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What's JP got that Somerville doesn't?

A state plan to rip out a collapsing overpass, of course. Some folks are arguing the state should do the same thing to the McCarthy Overpass on McGrath Highway, rather than spending money on repairs to extends its life for another 10 years.

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The answer to that question is "traffic congestion": 4pm traffic stand-stills on two-way single-lane Centre Street. For people in cars and buses, that means waiting in traffic while cars up ahead block the intersection trying to make a safe left turn onto some residential side street. Is traffic RE-engineering an science that never reached Boston?

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Yeah, because when I think East Somerville at rush hour, I think "uncongested traffic panacea."

McGrath has higher throughput than the Arborway, so they;'d have to think very carefully about ways not to screw up that whole area, but trying to convince us that the two situations aren't analogous because traffic is unique to JP is probably not going to work.

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and traffic science has found, that after some level of use, increasing or decreasing capacity has no returns on traffic congestion.

You can widen 128, but more people will flock to it to use it, and the cars already using it will spread out slightly more to make use of the new space. While maximum speeds reached go up, it will cause more accidents and more traffic jams because of higher stop and go speeds, raising travel times.

For cities the best way to alleviate traffic, as paradoxical as it seems, is to make it harder and more costly to use cars in the city. That drives people to different routes (which end up thinning traffic and reducing times), and towards public transportation.

Removing parkways and retuning them to city level throughways like the major streets downtown, or commonwealth, actually reduces traffic and travel times for those that absolutely have to use a car in the city.

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If you think Somerville is free from traffic congestion, I invite you to take a leisurely drive down Somerville Avenue through Union Square any weekday morning or evening. Mind you, don't plan to get anywhere quickly.

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How exactly is this an argument for eliminating an overpass which provides one of the few delay-free bypass routes of Union Square?

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Traffic through Somerville can be handled by an at grade roadway that replaces the overpass. This road redesign could do for Somerville what the Rose Kennedy Greenway has done for Boston -- removing the wall that divides the city will reconnect the neighborhoods that highway engineers in the 1950's ignored. McCarthy exit ramps are very unsafe for pedestrians, bicyclists and traffic. This is something that will benefit local traffic and people living in Somerville.

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I'm betting not.

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I have never found the bike lane on Centre to be particularly crowded.

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You mean those people that park a foot or so out in the bike lane, 3-4 feet from the curb, right? They *are* annoying.

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they have thousands of Subaru Foresters!

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So what would be the effect of taking it down? The short question is "would it be beneficial?"

I don't know much about JP, but I know at least that one is only two intersection and perhaps good timing would may allow only add negligible traffic time while becoming a major boon to the neighborhood.

For this one, this takes a whole number of intersections of both the neighborhood and major roads versus just two major roads. Also unlike JP, where there's the working Orange Line and about 3 others roads plus I-93 in a north-south route, there's only three roads in the area: 99, 28, and I-93. So taking it down might not mean much to the paradox where reducing capacity may make people take more optimal routes (or times). My understanding of that paradox only holds true if there are other routes to redistribute.**

**Granted, the Green Line is expanding north. There could be a good 10-20 years before this get teared down versus that line providing another artery into Boston. Thinking about it, how much is it to repair this overpass versus the starting steps to the Green Line (moving Lechmere plan).

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The numbers show that 93 can handle all the capacity and that 70% of the trips on McGrath are local. Removing McGrath as a highway and bringing back the city streets of Medford Ave, Somerville Ave and Washington Street would reduce pollution and make it easier for people who drive, bike and take the bus to get from one side of the city to the other.

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Can you show me the study? I thought the above said they haven't done that yet.

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If the trips are local, how could 93 handle them? 28 is the best route *from* 93 to much of East Somerville, East Cambridge, and Kendall Square.

If the at-grade replacement for the McGrath overpass would be anything like the intersection of McGrath and Broadway (which was reconstructed into its hideous mile-wide form just a few years ago), then as a pedestrian I'd *strongly* support keeping the overpass.

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But then...then...then we'd lose that ridiculous spaghetti under the overpass that makes getting around in that area by car nearly impossible!

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No more disco parties under the bridge??

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I live about three blocks from McGrath. I drive on it all the time, but I would still like to see it come down. The traffic problems on the surface streets around McGrath are largely a result of the overpass itself. Have you ever wondered why Washington Street backs-up for blocks while Somerville Ave (a mere block away) does not? The overpass and the on/off ramps make a mess of the streets and channel all of the traffic into a few major streets (all of which are poorly marked: no crosswalks, no bike lanes, and often no vehicle lanes). Why do traffic planners always come up with the most complicated solutions to basic problems? Turn right to go straight? Drive straight to go left? Do a U-turn underneath? What the wha??

Give us back a network of surface streets that are intuitive to navigate with left turn lanes, "No turn on reds," protected bike lanes, crosswalks (yes, actual crosswalks!), etc. Pretty it up with some historic lights, park benches, trees, fancy extras, etc. This will make the area more attractive, bring in new businesses and companies that like being close to Union Sq, bring in jobs, and reduce Somerville's reliance on residential property taxes. Sounds good to me.

Look, McGrath will always be a busy street. It's a city after all. But it doesn't need to be a highway. We don't need that hulking eyesore cutting through our neighborhood. I don't feel that bad for the people who cry that it will take an extra minute to drive through the area during peak rush hour. The benefits outweigh the inconvenience. And it it’s really that inconvenient, get on a bike (it’s faster anyway), take the bus, or walk.

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What a stupid idea. We've have to deal with bike lanes being put on narrow streets, been told to brace for a "pilot" program to test out angled parking on Bow Street, and now they want to take down McCarthy overpass? Somerville has been doing just fine these past few centuries the way it is. Maybe the mayor and the other folks running Somerville could focus on their jobs and ways to save residents money instead of spending it on more parades, festivals and ideas like this.

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Tell me about it! That bridge has been there for a few hundred years and they think it should just be torn down?

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