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Main Street (Route 10) and South Street Transportation Safety Study

Final Report

May 2017

Prepared under the direction of the Pioneer Valley Metropolitan Planning Organization for:
City of Easthampton

Prepared by:
Pioneer Valley Planning Commission
60 Congress Street
Springfield, MA 01104

Prepared in cooperation with the Massachusetts Department of Transportation and the U.S. Department of
Transportation. The views and opinions of the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission expressed herein do not reflect
those of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation or the U.S. Department of Transportation.
TABLE OF CONTENTS

I. INTRODUCTION ...................................................................................................... 1
A. Study area ............................................................................................................. 1
II. EXISTING TRANSPORTATION CONDITIONS .................................................... 2
A. Average Daily Traffic and Speed ......................................................................... 2
B. Hourly Vehicle Volumes ...................................................................................... 3
C. Safety.................................................................................................................... 5
1. Crash Rate......................................................................................................... 5
2. Collision Diagram............................................................................................. 6
D. Signal Warrant Analysis....................................................................................... 8
1. Intersection Control Beacon ............................................................................. 8
E. Level of Service Analysis .................................................................................... 9
III. RECOMMENDATIONS ....................................................................................... 11
1. Access Management ....................................................................................... 11
2. Sight Distance ................................................................................................. 11
3. Pavement Markings ........................................................................................ 12
4. Pedestrian Accommodations .......................................................................... 12
5. Enhanced Intersection Control ....................................................................... 13
IV. APPENDIX ............................................................................................................ 14

LIST OF FIGURES
Figure 1 - Study Area Map ................................................................................................... 1
Figure 2 - Turning Movement Counts .................................................................................. 4
Figure 3 - Collision Diagram ................................................................................................ 6

LIST OF TABLES
Table 1 - Annual Crashes 2010 to 2016................................................................................ 5
Table 2 - Crashes Depicted in Collision Diagram ................................................................ 7
Table 3 - Signal Warrant Analysis Results ........................................................................... 8
Table 4 - Level of Service (LOS) Designations for Unsignalized Intersections .................. 9
Table 5 - Existing Level of Service .................................................................................... 10

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I. INTRODUCTION
The City of Easthampton requested the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) to perform
a study of congestion and safety at the intersection of Main Street (Route 10) with South Street
as part of the federal fiscal year 2017 Unified Planning Work Program (UPWP). This study
quantifies existing congestion and reviews recent crash history at the intersection to identify
factors contributing to safety problems in this area. Potential improvement alternatives were
analyzed to provide the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and the City of
Easthampton with options on how to reduce the number of crashes as well as improve traffic
flow and safety at the intersection.

A. STUDY AREA
Main Street, designated as State Route 10, is an arterial roadway serving a variety of commercial
and residential land uses. It connects to Route 141 at the center of Easthampton less than a mile
to the north. The posted speed limit is 35 miles per hour in both directions in the vicinity of the
intersection. Main Street falls under both state and local maintenance jurisdiction. It is state
maintained south of the intersection and locally maintained north of the intersection. The
statewide route log website was used to gather attributes for Route 10 in the study area. This
website can be accessed at: http://services.massdot.state.ma.us/mrla/RouteSelection.htm.
Figure 1 - Study Area Map

https://www.axisgis.com/EasthamptonMA/

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The surface width of Main Street (Route 10) is 24 feet at the intersection. It has a listed right of
way width of 60 feet north of the intersection and 61 feet south of the intersection. One travel
lane is provided in each direction. In the eastbound direction, there is no sidewalk or shoulder
before the intersection with South Street. East of its intersection with South Street, Route 10
provides a 4 foot sidewalk. In the westbound direction, Route 10 has a 6 foot shoulder and a 4
foot sidewalk that begins west of the intersection. A crosswalk is provided across Main Street
immediately west of the intersection.
South Street provides one travel lane in each direction and serves mostly residential land uses.
The posted speed limit is 30 miles per hour on both approaches to the intersection. A sidewalk
connects residential uses on the western side of South Street, however, the sidewalk appears to
have been paved over to accommodate parking for the College Highway Variety business
located on the southwest corner of the intersection. There is a crosswalk across South Street
immediately south of the intersection. The Manahan Rail trail, crosses South Street
approximately 1000 feet to the south of this intersection.
Main Street intersects with South Street to form a four way unsignalized intersection with South
Street operating under “STOP” sign control. At the time of the field visit, it was noted that
pavement markings were very faded in the vicinity this intersection. Commercial site driveways
serving College Highway Variety and the Old Colony Package Store intersect with both Main
Street and South Street in close proximity to the intersection. The two stores are located on the
opposite corners along the southern side of the intersection. Parking for both businesses is not
marked, and vehicles were observed to park wherever was convenient on the property. This
interferes with sight distance for vehicles attempting to enter the intersection from the
northbound approach of South Street. “Dangerous Intersection” warning signs are located on all
four approaches to intersection.

II. EXISTING TRANSPORTATION CONDITIONS


This section provides a technical evaluation of the transportation conditions at the intersection of
Main Street at South Street. It includes a presentation of data collected, crash experience, traffic
operations analysis, as well as observations and summaries derived from the analysis. Copies of
all traffic count data are included as an Appendix to this document.
A. AVERAGE DAILY TRAFFIC AND SPEED
The Pioneer Valley Planning Commission (PVPC) collected average daily traffic counts and
speed data along all four approaches of the intersection midweek in October 2016. Tables
summarizing traffic counts by direction of travel at each approach are included in the Appendix.
The posted speed limit along both approaches of Main Street (Route 10) in Easthampton is 35
miles per hour (MPH.). The average speed of vehicles travelling on Main Street was 27.5 MPH.
The posted speed limit on South Street is 30 MPH. The average speed of vehicles travelling on
South Street was 18.5 MPH. These values were calculated after combining data for both
approaches of each street while taking into account the speed of vehicles moving in both
directions. It should be noted that traffic counters were positioned in close proximity to the
intersection in order to increase the accuracy of vehicle volume data. As a result, the measured

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vehicle travel speeds are not indicative of true “free flow” speeds as they include a number of
vehicles, particularly on South Street, that are slowing down as they approach the intersection.
B. HOURLY VEHICLE VOLUMES
Hourly traffic counts were conducted at the intersection during the month of November 2016.
These counts are known as manual Turning Movement Counts (TMCs). These hourly counts
were taken by PVPC during peak commuter periods. The weekday peak commuter periods occur
during the morning hours of 7:00 AM to 9:00 AM and the afternoon hours of 4:00 PM to 6:00
PM. TMC’s were conducted to identify the peak four consecutive 15 minute periods of traffic
through the intersection. The four consecutive peak 15 minute periods are added up to constitute
the Peak Hour Volume. The peak hour of traffic volume represents the most critical period for
operations at a specific location, which will be the focus of part of the analysis conducted in this
study.
The TMC data also identifies the number of heavy vehicles on a roadway. Heavy vehicles
include trucks, recreational vehicles and buses. The percentage of heavy vehicles in the traffic
flow is an important component in calculating the serviceability of a corridor or an intersection.
Trucks impact traffic flow because they occupy more roadway space than passenger cars and
have poorer operating capabilities with respect to acceleration, deceleration and maneuverability.
Weekday morning and afternoon peak hour traffic volumes are shown in Figure 2. A total of 907
vehicles were recorded to have entered the intersection during the morning peak hour between
7:45 AM to 8:45 AM. This number increased to 1,129 vehicles during the afternoon peak hour
between 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM. Approximately 1% of vehicles along Main Street were classified
as heavy vehicles during both peak hours. Very few heavy vehicles were observed on South
Street during the peak hours.

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Figure 2 - Turning Movement Counts

Morning Peak Hour 7:45 AM to 8:45 AM

Main Street (Route 10)


South Street

4 248
12 2
37
38
25

84
26
349 47
12 19

South Street
Main Street (Route 10)

N
Afternoon Peak Hour 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Main Street (Route 10)
South Street
42
369
12
37
63
60

57
71
355 33
18 7

South Street
Main Street (Route 10)

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C. SAFETY
PVPC obtained the crash history for the intersection of Main Street at South Street from two
sources. Crash reports for incidents occurring during the most recent calendar years of 2014,
2015, and 2016 (through October) were provided by the Easthampton Police Department. In
addition, crash history data for calendar years 2010 to 2013 was obtained from MassDOT’s
online "Crash Portal Map". The map can be accessed at:
https://services.massdot.state.ma.us/crashportal/.

1. Crash Rate
The intersection crash rate was calculated via a worksheet developed by MassDOT. An
intersection's crash rate represents the crash rate per million entering vehicles which takes into
consideration the average number of annual crashes and the number of vehicles that enter the
intersection over the course of an average day. In theory, crash rates increase as traffic volume
along the roadway increases or as the potential for conflict increases. The crash rate at the
intersection of Main Street with South Street was calculated to be 1.05 using total crashes during
the five consecutive years from 2010 to 2014. This rate is significantly higher than the average
crash rate of 0.70 for unsignalized intersections within the MassDOT District 2 region.
Reviewing the crash history at this intersection between 2010 and 2016 revealed an average of
4.8 crashes per year (Table 1). Thirty four crashes occurred at this intersection over seven years.
Sixty percent of these crashes were property damage crashes.
Table 1 - Annual Crashes 2010 to 2016
Total
Year Number of Crash Severity Count
Crashes
Property Damage Only 1
2010 4
Non- Fatal Injury 3
Property Damage Only 3
2011 4
Non- Fatal Injury 1
Property Damage Only 3
2012 4
Non- Fatal Injury 1
Property Damage Only 1
2013 6
Non- Fatal Injury 5
Property Damage Only 4
2014 6
Non- Fatal Injury 2
Property Damage Only 4
2015 5
Non- Fatal Injury 1
Property Damage Only 5
2016 5
Non- Fatal Injury 0
Total 34

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2. Collision Diagram
PVPC obtained crash reports from the Easthampton Police Department for three calendar years:
from January 2014 through October 2016. The objective was to analyze collision patterns and
determine factors that may contribute to crashes at this intersection.
Based on data in the crash reports, each crash was depicted graphically in a collision diagram to
identify patterns of crashes (Figure 3). Numbers listed in the collision diagram refer to the
collision ID number as listed in Table 2 which includes more details on each crash.
Figure 3 - Collision Diagram

The collision diagram shows a mix of crashes that did not appear to be influenced by weather or
road surface conditions. A cluster of angle collisions at the South Street northbound approach is

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likely a result of restricted sight distance. A field visit confirmed that sight distance can be
restricted as a result of parking associated with the two businesses on the corners of the
intersection. Four of the crashes also were a result of vehicles disobeying the “STOP” sign.
Seven of the crashes occurred during the traditional weekday peak hour of traffic.
Table 2 - Crashes Depicted in Collision Diagram

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D. SIGNAL WARRANT ANALYSIS
The Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices (MUTCD) identifies eight different Warrants to
evaluate whether an intersection meets the minimum requirements for signalization. One or more
Warrants must be satisfied to justify a traffic signal. However, engineering judgment dictates
whether an intersection warrants the installation of a signal. The installation of a traffic signal
must improve the safety and operation of the location under study. Results of the signal warrant
analysis conducted for the intersection of Main Street with South Street in Easthampton is
presented below in Table 3.
Out of the eight Warrants for installation of a traffic signal, Warrant1 – "Eight Hour Vehicular
Volume" is generally considered the most important Warrant because it requires minimum
volumes to be met on both the major and minor streets for at least eight hours. Warrant 2 – "Four
Hour Vehicular Volume" and Warrant 3 – "Peak Hour Volume" also requires minimum volumes
to be met, but within a shorter time frame. Warrant 7 – Crash Experience requires 80% of the
volume requirements of Warrant 1 to be satisfied, as well as at least 5 crashes of a type
correctable by traffic signalization to have occurred over the last year. This Warrant also requires
that less restrictive remedies such as improved signage and pavement markings to have been
tried and failed to reduce crashes before a signal can be installed.
PVPC utilized the Warrant Working Sheet developed by the Pennsylvania Department of
Transportation (PennDOT) to conduct this analysis. The detailed calculations of the applicable
warrants are attached in the Appendix.
Table 3 - Signal Warrant Analysis Results
Warrant Description Status
1 Eight Hour Volume Not Satisfied
2 Four Hour Volume Not Satisfied
3 Peak Hour Volume Not Satisfied
4 Pedestrian Volume Not Applicable
5 School Crossing Not Applicable
6 Coordinated Signal System Not Applicable
7 Crash Experience Not Satisfied
8 Roadway Network Not Required

The above table shows that the intersection does not meet the requirements of any of the
Warrants to justify or require the installation of a traffic signal. However, the intersection has a
documented history of safety problems which can be concluded from the higher crash rate
compared to similar intersections with the Pioneer Valley Region. As a result, there are other
corrective measures and improvements which could help in improving safety at this location that
have been summarized in the recommendations section of this report.

1. Intersection Control Beacon

An intersection control beacon is a flashing beacon to supplement existing traffic controls and
provide advance warning to motorists of the approaching intersection. A flashing yellow beacon

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is displayed for the major street and a flashing red beacon for the minor street. Typically
mounted over the center of the intersection, the intersection control beacon may be used at
intersections that demonstrate a need for improved safety but that do not meet the requirements
for the installation of a traffic signal.

E. LEVEL OF SERVICE ANALYSIS


Capacity and delay characteristics of the Main Street at South Street intersection were examined
to determine the existing Level of Service (LOS). LOS is an indicator of operating conditions on
a roadway under different volumes of traffic. The 2010 Highway Capacity Manual defines six
levels of service: ‘A’ through ‘F’. These six LOS designations are described by the amount of
vehicular delay for an unsignalized intersection (Table 4).
A number of operational factors could influence the LOS. They include geometry, travel speeds,
traffic delay, and number of pedestrians. Depending on the time of the day and year, a roadway
may operate at varying Levels of Service. Level of Service ‘A’ represents the best operating
conditions and is an indicator of ideal travel conditions with vehicles operating at or above
posted speed limits with little or no delays. Conversely, LOS ‘F’, or failure, generally indicates
forced flow conditions illustrated by long delays and vehicle queues. Level of Service ‘C’
indicates a condition of stable flow and is generally considered satisfactory in rural areas. Under
LOS ‘D’ conditions, delays are considerably longer than under LOS ‘C’, but are considered
acceptable in urban areas. At LOS ‘E’ the roadway begins to operate at unstable flow conditions
as the facility is operating at or near its capacity.
Table 4 - Level of Service (LOS) Designations for Unsignalized Intersections

Average Control Delay


LOS Expected Delay To Minor Street
(seconds/vehicle)
A Little or no delay 0.0 to 10.0
B Short traffic delays >10.0 to 15.0
C Average traffic delays >15.0 to 25.0
D Long traffic delays >25.0 to 35.0
E Very long delays >35.0 to 50.0
F Extreme delays >50.0
Source: Highway Capacity Manual
At an unsignalized intersection, LOS is determined by the average total delay which is defined as
the total elapsed time from when a vehicle stops at the end of a queue to when the same vehicle
departs from the stop line. The basic assumption at an unsignalized intersection is that through
moving traffic on the major street is not hindered by other movements. In reality, as minor street
delays increase, vehicles are more likely to accept smaller gaps in the traffic stream causing
through moving vehicles to reduce speed and suffer some delay. The left turn movement off the
minor street approach is the most heavily opposed movement and typically suffers the greatest
delay. Therefore, this movement is used as a gauge to determine the overall operations at an
unsignalized intersection. The LOS calculated for the intersection is summarized in Table 5.

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Table 5 - Existing Level of Service
AM Peak Hour PM Peak Hour
Intersection Approach Delay Level of Delay Level of
Seconds Per Vehicle Service Seconds Per Vehicle Service
Main Street westbound 2.2 1.7

Main Street eastbound 0.9 2.5

South Street southbound 26.2 D 52.0 F

South Street northbound 29.1 D 44.3 E

The intersection was calculated to operate at LOS “D” during the morning peak hour and LOS
“F” during the afternoon peak hour. Delays experienced by vehicles on the South Street
southbound approach were twice as long in the afternoon compared to the morning peak period.
Traffic volumes were observed to be much higher on Main Street and this approach of South
Street in the afternoon. This results in less available gaps in traffic and longer delays.

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III. RECOMMENDATIONS
The following recommendations were developed to address existing traffic deficiencies at the
intersection of Main Street with South Street in the City of Easthampton based on the analysis of
existing conditions and observations after visiting the site. Four main issues were observed that
contribute to safety and congestion problems at this intersection:
1) Lack of access management
2) Poor sight distance
3) Faded pavement markings
4) Poor pedestrian accommodations
Prior to any improvements being implemented at this intersection, the City of Easthampton is
encouraged to consult with the MassDOT District 2 Office as Main Street falls under both state
and local maintenance jurisdiction.

1. Access Management
Access management problems currently have a negative impact on safety and traffic operations
at the intersection of Main Street at South Street. Unmarked, wide entrances and exits to two
neighborhood businesses as well as a lack of clear separation between roadway and parking
create traffic conflicts between vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. A lack of marked parking
spaces results in vehicles parking in locations that obstruct the line of sight of vehicles
attempting to enter the intersection from South Street. Vehicles were observed to block travel
lanes, sidewalks and the crosswalk on South Street in the vicinity of the College Highway
Variety store. An access management plan could improve traffic conditions.
 The City of Easthampton may want to negotiate with property owners of the two businesses
flanking this intersection to identify clear exits and entrances to their properties to reduce
driveway conflict as well as define parking spaces.
 Additional curbing on Main Street and South Street should be installed to clearly define the
entrance and exits to both businesses. This will also assist to guide vehicles onto the property
and reduce the speed at which vehicles enter and exit the businesses.
 Vehicles were also observed to park along South Street and block one travel lane when no
parking was available in the surrounding businesses. It is recommend that “No Parking”
signs be installed on South Street in the vicinity of the intersection to discourage on street
parking in this area.

2. Sight Distance
There are sight distance issues at the “STOP” sign on the northbound approach of South Street
making it difficult to see vehicles approaching the intersection from Main Street. Sight distance
is routinely blocked by parked vehicles on both sides of this approach. At the time of the field
inventory, large snow piles were also observed on the property of both businesses which
interfered with the exiting sight distance from South Street.

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 It is recommended that marked parallel or angle parking spaces be provided by both
businesses to create a travel lane through the parking lots and maximize sight distance for
vehicles on South Street.
 Signs, landscaping, and fences in the vicinity of the intersection should be periodically
reviewed to determine if they are interfering with sight distance for vehicles attempting to
exit South Street.
 Snow removal in the vicinity of the intersection needs to be completed within a reasonable
amount of time. Snow should be completely removed from businesses on the corners of the
intersection so as not to interfere with intersection sight distance.

3. Pavement Markings
Many of the pavement markings in the vicinity of the intersection were noted to be faded at the
time of the field inventory. Pavement markings serve as a way to provide regulatory and warning
information to the driver without diverting his/her attention from the roadway. It is important to
maintain pavement markings on a regular basis to ensure that maximum visibility is maintained.
It is recommended that the City of Easthampton improve pavement markings as defined in the
MUTCD to clearly define vehicle travel lanes, crosswalks, and stoplines. A few areas were noted
to have confusing pavement markings at the time of the field inventory and require specific
attention.
 There are no roadway edge lines on South Street. Roadway edge lines help to define the
vehicle travel lane and edge of pavement. A single white edge line on the northbound
approach of South Street would assist in defining the edge of the property for the College
Highway Variety where many vehicles were observed to park perpendicular to the roadway.
 Four of the crashes from 2014 – 2016 were noted to involve a vehicle that disobeyed the
“STOP” sign. Painting the text "STOP" on the pavement on both South Street approaches
could provide additional enforcement of the need to stop.

4. Pedestrian Accommodations
Poor pedestrian accommodations were observed at this intersection at the time of the field
inventory. In general, the intersection does not appear to meet current Americans with Disability
Act (ADA) accessibility requirements for wheelchair accessible ramps, sidewalks lack continuity
and connectivity, and parked vehicles can interfere with pedestrian access to the existing
crosswalks. The intersection also lacks a clear pedestrian refuge area on the southwest corner of
the intersection where the two crosswalks meet.
 Sidewalks leading to the existing crosswalk for the northbound approach of South Street
currently do not provide wheelchair accessible ramps. Similarly, the ramps leading to the
crosswalk for Main Street do not appear to meet Americans with Disability Act (ADA)
accessibility requirements. The City of Easthampton should work to upgrade the existing
pedestrian crossings to meet ADA standards.
 The existing bituminous concrete sidewalk on South Street ends just prior to the "College
Highway Variety" store. It appears this sidewalk may have been paved over at some point to

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provide additional parking on the side of the store. It is recommended the City of
Easthampton contact the property owner to determine if the sidewalk can be restored to
provide a continuous path for pedestrians to the intersection.
 Parked vehicles for both businesses in the vicinity of the intersection were observed to park
in close proximity to the sidewalk and crosswalks. In addition, snow piles were found to be
blocking the sidewalks and crosswalks. This interferes with how pedestrians access the
sidewalk and crosswalk safely, forcing them to walk in the street. Accumulated snow should
be cleared from sidewalks and crosswalks as soon as possible after a storm. Marked parking
spaces and defined entrances and exits for the local businesses would also assist in
discouraging parked vehicles from blocking the sidewalk and crosswalks.

5. Enhanced Intersection Control


As discussed previously, the intersection does not meet the current requirements to recommend
the installation of a traffic signal at this time. Traffic volumes, particularly during the afternoon
peak hours, are coming close to meeting the requirements of Warrant 1B, however, the warrant is
not satisfied for the full 8 hours as required by the MUTCD.
 The City of Easthampton may wish to research whether this intersection can support an
overhead intersection control beacon to visually alert drivers approaching the busy
intersection. An intersection control beacon is a flashing beacon to supplement the existing
“STOP” signs and provide advance warning to motorists of the approaching intersection.
This will require an analysis of the existing right of way to determine of the intersection can
accommodate the support structures for the beacon.
 If an intersection control beacon is not feasible, the City could consider supplementing the
existing advance intersection warning signs with flashing yellow warning beacons. Currently,
advance warning signs are posted at all approaches to the intersection. The warning beacons
should be installed on the existing signs and comply with the MUTCD.
 Similarly, in lieu of an intersection warning beacon, the existing “STOP” signs on South
Street could be upgraded to provide flashing red Stop Beacons in compliance with the
MUTCD. These circular red beacons would improve the visibility and increase awareness of
the “STOP” signs. Solar powered Stop Beacons may be an option for this intersection to
defray the cost of electricity.
 It is recommended the traffic signal warrant analysis be repeated for this intersection in the
next 3 – 5 years. It is also recommended that the City of Easthampton review the existing
right of way in the vicinity of the intersection to determine if the existing layout of the
intersection could pose difficulties for the installation of a traffic signal (if warranted) in the
future.

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IV. APPENDIX

Appendix A: Level of Service.................................................................................................


Appendix B: Crash Rate Analysis............................................................................................
Appendix C: Signal Warrant Analysis.....................................................................................
Appendix D: Traffic Counts.....................................................................................................

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