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Northeastern University Transportation Study Recommends Ways to Make Downtown Malden More Accessible

Monday, May 16, 2016

A group of Northeastern University Civil Engineering students in the Capstone Program developed transportation engineering solutions to improve an external client’s accessibility for pedestrians, cyclists, public transportation and vehicular traffic.  The students presented their transportation study to City of Malden officials. 

The students performed site visits, collected data and met with City and Malden Redevelopment Authority (MRA) officials in order to better understand the needs of the project area so they could develop design solutions that take into account the various new residential and economic development projects either underway or in the planning stages. Their vision for the project area was to reimagine it as “Malden Village,” a destination accessible by pedestrians, cyclists, motor vehicles and public transportation. Their goals included safe access for all roadway users and improved motor vehicle flow through the area. The students also provided an engineering estimate of costs associated with their recommendations as well as identifying potential private and public funding sources.

The study focused on the area bounded by Centre Street to the south, the intersection of Centre and Pleasant Streets to the west, Florence Street to the north and Main and Ferry Streets to the east. The area included the existing Malden Government Center, Police Station, Malden High School and Malden Center MBTA Station as well as many restaurants, commercial businesses and residential buildings. These locations are all in close proximity to the Northern Strand Community Trail, a nine-mile bike path, three miles of which crosses through Malden.

The proposed roadway improvements reallocate space to accommodate all users and offers design schemes that promote safe accessibility for each mode through the use of new planting strips and varying surface materials. The goal is to establish distinct facilities for pedestrians and cyclists that are protected from the flow of vehicular traffic. Some of the study recommendations were to install a round about at the busy Ferry, Main and Salem Streets intersection; incorporate bike lanes where possible; and shift the drop-off locations for buses and passenger cars to make the area near the Malden Center MBTA Station more pedestrian friendly and reduce pedestrian conflicts with traffic as they travel between the station and the downtown area.

Malden officials at the presentation were Mayor Gary Christenson, DPW Director Robert Knox, MRA Executive Director Deborah Burke, Business Strategy and Development Officer Kevin Duffy, City Planner Michelle Romero and City Engineer Jack Russell. Also on hand for the presentation was Steve Winslow, Malden resident, credited for his longtime advocacy for the creation of the Northern Strand Community Trail. “I am impressed with the level of detail and the effort that went into this study,” said Mayor Gary Christenson. “I look forward to the implementation of some of these great ideas.”

The Northeastern University Civil Engineering students used their classroom knowledge and past project experience to participate in this capstone project under the direction of Dr. Daniel Dulaski, P.E.  Recently, one of these capstone projects was the catalyst for a town located in southeastern Massachusetts to receive a $2.3 million state grant to implement the students’ recommendations. The students involved in the Malden project were: Meghan Debski, Peter Calves, Adam Cutler, Tiffany Ma, Tanya Welch, Teren Wong and Tyler Wong.

Northeastern University Malden Village Report

Northeastern University Malden Village Powerpoint Presentation