Here are the comments which came in Friday evening.
See you Tuesday at MassDOT at 9:00 AM. Please bring a copy of the October 1 draft recommendations (attached)
MASCO and our member institutions have worked actively to improve transit,
walking and bicycling in LMA and in the past ten years have seen dramatic
mode shifts: our employee bike/walk mode share has increased 6%, transit
share has increased 9% and drive alone has dropped 20%. I am happy to see
the inclusion of additional sidewalk and bike lane capacity which
incentivizes healthy commute options and is essential to future continued
mode shift. I also believe that the alternatives must not ignore the
importance of adequate vehicular capacity for two principal reasons: 1) the
vast majority of patients and visitors cannot walk or bike or take the T and
will continue to drive; and, 2) as dynamic cities at the center of the New
England Region, Boston and Cambridge will continue to grow generating both
local and regional auto/truck/bus trips. The LMA has 43,600 employees,
18,000 students, 2.2 million patients and 3-5 million visitors annually.
That means well over 110,000 travelling every day to the LMA from all over
the New England region and beyond.
With these considerations in mind, I support Outbound Alternative C and
Inbound Alternative A (as presented at the 10/6 public meeting) both of which
accommodate two 11 foot-wide vehicular travel lanes in either direction; a 5
foot-wide bike lane in either direction, with a minimum 1-foot wide buffer
and a 10-foot wide (8 foot clear) sidewalk on the upstream and downstream
sides of the bridge. This option almost doubles the width of existing
bicycle accommodations and improves on existing sidewalks. It also maintains
existing vehicular capacity for this roadway which FHA designates as part of
the official National Highway System serving "statewide travel as well as
major traffic movements..."
I also support the inclusion of Outbound Alternative A for analysis in the
Environmental Assessment which provides for a single 12-foot wide vehicular
lane and 6-foot wide bike lane with a 2-foot wide buffer. The analysis
should seek to: 1) demonstrate that this configuration is able to accommodate
future traffic flows and not worsen congestion at Charles Circle, Cambridge
Street and Storrow Drive or create dangerous conditions at the approaches to
the bridges for cyclists (see J. Gascoigne's 10/7 comments to the Task
Force); 2) should assume that the crash barrier will be constructed to allow
a minimum of 24 feet of paved roadway. This provides the flexibility to
accommodate two outbound vehicular lanes (with cyclists sharing the generous
15 foot wide sidewalk) in the future should one lane prove to be insufficient
to accommodate vehicular traffic flows.
Finally, as members of the Task Force have stated, I remain concerned that
the current approach of reducing capacity of the Charles River bridges one at
a time fails to look at the traffic implications for these bridges as part of
a regional road system. The State should commit to continuing some form of
this Task Force to provide input on the ongoing reconstruction of all the
Charles River Basin bridges. This would include providing adequate
opportunity to review available traffic modeling and data and a full
discussion of potential mitigation measures including road detours and
additional T service.
Thank you for the opportunity to comment and I look forward to continuing to
participate in the planning for the rebuilding of the Charles River Basin
Tom Yardley, Senior Planner, MASCO
MASCO is a non-profit organization that provides planning and development as
well as transportation services to 23 members and associate members in the
Longwood Medical and Academic Area (LMA) of Boston.