WORCESTER - Kelley Square soon will be the gateway to a ballpark. So perhaps appropriately, traffic engineers evoked a classic baseball snack in their latest plans to redesign the intersection: a peanut.

“No improvement we ever propose is going to be perfect, but this seems to be an alternative that people can really get behind,” said Don Cooke, a consultant with the engineering firm VHB. Mr. Cooke said the design, which was presented along with three other design options at an Oct. 24 public hearing, was rated to be an improvement by 73 percent of that hearing’s attendees. “This hybrid design has significantly fewer conflict points than today.”

But some conflict points arose.

“You’re converting streets into highways, making the place uninhabitable to pedestrians,” said Steve Mita of Holden. Mr. Mita compared the design to Alewife in North Cambridge, calling it completely antithetical to the pedestrian-based development the city is encouraging in the Canal District. “It’s very disturbing.”

About 100 people gathered at the Worcester Academy performing arts center Wednesday for a presentation by the Massachusetts Department of Transportation on a project to improve Kelley Square.

In an effort to improve safety and multimodal accessibility at the intersection, the redesign is occurring as the city embarks on a $240 million redevelopment project that will add a minor-league baseball stadium for the Worcester Red Sox, hotels and apartments to the Canal District.

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It was the third meeting hosted by the agency, incorporating feedback from an Oct. 10 charrette and the Oct. 24 meeting, where MassDOT presented four draft options for the city’s most notorious intersection. Construction is scheduled to start in October 2019, with the project completed by May 2020.

Mr. Cooke said MassDOT evaluated each of the four options, in addition to more than 500 comments, and will take feedback at more public meetings to come. But what it can say so far is that adding traffic signals to the intersection (Option 1) resulted in long wait times and queuing traffic. A single roundabout (Option 2) was not possible in so large and irregularly shaped a square. That left Options 3 and 4, traffic peanuts with various one-way street reconfigurations.

Engineers ultimately selected to pursue Option 4 for the 10 percent design phase. This option consists of a peanut-shaped traffic pattern in the center of the square. Traffic on Water Street and the north side of Harding Street would continue to flow in the same directions as now, but Millbury Street and the south side of Harding Street would switch directions. A signal would be added at the Interstate 290 westbound off-ramp, which would be right-turn only.

Mr. Cooke said the design provides a traffic calming effect, shorter pedestrian crossings, a shared-use path for bikes and pedestrians (it would Worcester’s first separated bike lane, going northbound on Harding Street) and helps to connect the Green Island and Canal District neighborhoods.

Most people at the meeting asked questions about the design and suggested design tweaks. Monica Cohen, a Vernon Street resident, for instance, suggested it be made physically impossible to make the left-hand turn from the I-290 westbound off-ramp, noting that “Worcester drivers drive a little creatively.”

Other suggestions included encouraging as many trees and impervious surfaces as possible and adding means to discourage pedestrians from jaywalking.

But several people panned elements of the design, particularly concerned about its impact on pedestrians.

“It’s grotesque. If you want cars, you do things like this,” said resident Jo Hart, urging that MassDOT scrap the whole plan and start over. “Kelley Square is interesting as it is, and it works … what you’re doing is wrecking something people like and works.”

Walter Henritze said the design would increase traffic and speeds in the square.

“I think it’s a project designed for (motorized) traffic,” he said.

Meanwhile, Robert Williams, a business owner on Millbury Street, shared concerns of City Councilor-at-large Khrystian King that the design eliminates parking spaces crucial for making deliveries to businesses in the area.

“You’re overanalyzing, doing too much,” Mr. Williams said. “(Kelley Square) has character, the things in a city people like have character.”