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City proposes eliminating Rutherford Avenue underpasses
By adamg on Wed, 10/19/2011 - 7:51am
Boston Maggie reports Charlestown residents and city planners gathered to discuss ways to improve traffic flow in the Town, explains why she doesn't buy the argument that Rutherford Avenue should be turned entirely into a surface road.
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The underpasses flood, cost
The underpasses flood, cost more money to maintain, take up more real estate that could be redistributed to pedestrians or other street-scape improvements, and make Rutherford Avenue feel more like a highway than a city street.
Now if only one of those underpasses could be relocated to Melnea Cass & Mass Ave. That mega intersection has way too much traffic directly connecting to I93 to only count on lights to maintain a Thunderdome-esque sense of order.
please no.. please god no!
Please say no to eliminating the under passes. Please say no.
This is already a traffic nightmare because of removal of the Sullivan Square overpass several years ago. The rotary doesn't work as is, and now you want to force MORE traffic into that rotary?!? There's already too much traffic in that area as is, and you want to force all of it into that rotary?!?
I mean what gives folks? people want the Casey Overpass gone, and now the McGrath Highway one gone.. Now this? The traffic has to go somewhere, folks. I'd rather keep moving than sit there at a traffic light emitting exhaust for several minutes while you wait for someone to let you into the rotary.
I love how the groups are first to scream environmental concerns, yet uh... keeping the traffic MOVING is KEY. I dont know about you but I'd rather have the traffic move QUICKLY through the intersection than sit outside my window so I can breath the exhaust.
Yes only a fraction of the traffic may only use these tunnels but that's the point. Since this is a trucker route, this is the MAIN way for trucks to get into the city (since you can't use 93). So again, do you want some smelly truck emitting exhaust sitting outside your window? I didn't think so.
These roads will never be quiet boulevards like people think they will if they remove these under/overpasses. This isn't California where there's alternative routes, or a highway system where you can get from point A to point B several different ways. Its just not like that, these are major thoroughfares. I'm really going to be laughing my head off when its nothing but one big backup on Rutherford Ave & McGrath Highways because people begged to have all these over passes taken down.
No exits off 93
That would help. Is that what you want? Otherwise, realize that the overpasses would have been just as badly hammered with traffic were they still around because of larger changes in the traffic through the area.
What might really help: if the state took a comprehensive look at fixing all the bridges so that sensible truck routes could be established - and enforced.
The Sullivan problem isn't just the demolished overpass ... and the underpasses just lead to other backups. Comprehensive traffic planning, anyone? There is no simple fix.
It's all just an exercise anyway
Capuano is not acting on this and is just sitting on the funding. He called us to a great town meeting, heard all sides, then went silent on the subject. Lots of us have emailed him looking for status updates only to receive zero replies.
I'd love to see the surface option be the result of this, but any of the proposed plans would be better than the absolute eyesore, pedestrian deathtrap (walking the rotary is like playing Frogger) that it currently in place.
Get off your ass Capuano and make things happen.
I think the opposite Swirly,
I think the opposite Swirly, I think the problem with Rutherford Ave is that they REMOVED an on ramp at city square to I-93 Northbound. (there's a southbound on ramp, but no Northbound On ramp) What's sad is there's stub ramps already there for this (and from the Tobin, which is another ramp they need to build)
Before you could get on right at City Square, now you have to drive almost all the way to Medford to get onto 93. Maybe if there was an on ramp there, we could get the vehicles off of Rutherford ave and onto 93, traffic would improve enough that removing the underpasses would be possible. Getting traffic onto the roads that were designed for it, rather than having it on roads that were not.
I cringe every time I have to go from Charlestown to 93 North. I wanna meet the idiot designer who decided that removing an on ramp there was a good idea, just so I can smack him.
Anyone know when the Tobin-to-93 N ramp was taken down? Were there / Are there any plans to replace it? The signs as you come over the Tobin are just small orange "Detour" signs. They look like a temporary fix but this being Boston I'm assuming they are permanent.
was taken down as part of the Big Dig, when the Zakim Bridge was built. I don't know why. There also used to be a ramp from City Square to I-93 north, as well as from southbound I-93 to the Tobin bridge.
As I understand it, this ramp had to be
removed in order to accommodate the northbound "outrigger" lanes that carry traffic from the Sumner Tunnel across the Zakim Bridge.
If this ramp had been retained, the only workable roadway design (if you ignore the ill-fated Scheme "Z") would have forced the Sumner traffic to merge onto the I-93 mainline prior to the tunnel exit, which would have required a very short weaving section on this ramp with the northbound off-ramp traffic to Storrow Drive.
And I was sorry to see that ramp removed - it was a very convenient way for me to access I-93 north to go home from the MIT Model RR CLub on weekends.
Surface option removes rotary
One of the key pieces of the surface option is that it removes the rotary and distributes the traffic amongst a bunch of new streets. The rotary right now is a bottleneck because all of the traffic has to go through it. The traffic analysis shows that even if all the traffic has to stay at the surface, this new street configuration will handle it better than the rotary does today.
I don't think..
I don't think it will help any. so now we're going to have to wait for cycles of lights? So this is going to be better? really?
It won't. You're going to have to wait for a bunch of cycles of lights to get thru it,and this is suppose to be better? Its not. What brainiac thought of this one.
So I renew my comment.. so sitting traffic is better than moving traffic ?
The traffic has to go
The traffic has to go somewhere, folks.
Well, you're assuming a constant level of traffic. But if traffic is bad, people will attempt to find another route or some other alternative. How about better mass transit to Everett and Revere? We could do with a new subway line.
This is a funny comment because.. I bet there's people out there who'd disagree. AND then the NIMBYs who would fight this tooth and nail (just ask the people who whine about the Green Line Extension..) saying the T has better things to spend $ on.
Then of course its getting people to RIDE it. And then of course, what about the trucks? Its not like you can transport goods on a subway line :)
I'm all for better transit but still.. its not realistic that it would work in this situation.
And yes people will find another route.. so lets jam traffic down 16 onto 28.. and on the soon to be gone McGrath overpass. Again. The traffic just doesn't disappear....
Then of course its getting
Then of course its getting people to RIDE it.
That shouldn't be too much of a problem. T ridership has been going up for years. And I'm sure there are plenty of people who don't find the Blue and Orange Lines, or Commuter Rail conveniently close, but who need to commute into Boston (or somewhere else served by the T) who would jump at it. Gas is around $4 these days, and if you're going to the city, parking can cost an arm and a leg.
Ridership is probably fairly easy.
And then of course, what about the trucks? Its not like you can transport goods on a subway line :)
First, every solo driver (most of them -- carpooling isn't very popular still) that takes mass transit removes a car from the road. That could free up a lot of capacity so that cargo has less congestion to deal with.
Second, it would not be a bad idea to make further improvements to our freight rail infrastructure so that at least for major industrial areas, the harbor, etc., we could reduce the number of trucks needed.
Third, you can actually transport goods via subway, though it's not terribly common these days. Generally it was done via trolley, rather than subway, also. Mail trolleys were fairly common, and there are several up at the trolley museum up in Kennebunkport. There's a VW cargo trolley in Germany that I know of (with a lovely set of tracks -- lawn instead of ties and rocks) which you can see here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CarGoTram
And Amsterdam was working on a 100 million Euro cargo tram system to remove delivery trucks from the roads, but it's on hold due to the economy going to hell. Pilot programs showed that it would work without disrupting passenger traffic.
Removing the underpasses
Removing the underpasses isn't necessarily good for pedestrians.
When they removed the Sullivan overpass, they had to *add* lanes to the surface roads to carry the traffic, especially since they closed all the on-ramps to 93 North between Haymarket and the Somerville Home Depot. So now we have longer queues at the traffic lights, and wider roads to walk across.
Sullivan could be a great place for development. It has a T station and an interstate highway, and is within a few miles of hundreds of thousands of people. But all of the traffic on wide surface roads and government-owned vacant lots waste it.