Unclogging The Rotary

Selectmen will be asked to think about solutions for the traffic clogging the Bourne Rotary at next Tuesday’s meeting. Cape Cod Commission and Massachusetts Department of Transportation representatives are expected to come in to discuss possible ways to relieve congestion and direct drivers as they navigate the circle.

It may be years before the Bourne Rotary can be eliminated, but traffic experts say there are measures that can be taken to at least ease the traffic situation, including adding some striping at the rotary, which is, in essence, just one wide lane.

Clay Schofield, a transportation engineer with the commission, said his group, which recommends traffic and safety improvements, had been asked by the DOT to come up with low-cost and high yield ideas to improve the flow of vehicles around the rotary, which is traveled heavily by visitors.

With the assistance of Beta Engineering of Norwood, a plan has been developed for adding some lane striping and signage to the circle. Among the proposals is signage showing those entering the rotary which exit to use for their destinations.

One of the thorny issues, Mr. Schofield said, is how to label those destinations for visitors. Should the signs say Falmouth, for example, or Woods Hole, for those wanting to take the ferry to the islands from those towns.

If the striping and signage work well, he can see them being used at the Otis and Barnstable airport rotaries. A similar idea was proposed in the past for Barnstable, but ran into objections, he said, adding that this plan took those objections into account.

Thomas S. Cahir, executive director of the Cape Cod Regional Transportation Authority, and former deputy secretary of the Massachusetts Executive Office of Transportation, said that, although the elimination of the Sagamore Rotary was the first priority, doing the same for the Bourne Rotary has always run a close second.

Mr. Cahir said that Paul J. Niedzwiecki, Cape Cod Commission executive director, has been looking at Exit 1 on Route 6, as well as the Bourne Rotary and Sandwich Road, looking at long-range plans for that rectangle as a whole.

As for the short term, however, Mr. Cahir also said that, for many years, it had been anticipated that the town would take over what are now the southbound lanes of MacArthur Boulevard (Bourne’s section of Route 28), which runs between the Bourne and Otis rotaries. Under that plan, new northbound lanes would be added to the Bourne landfill side of the highway.

While Mr. Cahir said he doubted that plan would ever be put fully into effect, he said he thought that a dedicated deceleration lane could be built for northbound traffic heading to Sandwich Road from MacArthur Boulevard.

Such a lane had been in discussion for years, but never implemented, due in part to the more than 10 years in which a bypass road serving Lenord G. Cubellis’s CanalSide Commons project was anticipated.
Earlier even than that, he said, was the possibility of a southside connector, a road running from the Bourne Bridge to Route 6, an idea that he said became increasingly impossible over the years, with the construction of housing developments and the Upper Cape Cod Regional Technical School on land once considered for a connector.

Tuesday’s discussion is expected to deal with both the realities of the current lay of the land, as well as economic consideration, looking at less costly measures, including signage.

The traffic discussion, originally set to come before selectmen this week, was postponed because this week’s meeting had to be canceled because the agenda was not posted in a timely manner due to a combination of illness and the fact that Monday was a holiday. The agenda should have been posted on Thursday, not the usual Friday, in order to meet Open Meeting law requirements.

Tuesday’s meeting will begin at 7 PM in the Bourne Veterans Memorial Community Center.



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