Unchoke the Charles River/Allston Throat

Walking and biking between the River St & BU Bridges can be greatly enhanced

The $1B reconstruction of the Mass Pike and Soldiers Field Road in Allston can also promote clean, healthy transportation along the cramped Charles River path between the River Street and BU Bridges. Chicago, Portland, Philadelphia, New York are some of the many cities improving paths and public spaces along their urban rivers and this project is an opportunity to follow suit in Boston. Locally, Kendall Square's Broad Canal boardwalk in the Charles River boardwalk provides a recent precedent.

While MassDOT's has proposed improvements to the Charles River paths in this project, including widening the notorious narrow path just downstream from the River Street Bridge, the current design does not do enough to improve 1000 feet of sub-standard path in the narrowest "throat" area.

Last year, Governor Baker and MassDOT Secretary Pollack celebrated the opening of CoveWalk, New Bedford’s newest recreational waterfront path which was built using $5 million from MassDOT. This shows MassDOT's ability to invest in local projects that promote increased connectivity and allow people to utilize all modes of transportation including bicycling and walking to reach the places they need to go.

Given the State's commitment to a future of clean transportation, rebuilding old highways should be accompanied by building excellent bike routes.

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Comments

Great idea!

By on

That area is really scary to ride in, as it's just so narrow (especially in the last bit before River St.)

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Voting is closed. 56

Bad Idea

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Why build an expensive and complicated bridge when there is free land for the taking to both widen the bicycle lanes and add separated foot path just inside the existing bicycle trail. Just eliminate a lane on Storrow. Or better still, just eliminate Storrow Drive all together.

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Voting is closed. 36

What time of day?

By on

Cars are far larger than bikes. When bikes are moving faster, there is much more travel than in one choked lane.

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Voting is closed. 25

Well, it's gettin on rush

By on

Well, it's gettin on rush hour, and Storrow westbound is green through that entire stretch.

Maybe I'd support taking some road width to improve transit. But in this case, spitefully creating a traffic jam where one doesn't exist today, to widen a bike path that could also widened without narrowing the road, doesn't help our transportation system.

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Voting is closed. 9

But if you shut down Storrow

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But if you shut down Storrow then moronic drivers won't be able to drive into the bridges there, and the water won't be filthy from gas run off, and there will be less air and noise pollution, and...oh wait those are all great things. Agreed, shut down Storrow.

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Voting is closed. 43

Putting all the traffic on

By on

Putting all the traffic on the Pike would require adding on and off ramps. That means obliterating blocks of existing city fabric to accommodate those ramps.

Expanding the riverbank is a better option and gives the state an opportunity to not only create a world class park system, but to create a natural filtration system to remediate the effects of pollution and existing contamination in the Charles river.

Currently the quality of facilities along the Charles drops like an anvil past the BU Bridge. Frankly Harvard should be chipping in a ton of money to improve the parkland fronting its campuses on both sides of the river. BU should at least pay for an accessible pedestrian bridge from their campus to the river. The current one is an embarrassment. The state should be leverage relationships with the universities, the cities of Boston and Cambridge, and the Charles River Conservancy to make great things happen.

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Voting is closed. 37

don't pay taxes, then you should at least pay infrastructure

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Agreed. It makes me sick that Harvard and BU can be the biggest land owners int he city, make enormous profits, and not be taxed on it. They should at least be forced to pay for a lot of this rebuilding.

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Voting is closed. 22

Scary to ride? The video

By on

Scary to ride? The video shows bike/pedestrian traffic flowing smoothly along the path. As long as you keep your speed under 10 mph or so, and ready to brake to 4mph if you hit congestion, it's fine.

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And ...

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You break to 4mph and try to swerve for a pothole, hit a ped, and fall into traffic.

How about this GO RIDE IT and see for yourself how bad it is.

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If you're having trouble

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If you're having trouble swerving around potholes and pedestrians, then you're traveling too fast.

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To support this proposal

email [email protected]. Address your comments as below and include your full name and mailing address.
Matthew Beaton, Secretary of Energy & Environmental Affairs
Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs
Attn: MEPA Office
Alex Strysky, EEA # 15278
100 Cambridge St Suite 900
Boston MA 02114

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Voting is closed. 33

I love the concept of separate bike and pedestranged lanes.

By on

But I hate how riled up I get when pedestrians inevitably evenly distibute themselves across both lanes, clogging up everything with no rhyme or reason, oblivious to the umpteen signs, painted pavement, and even having the gall to complain loudly about a cyclist trying to pass them. See southwest corridor for example, or Vassar street in cambridge or the red line bridge.

-signed, your local curmudgeon

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Voting is closed. 44

Yes

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Or the new ones on commercial st in the N. End or anywhere else there is a dedicated bike lane. Pedestrians are way too important to follow rules. Nothing is their fault.

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Voting is closed. 9

Providence

Rhode Island has a large number of well maintained bike paths. They insist pedestrians walk on the left, bicyclists ride on the right. Most people follow this convention. It's a bit odd at first but the result is people see when bikes are approaching and move aside (mostly) and bikes don't startle people. Wish this was done here.

As for this proposal, it's great. That section of path -- which is only a narrow sidewalk at best -- is a vestige of horrible 1950s design when there was no consideration given to enjoying the river. It's high time that mistake is corrected.

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Voting is closed. 27

Walk left?

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The idea of a standard for walkers and bikers makes tons of sense. But I wonder why walking is left and biking right? Wouldn't the other way around make more sense--typically slower travel is in the right lane and passing is left. I'm assuming there is some specific connection that the arrangement is supporting.

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Voting is closed. 16

Walk Left

Pedestrians on roadways without sidewalks are encouraged to walk on the left so they have an opportunity to make eye contact with drivers and can react (jump into the bushes) if they see a vehicle headed their way. This same logic is applied to the paths in RI.

Bikes are suppose to ride with traffic as they are considered vehicles and aren't as nimble as someone walking.

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Voting is closed. 21

SW Corridor

The design problem of the Southwest Corridor is that the bike path is the farthest from the road, but the sidewalk is right next to it. Everyone wants to be as far as possible from the traffic, but cyclists also like wider paths and smoother pavement than pedestrians care about. They should have had the bike path next to (but still very separated and protected from) the road, and the walking path on the other side of the bike path.

The options presented here have the two paths correctly oriented.

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Voting is closed. 18

Not so clear there is a problem

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I too have considered the division of which Southwest Corridor path is for peds and which is for bikes. I think in most places the designers got it right. If people cross the street to join the park (which happens all the time), they don't want to have to walk across a bikepath and then the grass to get to "their" path. Having the walking path near the street generally makes sense.

Honestly I'm just happy that there are two paths and if they decided to switch them, it wouldn't be the end of the world.

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Voting is closed. 11

Problem

Crossing a bike path is less of a problem than walking along one, for the safety of pedestrians and the convenience of all users. All of this is relatively minor, of course, but when we're thinking about new things, like these expanded Charles River Paths, we need to look at what works and what doesn't work as well in existing infrastructure. Pedestrians (understandably) (me included) prefer to walk along the SWC bike path than the sidewalks, creating some minor hazards - how do we fix this in the next round?

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Voting is closed. 3

Irony Alert

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Cyclists are angry that people are trying to use space they feel that only they should be entitled to. Of course it's because they move much slower than you, forcing you to think of others and exercise cau...hey....wait a minute...

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Voting is closed. 24

Not so

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Motorists BY LAW have to share LOCAL roads with cyclists.

Motorists DO NOT have to share FREEWAYS or LIMITED ACCESS highways with cyclists.

CYCLISTS ONLY means that you have a FREEWAY for BIKES and pedestrians should get the hell off and stay on their own path - just like you can't bike on Storrow Drive. Likewise, cyclists need to stay off the walking path.

How did you ever pass a driving test not knowing this? oh, wait - MASSACHUSETTS!

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Voting is closed. 31

This

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Bear in mind though that I have no problem if people walk single file and step aside politely as needed. But unfortunately there will always be those people that insist on line abreast formations, dogs on or not even on leashes, etc.

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Voting is closed. 15

Bike paths are not a freeway

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Bike paths are not a freeway for bikes. Pedestrians are allowed to walk across them, for example.

And while the intent is to forbid pedestrians from walking along some bike paths (not all, like the Minuteman), I don't know if there's even a law backing that up.

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Nope

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Not when they are clearly marked BIKES ONLY and there is a pedestrian trail next to them.

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That’s great, but

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Nowhere on the Southwest Corridor is there a sign that says “Bikes Only”

I saw a sign like that once along Cherry Creek in Denver, but never seen it on an off street pathway in Boston.

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Voting is closed. 11

Yes, local roads: small portions of local roads

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That you rage at the fact that someone else is trying to use. (That's MY portion of this street/parkland. MINE!!) Talk by entitled motorists turns into talk by entitled bicyclists without so much as speed bump.

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Voting is closed. 13

Give it up

By on

I know your rant works at the local K of C, but people here aren't 90 years old and know what the rules are and who they apply to.

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Voting is closed. 14

While it is named a bike path

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While it is named a bike path, it certainly isn't marked or signed as a bikes-only path.

By the way, it's nice that Google street views has some lane content (not just occasional uploaded snapshots) of this path. I thought at first, "Google bought a bike!" Turns out they must've worked with the DCR to mount the camera on one of those little groundskeeping tractor/buggy things.

Even more interesting - it appears that Thing from the Addams Family has a day job!

https://www.google.com/maps/@42.3515746,-71.1062851,2a,83.6y,293.34h,67.96t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sqneazhG-6AMWHWPjrcy6BQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en

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Voting is closed. 7

Currently? No.

By on

You missed the part at the top where that plan is being proposed in your rush to attack cyclists.

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Voting is closed. 12

Because I was discussing the

By on

Because I was discussing the existing path next to Storrow.

Wasn't rushing.

Wasn't attacking cyclists.

I like riding my bike. I like walking. Especially in parks. Ideally, with enough space available, those would be on separate paths. If there's an opportunity with all the work coming up in that area to make enough space, they should definitely do it.

Go troll someplace else.

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No irony at all

By on

Let me know when you want to drive on I-93 and I'll ride there on my bike.

No?

Cycle tracks are bikes only just like freeways are cars only.

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Voting is closed. 15

"Angry"

I don't see anyone angry here, just discussing hazards that arise and how to design to minimize them.

I see the main way people want to minimize them is to have separate paths for people walking and people biking, when possible, to minimize conflicts.

I generally see bike advocates call for the same thing on roads - separate paths for people driving and people biking, aka protected cycle tracks, to minimize conflicts.

I also see people who mainly drive rail against this. Who rail against people cycling in the road. Who buzz by and throw things at and honk at and crash into and kill people cycling.

Take your false equivalency and shove it in your tailpipe.

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Voting is closed. 2

I was confused at first --

By on

I was confused at first -- the section of path pictured above is fine to bike on, and there usually aren't even many pedestrians. But I'm guessing you're actually referring to the part where the path is constrained between a guardrail and a (relatively low) handrail, on the other side of which is a sharp drop to the river. That part indeed sucks. I barely have enough room to pass another oncoming cyclist.

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Voting is closed. 19

Still too narrow

There's a ton of foot and bike traffic in the summer between the runners, strollers, cyclists, etc. That section could be widened by cutting back the overgrowth in the river but your right about that narrow section near the lights. You could tell the traffic designers didn't even plan for a sidewalk at all.

The path should be twice as wide as it is further upstream near the Harvard footbridge.

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Voting is closed. 12

Never had a problem on that stretch

By on

This is interesting. I've been using that path about weekly for commuting from Allston to downtown, and it was never that section that gave me trouble. From the Fiedler footbridge to the Mass Ave ramp, god yes -- in good weather, I might as well just have a loudspeaker playing "on your left!" on repeat. But west of the Mass Ave ramp it really clears out, and west of the BU bridge and "boardwalk" there's practically nobody.

Might have to do with time of day, come to think of it; I tend to commute between 9:30—10:30 and then back 18:30–19:30.

ETA: By "that stretch" I mean the path south/east of River St, but not the railing'ed-in section, which I do hate.

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Voting is closed. 12

Maybe if it was safer...

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I would ride that stretch more often. I've done it a couple times but safety fear keeps me away. I am going to guess that's why you don't see more people there.

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Voting is closed. 11

Convenience

By on

That toilet placement is on point.

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Voting is closed. 10