Thank you to everyone who attended last night’s community meeting on Quaker Ridge Road. If you missed the meeting and are interested in this subject, you can view the presentation of proposed improvements or read this summary about the proposal. The core components of the project, in addition to much-needed repaving, are:

• intersection improvements, featuring better delineation of turn lanes and “smart” signals that adjust to real-time traffic conditions;

• a three-lane general configuration, with a lane for through-traffic in each direction, plus a median left-turn lane;

• new sidewalks and bike lanes to provide for multi-modal transportation options.

The design as a whole is intended to ensure smoother and safer traffic flow across the length of the Quaker Ridge corridor, while curbing excessive speeding, and making it more comfortable to walk or cycle. These provisions are consistent with a “complete streets” philosophy and with the terms of the federal/state grant that is paying for the bulk of this multi-million dollar project.

The public conversation following the presentation was very constructive, with lots of good feedback and a wide range of opinions expressed — passionate support, vocal opposition, and everything in between. It’s hard to generalize about such diverse views, but I’d say the center of gravity, the sort of median opinion, was something like: tentatively open to and positive toward the concepts presented, but with some unresolved skepticism and questions that still need to be addressed. (That’s a long, clunky phrase, but I wanted to capture accurately my overall takeaway.)

The City team will now carefully review the comments from the meeting, as well as written questions and observations that were submitted. In fact, public input has already had an effect: in response to clear community sentiment, a new “smart” signal at Van Meter Fens will be added to the design.

I must add a word of sincere gratitude to the steering committee of neighborhood, school, and house of worship representatives who worked hard over a period of many months to consider and shape the plan. Their contributions were invaluable and served to augment the professional expertise of our consultants with local perspective and experience.

Opportunities to re-think a major road are few and far between. This is a once-in-a-generation chance to address the modern needs of our city, while also anticipating the expectations, preferences, and values of the next cycle of homeowners. Let’s make the most of it.