Waterfront residents want revamped Northern Avenue Bridge open to just pedestrians and bicyclists

NorthEndWaterfront.com reports on a recent meeting on the currently closed bridge - which Mayor Walsh has said in the past he wants rebuilt to allow for cars to jam themselves into the existing crush along Atlantic Avenue.

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Yes, please

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Making this available to cars is just stupid, and really solves nothing to ease traffic except gives yet another spot for idling cars to sit as they try to get onto the greenway.

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Bypasses the I-93 Norrthbound Ramp Jam

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I am not saying the proposed bridge should or should not be allowed - but it would bypass the I-93 northbound on-ramp at Atlantic/Seaport which frequently jams up into the intersection and causes most of the delay on both Atlantic Ave and Seaport Blvd. I am also hearing one option is to only allow HOV 3+ on the new bridge.

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yawn

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"but cars" is not an excuse

You drive, you need to suffer in traffic. Its your choice to drive. Don't want to sit in traffic, take the T, ride share, bike or walk.

I've grown tired of building car-centric infrastructure because "but cars". Its really a non starter now and we need to get way from this mindset.

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Spoken like someone

who understands externalities, a concept from economics that libertarian jerkoffs always manage to minimize or ignore.

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For the record

I agree with him (and many others here) on not reopening the bridge to vehicular traffic. A shame that my cute nod to Yankee social mores was met with such hostility.

If wanting to minimize state interference (and the consistent comedy of errors at best and financial misery at worst which results from it) makes me or anybody a "jerkoff", then get me some Kleenex.

Externalities

Ironically, you ignored my point. I take that as a “hostile” act of aggression against me.

Aw that's cute

If wanting to minimize state interference (and the consistent comedy of errors at best and financial misery at worst which results from it)

It's cute that you think you're motivated by good intentions rather than selfishness.

makes me or anybody a "jerkoff",

It does. You're welcome.

Yes!

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We just suffer in traffic when you can also suffer on the T and commuter rail!

BTW: Driving: It is not a "choice" but for many the only realistic option.

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Tell me

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Really?

Tell me how that is.. I was reminded today that I sold my last car in 1998 and have not had one since.

Tell me how much it is not a choice? I seem to manage OK.

(spare me the "but I have to commute for my job" excuse.. its a non starter. Again, I seem to be able to find employment OK and I still don't own a car)

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Dude not everyone has the income to live in the city

Full disclosure on my bias: I live in the city, 4 miles from work, and cycle almost every day (I ride the T during heavy rain/snow). I do not like cars.

But not everyone is as privileged as us to live in one of the most expensive urban areas in America. Some have to live in less expensive neighborhoods without access to any form of public transit. These folks really do have to drive into the city to their jobs and don't really have an option to do otherwise.

I agree that we need to consider bike/ped priority paths much more often than we do now, but to completely ignore the need for motorists and say that owning a car to work in Boston is unnecessary because of your personal experience is just plain silly to downright ignorant.

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Please, don't pretend you are

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Please, don't pretend you are so worried about poor people, it is very expensive to park in the Seaport, poor people who work there and live outside the city are taking the T. They cant afford the parking fees on top of all the other costs of owning a car in one of the most expensive areas in the country. Conservatives don't give a crap about the poor till they can use them as a proxy for something they are against.

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Dude

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Cybah lives in Fucking Chelsea

Sure

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But let's bring this conversation back to what it was originally about: traffic, and reopening of the Northern Avenue bridge. I'm extremely skeptical that reopening this bridge to car traffic is going to have any sort of positive effect on traffic. Even to the other person who commented that this would alleviate some traffic at an I93 ramp, that's just going to shift traffic to this bridge, apparently, and then that's going to become just like Summer, Congress, and Seaport Blvd: Gridlock Blvd.

We have an opportunity to turn the bridge into a very niece piece of infrastructure that both locals and tourists alike can appreciate and use daily. Why not leverage that? It certainly won't be leveraged in any meaningful way with car traffic.

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Absolutely

Agree with you and others on this and thanks for bringing us back to the point. Peds and bikes only absolutely needs to happen, otherwise whats the point.

I admit, I got stuck on the other posters points that we should never consider cars idea that "no one needs to drive" when discussing urban planning issues.

Okay … but …

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Some have to live in less expensive neighborhoods without access to any form of public transit. These folks really do have to drive into the city to their jobs and don't really have an option to do otherwise.

We've built a bunch of parking lots at T stops around the region for these people. So they can choose to drive here and then take the train/bus/subway/ferry in from there.

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There are plenty of

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There are plenty of affordable neighborhoods with MBTA access in Boston and just outside of Boston.

Don't like traffic? move there.

It's 2018, the priority list is:

1. Pedestrians.
2. Bicyclist, Scooters
3. MBTA Buses
4. Cars

Nah.

"Sometimes I suspect that we build our traps ourselves, then we back into them, pretending amazement all the while."

- Neil Gaiman

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Most people working

in the shiny new glass boxes of the Seaport are getting paid enough to have a fair bit of choice on where they live. Living somewhere without access to transit options is a deliberate choice - one made by people who also don’t buy luxury cars to leave said cars rotting in a “carport” out in the burbs.

Yes, this is a generalization, but so was your comment. I’m sympathetic to low-income people with few options, but not to six-figure earners who make excuses (including opposition to increasing the gas tax to fund infrastructure).

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Of course there is a bridge for passenger vehicles

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about 100 feet away that has two travel lanes in each direction on Seaport Blvd. (Moakley Bridge).

That bridge is not a great pedestrian or bicycle experience due to the grade over Fort Port Channel.

A pedestrian-and-bicycle-only bridge would be closer and safer for visitors and residents to the Harborwalk, which is a major attraction in the area and pedestrian corridor.

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You sit in traffic

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Because too many other people are exactly like you and make the same excuses for driving into areas with lots of other people doing the same.

Want to blame traffic on someone? Rear view mirror works great for that.

Want a commute without traffic? Move to Iowa.

Think this bridge will alleviate traffic? By adding two intersections to a clusterintersection area? You have an enormous amount to learn about what causes traffic to suck. Hint: it has to do with intersections and driver entitlement.

He gave a reasonable reason

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And your response, if I may paraphrase, is "cars are bad."

I seriously don't have a dog in this fight. I am rarely in the Seaport District. Overall the idea of having the bridge pedestrian/bicycles only sounds like a good one, if only because it's been that way for close to 2 decades (if not more than 2 decades) now.

That said, he offers that opening the bridge to some cars could help congestion on the bridges and in the area overall, yet you give a poor counter. Honestly, anyone who is truly autocentric could just as easily note that there are sidewalks on all the other bridges, so why do we need another set of sidewalks. If you like to walk, you won't mind walking that little bit (from another comment, it would be 200 feet) more. That's essentially using your logic as a counter.

Well, cars are bad for cities

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Well, cars are bad for cities. Im not saying they should be banned, but saying they are bad for cities is true. Not for the suburbs and rural areas, but for cities they are bad. Look at the Seaport, designed for cars above all else, and the pre-car era South End.

You do see

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That you just made the case that the Seaport is designed for cars. By extension, you are making more of an argument than I am that the bridge should have vehicular traffic.

No, the fact that up to now

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No, the fact that up to now the Seaport has been disastrously planned doesn't mean it should continue to be so.

It needs to be retrofit, then

It should NEVER have been built for cars EVER.

That it was is a total and complete farce - especially since there were so many successful examples - like the Pearl District - of transit oriented redevelopment of a former downtown industrial zone.

WE SHOULD NOT DOUBLE DOWN ON THE EXISTING STUPIDITY. More cars is never the answer to problems caused by cars and moronic misguided and foolish development choices that everyone and his brother warned the city about as they were stupimplemented.

So

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That said, he offers that opening the bridge to some cars could help congestion on the bridges and in the area overall

Without offering any evidence. Therefore it's pretty irrelevant what the counter is because the original claim is unsubstantiated. Don't want to hear about "logic" when the other poster doesn't offer any support of the efficacy of the proposed "solution."

Did you read the suggestion?

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And mind you, much like myself he's not even saying they should do it, but he does note that by opening that bridge to cars, traffic that is not interested in entering 93 North would be able to avoid that snafu. To put it in terms of other transportation suggestions in the area, it would be akin to allowing Silver Line buses to use that ramp that the State Police won't allow them to use to access the Ted Williams Tunnel.

That's not the same

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Silver Line Buses being allowed to use the ramp is still a restricted access ramp to public transportation. This bridge, if opened to vehicular traffic as noted, would be opened to the public at large. The implications of those two things are completely different. Like I said, completely unsupported.

Let's be clear

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Red's humble suggestion is just that, and at that he doesn't necessarily support it, and he also mentioned that perhaps a HOV 3+ would be the best move. Also, much like you and me, Red doesn't have much sway over any proposal.

And again, neither Red nor I think that the bridge should be open to traffic. The only reason I butted in is that he made a justification for the idea only to have the suggestion dismissed because, um, er, "cars are bad?" At the end of the day, a pedestrian bridge is the best option in my eyes, but I found the idea prevented reasoned.

In the context of the City

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I don't think you're asking yourself the question: are cars inherently good? For some reason, that seems to be a foregone conclusion for you, but I don't see why I should automatically assume the same.

If the better question were asked

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Which is "what is the best means of handling transportation issues surrounding the Seaport area?", I am sure an answer would be arrived at that would note that increasing vehicular traffic in the area is not the best idea. Assuming that nothing should be done to help move cars around the city is, in my mind, as bad an assumption as assuming that everything should be done to help move cars around the city.

Go around the world (except for Singapore) and you will find that transportation planners try to deal with the balance of transportation modes. Cars have their uses, and there are situations where automobiles are more of a hindrance than a help. I believe that it has been established that people drive to and from the Seaport area. The question of how to handle the traffic is a valid one, and offering the idea that some drivers might want to avoid the traffic going onto 93 North is worth having a real discussion about.

Weird answer

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Kind of a dodge, kind of a straw man. Not sure why it's hard to answer "is drawing more vehicular traffic into the city a 'good' thing."

Of course trying to solve transportation issues of all modes is a goal. But that's also a reactive measure, i.e. not a proactive one.

Traffic and parking laws are

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Traffic and parking laws are barely enforced I Boston. You think Boston police well actually enforce a short HOV lane? I also don't see how a lane full of cars/trucks/buses with 3 or more people is any better, if it were magically enforced. That space is no longer available for pedestrians, and people need to dodge cars turning in and off the bridge no matter how many people are inside the vehicle.

Less traffic leads to more traffic

If the bridge reduces congestion people will find it's quicker to get to the waterfront and decide to drive more, thus congestion will rise again. You really can't win.

At least a foot/bike bridge is cheaper and quicker to build.

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Bonus

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More intersections to block, too.

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2 Lanes

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How about just have two lanes for cars and let people figure out themselves how they want to get around?

Usage will eventually find some kind of steady state.

What’s No End Waterfront

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concerns with a bridge that leads into South Boston? There’s more pressing things in the No End they should worry about.

Will always have vehicles

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It will always have vehicles of some kind. It is an artery for emergency vehicles in both directions. Keeping it open to vehicular traffic assures that it will be maintained as such and assure free flow of fire and EMS. Closures of roadways and turning them into pedestrian ways is often a multi-year process so that emergency routes can be redefined and emergency apparatus can be re-routed and re-allocated. No such process has happened for this bridge. I'd not expect one either.

What are you talking about?

We are talking about a bridge that has not carried any vehicular traffic in years - not since an entirely ambulance friendly bridge was built next to it as part of the big dig.

In fact, this bridge has gotten so shaky that it has not only been closed to any vehicles for a very long time, it is CLOSED.

You clearly have no idea where this is. Nothing you say applies here.

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I'm all for this - - if we

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I'm all for this - - if we remove the bike lanes from seaport blvd and congress st and route the 10 - 15 people a day who drive bikes over the northern ave bridge.

Clueless

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You’ve clearly never been on the Seaport bridge at rush hour. I bike it every day and there are always half a dozen bikes during the 30 seconds I’m crossing.

Hubway data

Check out the hubway data from North Station to Seaport and try that again.

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cue drivers bitching

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but they also bitch endlessly about having to stop for pedestrians and "law breaking" bikers. like, you drivers realize if the peds and bikers have a safer, exclusive option, they won't be messing up your precious precious roads with their presence, right? it's win-win

I would support the bridge being open to MBTA busses, however.

Open to HOV3+ traffic

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Personally having seen the projected number of diverted vehicles onto the new Northern Ave Bridge - I do not think it should be opened to general traffic. I do believe the bridge should accommodate peds, bikes, and HOV3+ traffic, which includes buses and shuttles (to North Station) so they can bypass the Seaport/Atlantic onramp to I-93 NB jams and make transit a more viable option.