RIDOT: Extreme Mendon Road traffic problem is temporary

RIDOT: Extreme Mendon Road traffic problem is temporary

Workers are continuing to install curbs and sidewalks along the Diamond Hill Road roundabout project. According to an Oct. 11 update from the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, other ongoing work includes utility and drainage installation requiring alternating one-way traffic on Diamond Hill, from Industrial Road on one side of the roundabouts to Angell Road on the other, from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday to Friday.

CUMBERLAND – It’s a question that’s flummoxed the town for more than a week: Why does it seem like traffic on the already busy Mendon Road has at times ground to an almost complete halt?

And while many people are suggesting that it might have something to do with drivers seeking to avoid the new roundabouts on Diamond Hill Road, Mayor Jeff Mutter said he doesn’t think it’s related to that project and people trying to find another way home. He said he’s seen that topic being discussed on Facebook in the last week, but doesn’t have an answer right now.

The roundabouts, in fact, have been getting better reviews of late, with residents reporting the pleasant surprises of shorter backups coming off I-295 and a better flow of traffic in the whole area. And traffic on Diamond Hill Road seems just as busy, according to observers.

Charles St. Martin, spokesman for the Rhode Island Department of Transportation, said on Tuesday that suggestions by some motorists of an issue with a traffic light on the roadway are correct.

“It appears a private contactor working over there cut into a traffic detection loop,” he said. “We’re looking into it.”

One resident this week reported waiting through seven red lights near CVS to finally get through the intersection. Motorists are reporting some of the heaviest traffic they’ve ever seen in both directions, particularly at rush hour.

Several residents suggested that the issue of late seems to be that the timing of the light near Honey Dew and the Chimney Hill Apartments seems to be off. There’s construction work there tying in with the light, and cones have been left on the trigger points, said resident Kerry Feather. She cited a long backup as only two cars at a time were getting through the light, with no cars needing to turn from Chimney Hill.

Another resident agreed, saying the light stays green for only about 10 seconds.

Traffic and speeding remain hot topics in Cumberland, particularly as more people seem to be trying to find alternate ways through town and traffic is seemingly increasing on certain side roads.

Officials have repeatedly bemoaned the fact that Cumberland was never built for the kind of traffic it has now, with the fast-growing community seeing more and more development off of its two main corridors. There are few major outlets off Mendon Road or Diamond Hill Road, both state roads, often leaving traffic to bottleneck if there is an issue.

Mayor Jeff Mutter and his team are starting to tackle some of the traffic issues, planning a series of traffic-calming measures to be implemented over the next year.

Comments

SOMETHING needs to be done with speeding through Westwood-Forestdale Dr. streets. Complaints are NOT working !!

Officials: "repeatedly bemoaned the fact that Cumberland was never built for the kind of traffic it has now"
Also Officials: green lighting condo, apartment, and subdivision developments all over town.

Understanding your frustration...but Officials can only approve building(s) when all state and local laws are being followed. They can't stop people from developing and profiting from their own land. (Much like when our homes/neighborhoods were approved)

The biggest part of the problem is the natural shape and main road layout.

A road system with only two main north/south routes, that can't be widened along with limited cross roads creates many natural bottlenecks.

Better use of traffic controls (different timings at different times of the day) and pattern flows (rotaries) can help.

Also people NOT blocking intersections while trying to get through a traffic light would help too.