MALDEN — A comprehensive plan to reconfigure some of Malden’s most-used streets and intersections is close to becoming a reality if state funding is approved.
The citywide project is called the Complete Streets program and the City Council is poised to take a vote of endorsement on a list of 23 improvements in virtually every busy traffic spot in the community.
The Complete Streets program targets community areas where improvements are needed to make roads safer and more accessible to pedestrians, bicyclists, and people with disabilities.
The project list has already been submitted to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (DOT) for review which will determine which projects would receive funding.
The proposed 23-project list would cost $1.5 million to complete, according to the funds request, and take about two years if all the projects were undertaken and completed.
If approved for maximum funding, the Malden project would be eligible for up to $400,000 annually in Mass. DOT grants toward the total cost, according to Ward 1 City Councilor Peg Crowe, who served on the original Complete Streets Task Force.
Crowe said the Complete Streets program does require City Council approval. “No changes can be made, those were all completed by the task force, but it does require Council endorsement,” Crowe said. “It’s a project that would be very beneficial for our city.”
Some of projects on the list include reshaping some traffic configurations in Malden Square (Salem Street, Main Street and Ferry Street), Maplewood Square (Lebanon, Salem and Maplewood streets), and Main Street and Winter Street in the Forestdale neighborhood and Charles and Main streets in the western end of Malden Square.
One major proposed project would be dramatic, a plan to change Broadway/Route 99 on Malden’s east side from four lanes to three lanes of travel.
Two of the heftiest estimated price tags are the proposals for the two ends of Malden Square. At the main hub of Salem, Main and Ferry streets, the proposal includes installing curb extensions at the Salem St. crosswalk; Upgrade pedestrian signals and add countdown timers to the remaining pedestrian signals; Lower traffic light on Main Street approach, add “No Turn on Red” sign; Add tactile strips to curb ramps. This project would cost $121,488 and Malden is seeking $110,444 in Mass. DOT funding.
At the Charles and Main intersection on the south side of Malden Square, with an estimate of $92,433, the project would include adding a refuge island on the Main Street northbound side to protect pedestrians/cyclists with a curb; Moving the stop bar behind new crosswalk; Adding bicycle/pedestrian crossing signs; Squaring off southwest corner curb to reduce speed for those vehicles turning right from Charles with flex posts; Adding “No Turn on Red” on Main Street to Charles Street and Charles Street to Main Street.
Ward 5 Councilor Barbara Murphy has taken over as the Council representative on the Complete Streets Task Force for this term and she is also a firm backer. “There are projects on the list that we could not have in our community unless we got state funding. This is a project we should support.”
The Complete Streets Task Force was formed in 2016. The project list was formulated, and then signed by Malden Mayor Gary Christenson. The Metropolitan Area Planning Committee (MAPC) assisted the task force in identifying suitable projects.