Javad Mirabdal, project manager for the larger Masonic Avenue Street Design Study, said the re-striping and painting measures could be implemented within a month while other requests, such as installing a red light camera at Fell and Masonic, establishing a double-fine zone for speeding, and adding thumbnail medians with signs posting 25 MPH will take longer or require further review. He added that the interim traffic calming measures will be implemented under the guidance of veteran MTA traffic engineer Manito Velasco.
Fix Masonic representatives met with MTA staff on November 9, 2010 and submitted a dozen recommendations for discouraging speeding and increasing pedestrian safety. Although neither the community group nor the traffic engineers expect the traffic calming measures to eliminate all speeding on Masonic, they do hope the changes will reduce collisions and encourage drivers to stay within the 25 MPH speed limit.
In January city planning staff completed a final report for transforming the Masonic corridor into a safer, more attractive thoroughfare for all users. The document includes recommendations to adopt a set of changes dubbed the Boulevard, an option that resulted from a series of community meetings last year involving Masonic area residents.
In the months ahead the MTA will take the Masonic project to the next level – fine-tuning the design, conducting an environmental review, if needed, and seeking approval of the plan from an MTA public hearing officer and the MTA Board of Directors. Javad Mirabdal is a likely candidate to lead the process since he has steered the Masonic study through the community planning process and the drafting of the final report. Although Mirabdal did not confirm this possibility, he did suggest that "all steps of the approval process will move forward at the same time.” He also added that he hoped the hearing could be scheduled by the end of June.
For previous stories in the A Better Masonic series, check here.