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Time to turn Storrow Drive into a pedestrian way

Nathan Phillips, a professor in the Department of Earth and Environment at Boston University, makes the case.

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As someone who had to commute by car 5 days a week via Storrow en route to the North Shore, and now rides an escooter along it, I do see it both ways.

Maybe expand access to cabs and rideshares. The end does dump to rt 1, 93 and Logan Airport. That would be a major disruption.

Plus, what would we do without storrowings?

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Storrow is sort of the cheapskate's alternative to the Turnpike. Most of the trips could be made via the Tip and the Pike although they might add a couple of minutes of drive time. If Storrow Drive disappeared tomorrow, it would probably need ramps to and from the Pike near Charlesgate (not impossible) to handle LMA traffic that currently either goes into the Pru or out to Allston. That would be a reasonable trade for the road disappearing.

At the Soldiers Field end, maybe the roadway could be reimagined as a two-lane roadway from Western to BU, terminating there, allowing traffic to and from the LMA and BU (Soldiers Field Road predates Storrow by about 20 years). At the Embankment Road end I'd be pretty okay with a two-lane Embankment Road widening to four lanes at Charles Circle. But get rid of the traffic sewer along the river between the BU Bridge and the Hatch Shell.

To complement this we'd need a much better-run T. At the every least a more robust (higher capacity and faster) Green Line (the Type 10s might be a start). Regional Rail and an eventual North South Rail Link would be a game-changer.

A couple of notes: 1) there is actually a lot of spare capacity on the Turnpike westbound because everything upstream is so jammed up at peak times that it never actually fills more than three lanes. 2) cabs and rideshares (especially) cause more traffic than regular cars and shouldn't get any special treatment.

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I've heard some ideas (perhaps from Fred Salvucci?) for using this stretch for a blue line extension. What are your thoughts on this in regards to the removal of Storrow? My guess is if it connected to a future West Station in Allston it could go a long way to provide those T improvements you hinted at.

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I've never really gotten the point of spending 40M on a Worcester Line stop. Do that many people from Worcester go to BU?

https://pedestrianobservations.com/2019/07/12/west-station-is-an-overbui...

Boston Landing is already pretty much a dead end, with almost no connection to the rest of the T. West Station will be a shorter walk to the lousiest of the Green Lines, I guess. But does it really provide 40M more service to Bostonians over getting off at Kenmore?

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… are not ride shares.

There are better things coming in the future and a return to an accessible riverfront is a great idea. It has worked already in many cities.

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Rename "Storrow Drive" to "Pedestrian Way". Problem solved.

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How can anyone even pretend to take this seriously? Sure, if we're building Boston from scratch, no one would want a highway blocking access to the Charles River. Back in the real world, however, this isn't the case. His argument about removing the Bowker Overpass is beyond absurd. He is aware that the majority of all the hospital staff in Fenway use the Bowker to get to the Mass Pike & I-93, right? How about that ambulances need an efficient route to these same hospitals, so people don't die in-transit. What about the thousands of people who travel to Fenway Park for each Sox game?

As someone who actually lives in the city, Storrow Drive is the only thing that allows quasi-efficient movement of traffic from east/west. For those living in Back Bay & Fenway, it's the only way to get to the airport and downtown quickly and by far the most efficient way to get to I-93, & Rt. 1. If we actually removed Storrow, it would simply cause gridlock on all the surface roads as trips that used to take 15 minutes, now take 45+ as you're forced to drive through downtown Boston.

Now, if we want to talk about reducing the number of cars commuting to Boston on a daily basis when they could take regional transit...let's do that! Let's start by adding tolls for NH residents who drive 70 miles A DAY on MA roads to get to Boston, yet we don't toll them a single dime. Meanwhile, someone driving in from Framingham has to pay $6/day in tolls to take the Pike.

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Removing Storrow would enormously benefit the rich people who live in the Back Bay and Beacon Hill without improving access for anyone else who can't afford to live in the core of the city.

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I didn’t realize you had to be rich and live in the back bay to use the esplanade…

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Gentrifier can't see how poor people problems would ever matter. News at 10

Enjoy your Turtle Swamp beer, bro.

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I live in Roxbury (below poverty level, if it matters) and have had various jobs and kids' schools where I bike commuted on the path along Storrow in either direction from Mass Ave and would have loved to have a high-speed commuter path in addition to the current path. Plenty of my neighbors leave the neighborhood as well. Pedestrian paths aren't just for wandering around on, and the esplanade already has a wandering path, but would benefit from commuter lanes.

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why do you live in Back Bay and Fenway if you need to drive anywhere?

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is it possible to be charitable to the author and engage with what he’s saying? like, he’s certainly considered that to remove a major road would mean we’d have one less major road, right?

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For those living in Back Bay & Fenway, it's the only way to get to the airport and downtown quickly

What? You can walk downtown from Back Bay in like 10 minutes. Why would anyone drive there from back bay? There’s also this thing called the subway.

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Voting closed 38

Please, please, please stop the having the mindset of a well off late 20 / early 30s something that you have.

Not everyone is 30. A lot of people don't want to lug two suitcases from the South End to the Airport. A lot of people over the age of 40 can't. A lot of people don't want to lug two suitcases and a stroller plus a two year old up to the subway.

A lot of people can't lug five bags of groceries from Shaw's to Pembroke Street.

You are a minority with a insane minority mindset with your all cars are bad mentality.

By the way, if you can walk from the 1.3 miles from Copley to Government Center in over 10 minutes it means your nipples must be scraped a lot. The average marathon runner does a 10.3 minute mile.

You are a fool.

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…. suitcases and strollers through the South End from Back Bay to get to the airport?

You might, because you are you.

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Did you see the "Subway" part?

Probably not. In your zeal to throw crap against the wall, you forgot about the whole reading comprehension thing.

In case you don't know, Back Bay Station, designed by Stull and Lee, went into service on May 4, 1987. The Orange Line and southwest and west bound trains from South Station stop there.

It is located with entrances from Clarendon and Dartmouth Streets with another entrance designed to access the garage at the corner of Dartmouth and Stuart. The Orange Line runs from Forest Hills in JP to Oak Grove on the Malden / Melrose line. It connects to other subway lines, including, wait for it, a line that goes to this station called "Airport".

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Voting closed 26

.. .. would lug suitcases from Back Bay into the South End to get to the subway in Copley Square. Or to the express bus that goes to the airport.
Your writing skills are as bad as your reading skills. Not to mention your map reading skills.
Sometimes you sound like someone who has never even been to Boston.

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Lived in a lot of neighborhoods. Actually graduated from a Boston Public School.

You, not so much. Go back to Maryland or Ohio or wherever you are from.

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Probably have lived and worked in more neighborhoods than you. Know lots of people new and not so new to Boston who know it better than you.
You really need to look at a map or ask some directions next time. Lol!

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…. gotten out of your car whilst actually living in the city?
I lived in Back Bay for years. Never had a problem taking the T to the airport. The fastest way to get there. You have 3 major public transportation routes minutes from all parts of Back Bay.

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Voting closed 25

It is certainly the cheapest way apart from walking. It is almost never the fastest way. Changing from Green/Orange (since you said Back Bay) to Red then Silver or to Blue then Massport bus means you need to allow at least 45 minutes and that's assuming there are no delays. It rarely takes longer than 15 or 20 minutes by cab/ride share between the airport and Back Bay. The Massport bus takes part of the blame just because it is soooo slooooooowwwww and sits at the rental car center for five minutes on each trip.

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Voting closed 17

Search the UHub archives - this isn't a new idea. Even a former state transportation head has championed the concept.

Also note that Storrow 1) should never have been built; and 2) it is one solid nor'easter, super storm, or Cat 2 Hurricane away from becoming permanently obsolete given current and accelerating rates of sea level rise and storm activity.

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Voting closed 27

There's a large flood control structure a couple of miles east which will prevent the absurd scenario of "Storrow... becoming permanently obsolete" within the lifetimes of anyone reading this site. Sure, a sufficiently severe storm could put Storrow out of commission for days or weeks (just as happened to the Green Line back 25 years ago) but the water from a storm would drain. Even New Orleans has mostly recovered from the flooding from Katrina which was orders of magnitude more severe than anything Boston is likely to see in the next century.

If you feel the need to worry about something, worry about the fact that your great-grandchildren will be native Mandarin speakers.

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If you feel the need to worry about something, worry about the fact that your great-grandchildren will be native Mandarin speakers.

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We could also make all that tax free land between Kenmore Square and Packard's Corner along Commonwealth Avenue into a park. We could get rid of BU.

By getting rid of BU we could open up all the housing that they have bought up by and taken off of the market on Bay State Road and Audubon Circle and turn into housing for the working class, or in the case of Bay State Road, for the rich.

BU could move to some suburban office park because as we know, with the exception of the PILOT scholarships that BU gives out, no one from the City of Boston actually goes to BU, at least as an undergrad.

"Boston University - The Greatest School In Westchester and Long Island with a heaping dose of Rich Chinese and Gulf State Kids Majoring in Going To "School" in America".

PS - I'm surprised the author isn't in some play over at the Huntington. He has more silly drama in him with this proposal and the way he behaved with the Weymouth Compressor Station that he should be on a Telenovela.

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Voting closed 38

You could use the pike. Pay a toll that defrays a fractional amount of the impact of your incessant use of an oversized, overpowered mobility device.

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Really, do.

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Extreme lack of physical activity causing you to have the cranky constipation again?

I've been here almost as long as you have been alive, dear (despite your pretending to be a cranky little old man).

Why don't you move someplace else and quit pretending you belong in a city? Or that you have anything to say about urban life that means anything?

There's probably a Marshfield in Texas for ya.

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I'll buy your plane tickets you suburban dweller.

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…. for admission or for that assistant bottle washer position.
Maybe it’s time to get over it.

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KMA.

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So cool. Can I be your best friend?

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...half of Long Island comes out of the water.

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....who threatened to have Father Leahy arrested last year when he and his Newton city councillor friend got the vapors over the BC football team celebrating postgame without masks.

https://twitter.com/nathanpboston/status/1310218518684721152?s=20

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n/t

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n/t

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"@BostonCollege: produce documentation *now* that all these players tested negative shortly before this video, or else we will shut you down & have your irresponsible president arrested & fired."

Don't know who the "we" refers to, unless he had a mouse in his pocket.

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Robert Moses inadvertently proved that the more roads built the more traffic that will use those roads. An invariable pattern of the dog chasing its own tail. New bridge to off load traffic on older bridges. More traffic instead. The goal of lightening the load, reducing traffic jams, etc. never reached because there will always be more traffic to fill up the space.

It's as though in the US at least drivers abhor empty road space. Roads that are not backed up daily at both rush hours apparently should not, may not, can not exist in this universe. Seems to be a law of vehicular society. Wherever roads are built traffic will fill them up. Fascinating. Perhaps even gives another insight into the nature of how human society works, especially where cars are an integral component of the religion we could call Americanism. More important than the medium of transubstantiation, far more memorable and worthy than a Protestant remembrance of a god's final meal. Given so much devotion that any god would be jealous.

However, would the inverse of Robert Moses's discovery work? That is removing a road equalling a decrease in the traffic that uses the roads.

While that might be a bit upsetting to the worshippers of the vehicle, who like to use Storrow Drive (and loosing the various pictures Storrowing would be a loss for some), the gods GM, Toyota, Ford, etc. will survive loosing asphalt and the, lord forbid, maybe a few less cars bought and driven. But those gods are not going anywhere anytime soon. They will always have their worshippers.

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A birth rate which exceeds the death rate, and expenses which exceed income.

My rent is $875 now. I have to leave my house and use roads to get the money to pay that. Some of the money I get comes from a 4:55 AM use of the roads, some of it comes from a 2:00 PM use of the roads.

The problem is that most of the money that most of the people get come from using the roads at the same time. That's the tractable part of this that might actually get fixed. Curbing the desire for sex and for shelter are not tractable.

In fact, we spent most of 2020 with it fixed. We just elected to go back to being stupid, angry, and discharging excess carbon on purpose.

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Voting closed 5

No.

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I don't know the logistics or feasibility of this (because I'm not a civil engineer), but I'm definitely open to projects like this. It would be really cool if we could do what Amsterdam did and start planning in a way that isn't car-centric.

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{sits back with some popcorn and beer, giggling in the jungle called the suburbs}

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Isn't the Back Bay part of Storrow Drive below water level? Would it turn into an adjacent river to the Charles if cars stopped using it? We could turn it into a fish farm or something water sports related.

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Would it turn into an adjacent river to the Charles if cars stopped using it?

If cars stop using a road, does the road go away?

If a road is replaced with similar infrastructure designed for different forms of transportation, is that infrastructure automatically "below water level"?

The Back Bay has its name for a reason, but there's no reason why it needs to reclaim it if Storrow Drive goes away or becomes car-free.

ETA: someone here no doubt has more of the story, but apparently the filled-in Back Bay exists because of a failed water project. Apparently someone had the bright idea to throw a dam across it (between the bay and the Charles) for the purposes of propulsion, neglecting the fact that a head measured in fractions of an inch doesn't generate anything but a stagnant, fetid swamp. When that became clear, the "bay" got filled in a hurry, as I understand.

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Voting closed 7

How about we hear from experts in the department of urban planning and civil engineering?

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it's much less grating

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