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Holland Street Safety Proposal Feedback

Or, If I was a transportation planner…

The Traffic Commission,
Justin Schreiber, Transportation Planner, Mobility Department,
Adam Polinski, Senior Transportation Planner, Mobility Department,
Katakana Ballantyne, Mayor,
Judy Pineda Neufeld, Councilor, Ward 7,
Lance Davis, Councilor, Ward 6,

Thank you for the opportunity to provide feedback on the New Protected Bike Lanes & Parking Changes on Holland Street presented on September 21, 2022. Also, thank you to everyone in Transportation for the work done so far this summer to make this area safer and more pedestrian friendly.

My name is Eleanor Ramsay-Maldonado and I have owned a home near the corner of Cameron and Holland since 1993. I’m currently car-free by choice and am a frequent pedestrian, user of Mass Transit, and a former/occasional cyclist. My 85 year old disabled mother has a car and placard and lives with us.

After attending the Zoom-only presentation, listening to all of the speakers, and studying the City plans, I am concerned about the significant use-change for this part of Somerville. A recent tragic accident has created a situation where the City is proposing a retrofitted “protected lane” for cyclists running the length of Holland St from Teele Square to Davis Square. Rather than make the streets safer for everyone, this plan reduces shared access for hundreds of residents and has the potential to create a dangerous speed-corridor that would continue to put pedestrians at risk.

Because I feel so strongly about this neighborhood, I have spent some time envisioning a modified proposal that also focuses on traffic calming and pedestrian safety. This feedback and Plans are attached as a PDF.

Rather than banishing parking for residents and visitors and creating a car and cycle commuter corridor, we need to reduce the speed of all vehicles. We also should be honest about E-Bikes, which can reach speeds of 15+ miles per hour and are increasingly being used by bike commuters. Narrow bike lanes put E-Bikes, powered scooters and aggressive riders in the same row as slower riders, Blue Bike riders and children.

I have hoped for traffic calming measures along this stretch of Holland St and Cameron Ave since the day I moved in. The primary cause of the backups, and danger to pedestrians, cyclists, and drivers alike, is the speed that all vehicles achieve going downhill on Holland from Teele Square. Without a Stop sign, they fly through the intersection, increasing speed towards Davis Square unless traffic slows them down. This also causes Cameron Ave, which has a Stop sign and a bike lane on the uphill length, to become hopelessly backed up, sometimes as far down as the Cambridge line, every single weekday for hours at a stretch.

Alternative Proposal

Slide-Show of my plans, that highlights some of my concerns and proposed modifications.

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Yart Sale!

UPDATE: The Yart Sale was a lot of fun. Thanks for everyone who stopped by on this sunny day.

Some of the minky and velvet pillows I’ve made for the Yart Sale. Mick and I are raising money for UNICEF and Planned Parenthood. Come haggle with Mick over the weird stuff he’s found… or just say howdy!

Minky and velvet pillows
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Somerville Open Studios

Dress created for 2022 Beyond the Pattern (in progress)

Somerville Open Studios occurs the first weekend in May (This year, it’s April 30-May 1, 2022). It’s a chance for the hundreds of artists living and working in Somerville to open their homes, studios or participate in group shows and marketplaces. SOS, as it’s affectionately known, had to be cancelled in 2020 and ran as a limited, mostly online event in 2021. This spring, the it returns with 300+ artists sharing open studios and outside markets and open backyards.

Fabrics and Homegoods by Eleanor Ramsay at Spoonflower

The Beyond the Pattern fashion show, a lively and popular Open Studios event that I participated in in 2018 and 2019 was cancelled during 2020 and 2021. We’d hoped to have a static display at Bow Market this year, but that was also cancelled. Alas, the spiritual garment I made to show at that display will have to wait. Weather permitting (and it looks like it’s going to be a nice weekend), I will have samples and some work to share on my porch. See the SOS map and calendar for more details about the artists.