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Christina Pazzanese
Globe Correspondent / June 1, 2008

The warm weather around these parts means different things to different people. For some, it's a time for strolling leisurely along the Charles River or perhaps dining al fresco at a Newbury Street café. But for tipster Lisa McDonough of Allston, it's high time some much-needed roadwork finally gets done in her neighborhood.

"I keep e-mailing the city and officials to see if a crosswalk near the Gardner Pilot Academy elementary school can be repainted and it's never done. It is at the intersection of Brentwood and Franklin Street in [North] Allston. The street was repaved, which is good, but after the repaving, the crosswalk was never repainted and it is an extremely busy street," she writes. "I understand that crosswalks cannot be repainted in bad weather, but it seems doable now?"

A visit by a Globe reporter last week found a single crosswalk that connected the corner of Brentwood to Appian Way along Franklin. But there was nothing for those who wanted to cross Franklin Street, a busy two-way road on which motorists frequently sped by with little awareness that schoolchildren were half a block away. Only a small remnant of white paint on what appeared to be a one-time crosswalk on Franklin was visible.

"The other thing I have asked about, which seems challenging for some reason, is to have blinking lights at the school instead of the plain signs which are there," McDonough adds.

Two static yellow signs notifying drivers of the school zone were visible on Brentwood, but they could not be seen by drivers on Franklin. There was a diamond-shaped "Drive Slow" sign for Franklin Street drivers but only for those headed up Franklin towards North Harvard Street. The sign seemed to make little difference since it was located beyond the Brentwood-Franklin intersection.

The city responds
Franklin was repaved last August after some utility work was done under the road, Jennifer Mehigan, a city spokeswoman, stated in an e-mail response. Like all other contracted road projects, the contractor was supposed to have repainted the crosswalk and any other relevant striping shortly after resurfacing the street, she said. But from a review of city records, she said, it appears that crosswalk sketches supplied by the Boston Transportation Department to the contractor, Lorusso Corp., were "never received" from the city's Public Works Department. "[Public Works] does hundreds of crosswalks each year and it looks like this one was simply misplaced," Mehigan stated. "A new sketch has been faxed to Lorusso, and this crosswalk will be replaced within one week.

"Generally, crosswalks (and stripes, etc.) are replaced no sooner than a few weeks [after the street has been paved] to make sure the materials are set correctly," and give asphalt oils a chance to dry. "If there are longer delays to work, the contractor must alert the city and give a time frame when they think work will be completed."

As for the possibility of installing flashing signs to warn of the school zone, Mehigan says, "Over the past several years, BTD has reviewed every elementary school in the city to determine crosswalk and traffic and parking signage needs. We have assigned this request to an engineer to take another look at this particular location to see if conditions, such as traffic and pedestrian volumes, might have changed since it was first surveyed. If warranted, the existing signs may be changed to School Zone Flashers."

WHO'S IN CHARGE
Thomas J. Tinlin, commissioner
Boston Transportation Department
1 City Hall Square, Room 721
Boston, MA 02201-2026
617-635-4680

Is something broken in your neighborhood? E-mail globewatch@globe.com. Follow up on items at www.boston.com/globewatch.

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