New Roundabout a Highlight of Major Ferry Street/Elm Street Reconstruction

September 4, 2018
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A circle is not a roundabout, and in the next few years, Everett residents traveling on Ferry Street will learn just why that is.

A key highlight of the coming complete reconstruction of Ferry Street and Elm Street in Everett in 2020/2021 is a brand new beautified roundabout at Ferry and Chelsea Streets.

Right now, the intersection divides into several directions and a stoplight tries to control it all while pedestrians struggle mightily to cross the street or avoid traffic.

And bikes over there.

Forget about it.

That should change with the introduction of the new roundabout at the intersection.

“The difference between a rotary and a roundabout is a rotary is a long curve with higher speeds of 35 mph, like Sweetser Circle,” said Everett Transportation Planner Jay Monty. “A roundabout is smaller and is designed for slower speeds, around 15 mph. Roundabouts are much safer for drivers and pedestrians. With a signaled intersection, you have a lot of opportunities for conflicts with other drivers and pedestrians. In a roundabout, you always know traffic is coming from the left. There is one point of conflict for the user. It’s much more manageable.”

In addition to that, Monty said traffic moves more steadily in a roundabout because no one has to stop. It’s constant movement.

“You get full utilization at all times,” he said.

A good example of a roundabout nearby is the one that is within the Assembly Row development as one enters from Route 28.

The new Everett roundabout is part of a momentous project to do a full reconstruction of the roadways, sidewalks and infrastructure on Ferry Street from the Parkway to Malden, as well as on Elm Street from Revere to Ferry Street. The project has been designed by the City and will be constructed by the state Department of Transportation.

It will be ready for bidding in 2020, and could get started as early as the summer of 2020.

In dealing with the area at Chelsea and Ferry Streets, both the City and state decided that introducing a roundabout would be the most effective way to deal with the traffic movements, particularly for pedestrians.

Monty said the reclaimed space in the middle of the circle and on the edges would add space for green areas and better pedestrian experiences.

“The area on the edges is so wide that we can use more of that space to create more green space and wider sidewalks,” he said. “The whole area will be a better experienceÉThat is a very busy area. With the LimeBikes, one thing we learned I wasn’t expecting is from the user data that area has a lot of activity. We don’t often think of it as an Everett Square or a Glendale Square, but it’s a very active node in the City. That’s something we didn’t know.”