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$887K from state aims to improve students' walk to Stratton

Arlington has received a state award of $887,622 to pay for safe roadway crossings near the Stratton School.

stratton pride

The proposed project aims to provide a fully accessible walking route with safe roadway crossings for children and others walking to Stratton along Hemlock Street between Brattle Street and Dickson Avenue and Dickson between Hemlock and Pheasant Avenue.

The award from the state Department of Transportation will fund the estimated project cost via the Safe Routes to School program. 

Between 50 and 60 percent of school users walk to and from school , making walking safety for children a high priority for parents, town and school staff, and elected officials. The neighborhood’s steep topography, curving roadways and roadside impediments make sight distance challenging.

The steep slope on Hemlock between Yerxa Road and Dickson Avenue makes crossing hazardous for pedestrians near here. The lack of sidewalks on some stretches of Hemlock Street and Dickson Avenue put children and others in the street where safety is compromised.

What award pays for

The Stratton project envisions the following elements:

  • Remove accessibility barriers on Hemlock Street by installing ADA-compliant curb ramps and repairing deficient sidewalks;
  • Install new sidewalks on the east side of Hemlock Street between Landsdowne Road and Janet Road;
  • Install new sidewalks at Hemlock Street and Dickson Avenue intersection and continuing up Dickson Avenue to Pheasant Avenue;
  • Narrow roadway intersections on Hemlock Street at Pine Street, Yerxa Road and Dickson Avenue to slow vehicles and reduce pedestrian crossing distances; and
  • Provide safe pedestrian crossings across Hemlock Street near Janet Road and at the intersection of Hemlock Street and Dickson Avenue. Appropriate signage will also be installed.

"This investment in having safe routes to the school and around the neighborhood is crucial, and we are delighted to begin planning for this exciting next step,” said Stratton Principal Michael Hanna in a May 23 news release.

“After the significant capital investment in Stratton from the Town of Arlington a couple years ago, we are able to now become something that is increasingly rare -- a true neighborhood school.

“There are more students at Stratton School than there has been for a long time, and these students are encouraged to exercise and be active in the neighborhood.

“Additionally, once they leave Stratton, students commute on foot to their secondary schools -- Gibbs, Ottoson and the high school. This improvement will allow students to more easily move around the neighborhood together, as well as with their parents and younger siblings."

Planning to work with state consultant

The town planning department will work with MassDOT’s consultant, AECOM, to guide the project through the project initiation process this summer.

Planning expects to hold a public information session in the next couple of months.

The consultant will also shepherd the project through the design process with MassDOT’s Project Management Division, including developing a final project cost.

State funding for the program includes $15 million of Transportation Alternatives Program funds set aside for such projects in the state Transportation Improvement Program spread across federal fiscal 2022, 2023 and 2024. 

For more information, contact Daniel Amstutz, senior transportation planner, at 781-316-3093 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This report was published Thursday, May 23, 2019.

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