Traffic Safety and Parking Overflow

A detailed traffic safety and parking study completed by MDM Consultants provides a carefully researched and illustrated description of several significant deficiencies of the proposed hotel/lounge/restaurant plan for the Dana Home and Mulliken Home.  This study reveals inadequacies in the developer’s traffic study as well.  We urge everyone to read this plan and have a look at the pictures showing the scope of the problem.

Bottom line: the current development plan is too large for the site: specifically the number of hotel rooms and restaurant and lounge seats require parking spaces far in excess of what is provided for, and, the parking lots are insufficiently sized to accommodate turning of delivery vehicles, and in some cases even large cars.  Finally, the egresses from the proposed parking lots are hazardous due to their location close to the Worthen Road and Mass Avenue intersection, and the Mass Avenue and Parker Street intersection (see illustration below and in traffic study linked above).  Autoturntm analysis by a professional traffic engineer shows that even trucks as small as 24 feet cannot enter and exit onto Worthen Road in a forward direction; they would have to either back in from the street or back out onto the street.

In short, the development plan in its current form is unworkable and risky.  The deficiencies in parking and traffic safety are compounded by the fact that the Worthen Road and Mass Avenue intersection is a critical Lexington gateway for pedestrians, commuters, MBTA buses (Route 76 and 62), Town Pool and Center Fields users, Hayden Rink users, high schoolers, bicyclists, and high school cross-country runners, among others.  It is not just a neighborhood issue.

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Some more details about the traffic safety and parking concerns are described below.

  • The 2 planned parking lots spill onto Worthen Rd and Mass Ave, respectively, at locations that create traffic hazards, particularly the Worthen Rd exit from the Dana Home property, see illustration below
  • The parking lots are not big enough and this will yield more on-street parking, further complicating already challenging traffic patterns and visibility
Traffic Patterns in Worthen Rd / Mass Ave Intersection
The existing driveway on Worthen Rd for the Dana Home will become exponentially busier than when it was a Senior Center, whose residents did not drive. This lot would be almost tripled in size and used by arriving and departing restaurant patrons.  Drivers on Mass Ave westbound (coming from the Center) turning onto Worthen (towards Grace Chapel) look to the left to turn right  in a break in the traffic as they merge onto Worthen (see image below).  These drivers then have only 18 feet (about one car length)  between the end of the turn and the entrance to the Worthen road lot.

Parking lot entrance will be very close to intersection

On June 2, 2011 the town’s Development Review Team wrote to the developers stating:
“There is an existing curb cut too close to the intersection. A new curb cut may be needed. The site plan should look at reconfiguring curb cuts and improving circulation.”
In addition, the second parking lot will create a new curb cut onto Mass Ave almost directly across from Parker St. This creates another traffic focal point for the intersection.

Traffic congestion from Parker St during morning rush hour

Proposed New Lot on Mass Ave

In addition to lot on Worthen Road, the developer has proposed a new parking lot situated between the properties at 2027 and 2013 Mass Ave.  A new curb cut will be required with the lot entrance/exit situated diagonally across from the Parker Street/Mass Ave intersection.  This intersection is used not only by residents but also by a large number of new, inexperienced drivers going to and from the high school.

Parking Overflow

The current Lexington by-laws on parking requirements for hotels and restaurants have been developed over years of experience with managing responsible development in Lexington. The Dana Home proposal ignores these by-laws; it does not provide enough parking spaces.

  • Town by-laws clearly specify that 1 spot per guest room and 1 spot per 3 seats in a restaurant are needed. There is also the need for a separate loading bay.
  • Calculations of parking requirements for differing levels of occupancy and hotel / restaurant overlap result in overflow parking by at least 37 cars, with as many as 45. Cars that will park on Mass Ave, Parker St, and Worthen Rd.

Increasing congestion of the Worthen Rd / Mass Ave intersection is detrimental to traffic safety for several reasons:

  • The intersection is frequently used by children and adults to access LHS, pools, town field, Hastings Park, Hayden Rec Center, and Churches
  • Winter snow piles add more obstacles and forces parked cars out further into the road
  • The progress of public safety vehicles like fire trucks and ambulances is further impeded
Loading Bay Requirements
The property plans do not indicate space for a loading bay required by law.