The Friends of City Square Park have landed a grant from the Charlestown Community Mitigation Fund to study pedestrian improvements that will make the park less dangerous on its edges – particularly for those trying to cross traffic from various locations to and from the park.
Earlier this Spring, the Community Fund awarded the Friends a $20,000 grant for consultant Howard Stein Hudson to study pedestrian safety around the park – particularly in light of the pedestrian fatality that took place on Chelsea Street earlier this year, ending in City Square.
Grace Bloodwell, governor of the Friends of City Square Park, said they have engaged the traffic engineer to come up with some solutions that will improve pedestrian safety along Chelsea Street.
“Our focus would be just on the park near Chelsea Street,” she said. “I think it would be great to also look at the crossing further up on Chelsea Street by Blackmoor. Any improvement would be great.”
She said a major concern is the right hand turn off of the North Washington Street Bridge, which is confusing to pedestrians and drivers and is almost an invitation to get hit by a car.
“This has been on our radar because we have people and performances in the park and concerts and we see the issues,” she said. “So, we wondered what we could do to mitigate those pedestrian concerns. It really did come to the top of our list though when the gentleman got hit and killed this year. They did find him here by the Park.”
At this point, the traffic engineer is looking into it, but one thing that could come out of the study is to perhaps put up some fencing to prevent people from scurrying back and forth across Chelsea Street to the businesses and playing hopscotch with oncoming traffic trying to make the stoplight. Other suggestions could be signage, or re-routing pedestrians to go under by the locks.
“I think it will be a combination of signage, re-routing pedestrians and some safety measures,” she said.
Another part of it will be having traffic safety and crosswalk safety programming with children during any summer concerts and events that take place in City Square. With the prospect of outdoor concerts being a real possibility in June, July, August and beyond, Bloodwell said they are hoping to use the grant to bring down a Police Office or Traffic Safety Officer to run programming before the summer events that train children how to safely cross the street.