Alewife traffic issues

A quick update on Alewife traffic issues.  Some progress has been made that
merits report.

The Central Transportation Planning Staff has, for the last 18 months or so,
been conducting a study of traffic through the Route 2 to Route 16
intersection.  They published an interim report last year which showed how
multi-directional that traffic is — it’s not just people going from Western
suburbs into Boston.

In a second phase of their work, they have been studying how to improve bus
service to Alewife, so as to reduce traffic by taking people of out cars.
 As part of that, they have been studying some of the traffic issues at the
intersection — buses do need to get in and out of the station through the

Earlier this year, in response to a call from Cambridge Park Drive
businesses who were concerned about rush hour congestion at the egress of
the drive next to the T-station, Senator Tolman convened a meeting of state
agencies at the offices of Wyeth research.  From this meeting, a working
group formed and the existing team from CTPS was asked to join and study
additional options in the area to improve traffic flow.

For more background on the CTPS study and the Wyeth meeting, see, click state policy and search for alewife traffic.

A final report from the CTPS study on bus issues should emerge fairly
shortly.  In the mean time, the combined working group has held several
meetings and the CTPS team has done some very excellent analytic work on the

They have winnowed improvement options down to two groups of candidates.
 The first group involves adjusting curb lines in and around the 2/16
intersection to create some additional lane segments without expanding the
right of way.  These seem like small budget improvements which may
materially reduce wait times in the intersection.

The only issue which might limit some of these changes is a small sidewalk
segment immediately adjacent to the intersection.  It seems to be abandoned,
superseded by the Minuteman multi-use path, but that will be confirmed
before Mass Highway proceeds.

The other group of changes is more complex, expensive and potentially
controversial — these changes involve rerouting the end of Rindge Avenue
through the Grace property at the corner of Rindge and Route 16.  The goal
would be to align it directly with the end of Cambridge Park Drive — making
one intersection out of two.  There would then be several different
scenarios for pedestrians crossing there, one including a pedestrian bridge.

Senator Tolman and I will work to move Mass Highway and DCR forward on the
Route 2/16 intersection changes.  As to the Rindge Avenue changes, if they
ever go forward, there will be the need for resolution of many issues and
considerable public process.

It also appears that there are some signage and enforcement improvements
that may control gridlock on Cambridge Park drive.  The City of Cambridge
will be working on those.

On the bicycle and pedestrian fronts, the MAPC’s study of access to Alewife
station is moving forward and I’ve been very positively impressed by the
knowledgeable staff that they have brought to the table.

Finally, the bicycle path from Brighton Street to Alewife seems to moving
forward well.  Mass Highway has made a strong commitment to getting started
on construction next year and seems to be on track for that goal.

Published by Will Brownsberger

Will Brownsberger is State Senator from the Second Suffolk and Middlesex District.