City Councilman Jeff Houin is also a member of the Complete Streets Committee.  Monday, he presented the Board of Public Works and Safety with a request to install two temporary tactical urbanism projects for the month of May in the city. 

The first project will be installed at the corner of Liberty and Gibson Street near the Lincoln Education Center, the older portion of the former Lincoln Junior High School.  The proposal is to create a temporary bump-out at the corner of Liberty Street to eliminate the northbound slip-lane on Liberty Street as traffic attempts to make a righthand turn onto Gibson Street. 

Houin said the Liberty and Gibson Streets project is important because the city is currently working on the final design plans for the improvement of Gibson Street.  If this temporary tactical urbanism project works, it could be incorporated into the final design.

The second project is a bit more involved and is on Randolph Street in front of Plymouth High School.  The exit from the circle drive at PHS would be modified.  Houin said Randolph Street in this area is 40 feet wide not counting the slip-lane exiting the circle drive.  He said it’s an extremely long distance for a pedestrian to cross where traffic is pretty intense. 

The project narrows the lanes on Randolph Street well south of the curve and extends past the exit of the circle drive.  Houin said the project will slow vehicles down and prevent passing through that area.  It also significantly shortens the distance of the crosswalk. This project will also modify the exit of the circle drive making vehicles come up to Randolph Street perpendicular instead of angling to the north or south which allows vehicles to stack multiple cars wide as they try to exit.

Both projects have been discussed with the Plymouth Superintendent of Schools, Mitch Mawhorter, and Ted Brown the Director of Security.  They are both strongly in favor of the projects and will assist in evaluating the impact and may even incorporate some changes into their work.

Houin said they wanted to conduct these two trails while school is in session to get the true impact of them for drivers and walkers. 

Houin told the Board of Public Works and Safety that the projects are temporary trials.  The intent is to slow traffic making it safer for pedestrians by narrowing the driving lanes which also calms traffic and makes a shorter crossing distance for walkers.   A tactical urbanism project is a temporary trial run so they can be evaluated to determine how well they work, what changes should be made, and in the future as the city is planning street projects the changes could be incorporated into the design.   

Street Superintendent Jim Marquardt and his department will assist the Complete Streets Committee to install the temporary line painting and plastic lane markers.  It’s anticipated the two projects will be installed on or about May 1st and will be removed at the end of May.

Any safety concerns will be immediately addressed. 

The Board of Public Works and Safety unanimously approved the request.  

Complete Streets Committee members Sean Surrisi and Jeff Houin will be our guests on Thursday’s “What’s Your Opinion Show” to discuss the temporary changes.