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July 10 - New Town Engineer Comments on Tricky Intersection

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By Joyce Westner

July 10, 2023.  Although “shovels were already in the ground,” when the new town engineer was hired recently, Matt Shuman is optimistic that the intersection at Wildwood St. and Woodside Rd. will do a good job of calming traffic.  Residents complain on the Winchester Residents Facebook page (which Shuman doesn’t read) that the intersection doesn’t have enough room for two lanes of traffic approaching the stop sign.  But Shuman says the Wildwood Street center line has been restriped and the Woodside lanes are of different dimensions to allow easier turning from Wildwood.

“It’s a big change,” says Shuman, “and it will take time to get used to it.”  But he and his department plus some Public Works staff have been out there many times to monitor and they watch as vehicles slow down to take the turn. “People are used to driving straight through” after stopping at the stop sign.  “And the traffic on Wildwood will have to slow down,” to accommodate cars turning right onto Woodside.  “That’s the objective of traffic calming,” he says. 

“There will be more striping and also stencils on the road saying ‘20 miles per hour’ in both directions as cars approach the curve,” he adds.  As for the concern about fire trucks being able to make the turn, they can and do, according to Shuman, especially when flashing lights and sirens warn other drivers to get out of the way. 

Asked about residents’ complaints about the increased use of “no turn on red” signs, Shuman says he’s not familiar with the particulars in Winchester but that “some communities are moving away from them” to make the intersections safer for pedestrians trying to cross. 

A Cornell graduate and a former New Yorker, Shuman was assistant town engineer from 2011 to 2014, after which he was Watertown’s town engineer.  “I’m happy to be back and working with people I worked with last time I was here.  I’m just getting my feet a little wet,” he says, and a typical day might be working with capital planning projects, storm water management, or checking on the Lynch School project plans for utilities and drainage.  He moved to the Boston area after college and now “Boston’s my home.”

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