Bowker Overpass Update

MassDOT is leading an exciting and regionally-significant series of transportation projects in the Charlesgate neighborhood — the neighborhood on the banks of the Muddy River sandwiched between Kenmore Square and Massachusetts Avenue in Boston.

These projects will accomplish necessary maintenance on the high-volume Bowker overpass while

  • improving bicycle and pedestrian connections between Fenway, Back Bay, and the Esplanade;
  • daylighting the Muddy River;
  • supporting the revitalization of Charlesgate Park;
  • shifting Storrow Drive south to widen the Esplanade along the Charles;
  • improving the Paul Dudley White path along the Charles by replacing a dangerous chicane underneath highway ramps with a pleasant park bridge crossing the newly daylighted Muddy River.

MassDOT is holding a public information meeting about the next phase of this effort on July 11 at 6PM.

Background

The system of bridges commonly referred to together as the “Bowker overpass” is the connection between Storrow Drive and Fenway. The system lifts a huge daily volume of traffic over Beacon Street, Commonwealth Avenue, the Mass Pike, the Worcester Line commuter rail tracks and Ipswich Street.

Image from Google Maps snapped on July 5, 2024
View of the Bowker looking north from Fenway to the Charles. From MassDOT presentation of October 26, 2023

When the central portion of the overpass, the segment crossing Beacon and Commonwealth, needed maintenance 10 years ago, there was a movement to bring that portion and possibly the Storrow ramps down to ground level. Cars going from Storrow to Fenway would have had to cross Beacon and Commonwealth at new ground level intersections. After a lengthy process, it became clear that this was not remotely realistic given necessary traffic volumes.

Local legislators engaged heavily in MassDOT’s public traffic analysis and design process to make sure that the ground level option was fully and fairly considered, but we endorsed the final conclusion that the overpass had to stay. At the time, we made a compensating promise to the neighborhood: We would work for the revitalization of Charlesgate Park. Charlesgate Park, at the confluence of the Charles and the Muddy Rivers, was once the crown jewel in the Emerald Necklace designed by Frederic Law Olmstead. It is now blighted by the overpass system.

The linchpin of the Charlesgate Park revitalization effort is the daylighting of the Muddy River which now straggles under the overpass system and through a culvert to the Charles. The park will never be what it was before the highway construction of the 50s and 60s, but it can be substantially improved.

Many of us didn’t initially appreciate what a huge project the daylighting was and how long it would take, but a strong coalition has emerged to back the revitalization, including:

  • many citizen-led organizations, most centrally the Charlesgate Alliance,
  • a range of elected officials from the local to the state to the federal level (notably Senator Ed Markey),
  • and most importantly, the leadership of MassDOT and DCR who are closely collaborating with
  • the City of Boston.

MassDOT must rebuild two more segments of the overpass system before the Muddy River can be daylighted and the park restored to its full current potential. As the MassDOT graphic below shows, the remaining major bridge projects are the Storrow ramps (green) and the bridge and ramps over the Mass Pike (blue in Bold, the next phase, construction of which could start as soon as next ). The Fenway Transportation Action Plan (purple) is a City of Boston street and path redesign project.

Aerial view marked up with project boundaries. From MassDOT presentation of October 26, 2023

Timing

The construction of the segment over the MassPike is funded in the Fiscal 2024 bucket of the Transportation Improvement Plan, meaning that the funds must be obligated by bid publication before September 30 and that construction could start physically late this year or, more likely, next spring. The construction of the Storrow Drive ramps is funded in the Fiscal 2027 bucket of the latest plan. That phase of the project may start as late as the 2028 construction season. It will be dependent on the progress of the MassPike phase — there is only so much work that can be simultaneously done without creating traffic difficulties or exceeding laydown space.

Summary

MassDOT engineers, working with DCR and the City of Boston, have developed a very creative bridge reconstruction approach that is very sensitive to park, bicycle, pedestrian, and neighborhood considerations. I encourage people who want more information to participate in the public meeting on July 11. I am personally committed to seeing this effort through to a successful conclusion.

Published by Will Brownsberger

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

Join the Conversation

52 Comments

  1. Wonderful news, Will, thank you! I learned about this project from the Emerald Necklace Conservancy about a year ago. So glad that it’s building momentum and that you’ll be supporting it. Rachel

  2. While the new ped-bike connection is long overdue, to be honest, this whole project is quite underwhelming. As long as the Bowker Overpass and Storrow Drive ramps remain, it’s largely lipstick on a pig.

    Civil engineering students from Northeastern came up with a plan that would accommodate the necessary volumes of traffic at ground-level. MassDOT chose to discard that option. And instead of adding up the true costs of repairing this monstrosity, they’ve broken it up into multiple smaller projects hoping the public wouldn’t notice the total cost.

    We should be thinking much bigger than just making subtle tweaks to what’s there today. We should be reclaiming our parks from cars and making them places for people once again. Cars certainly need to get through this area, but we can accommodate them in a much more well designed way.

    I’m glad the park is being rehabilited and the river daylighted, and that the long severed ped-bike connection between the Esplanade and Back Bay Fens is being restored, but I think we can do much better if we have the courage and desire to do so.

    1. I appreciate the passion behind the students efforts in their class at Northeastern and also the creative thinking of their instructor, Peter Furth. We did look at their work and perhaps it may have helped inspire MassDOT to think as creatively as possible. But I believe that the final engineering direction is sound and that there is no feasible approach that is radically better. I encourage you to go to participate in the public meeting and actually look at the drawings — they really are bold and forward looking.

    2. I don’t know anything about the specifics of the DOT plan and related work, but I endorse the sentiment behind Mr. Dawson’s comment. Since 1972 I’ve lived in the affected part of town…within a mile or less, give or take, of the Bowker disgrace. Sometimes in Kenmore Square or the Fenway, and for a while directly across Charlesgate East from the stream. Currently in Back Bay. I’ve been, until recently, a daily user of that particular park. As well as the Fens, the Mall, and the Esplanade. In all weather, all year around. As far as I’m concerned anything short of a complete redoing of the entire local and regional transportation network would, indeed, amount to application of lipstick to a pig. The whole overpass complex is a monstrosity. Intelligent comprehensive planning, and subsequent construction of pedestrian-friendly alternatives, will cost a lot more money than the Commonwealth has. Or ever will have. Unless we, the people, decide to (a) stop funding the endless foreign wars that have bankrupted us and earned us the hatred of half the world, and (b) redirect those trillions of dollars to desperately needed infrastructure projects here at home. That means somehow regaining control of the federal purse strings, which were long ago snatched from our grasp by our billionaire oligarchs. (Oops! Meant to say “donors.”) A formible task. Short of that, it’s going to be just more cosmetics on the porcine face. The American empire is crumbling. That’s inevitable. And long overdue. But we, the people, can still save the homeland from terminal decay and demise. Our eyes must stay fixed on that far-off prize. Whether or not short-term campaigns to apply various ad hoc bandaids to this-or-that issue will help us to reach the strategic goal, I don’t know. My impulse right now would be to say “Forget the Bowker headache, invest in affordable housing. People can manage to survive with degraded public parks for a while longer. It’s a lot harder to survive homelessness.” I can speak with some authority about these matters, based on my personal experience as a parks user and having been homeless. But that’s just my opinion. I’m sure others will enthusiastically endorse the DOT plan. Whatever floats your boat.

      1. These projects are, in fact, essential transportation projects. The Longwood Medical Area cannot function without the overpass and the overpass needs maintenance. Longwood traffic using the overpass includes workers, patients and emergency vehicles. We made our best efforts back in 2014 to really look at alternatives to the overpass, notably including the addition of a new exit from the Mass Pike to service the LMA and Fenway — we just couldn’t make it work.

        In my mind, MassDOT’s engineers have come up with great design that meets vehicle needs while restoring park uses and adding bike/ped connections while dealing with economic reality. There are many features of it that are really going to be great. I’m personally looking forward to it as someone who spends a lot of time in the area.

        1. Dear Will,
          I agree that the goals of the reconstruction of the Bowker Overpass are laudible and necessary, and can’t wait for the re-creation of Olmstead’s wonderful design.

          But if the construction is to start this coming Spring, I believe all plans for new buildings in the Fenway/Kenmore region should be put on hold until all the Bowker construction is completed–2 Charlesgate West, all the Red Sox buildings, and 1400 Boylston St.

          Those of us who live in the Fenway/Kenmore area are already endangered by the often total gridlock that accompanies Red Sox home games, by concerts in Fenway Park, by concerts at the MGM Music Hall added to rush hour, added to the marked increased traffic from all the new buildings in our area. We are in danger for two reasons–
          1. emergency vehicles do not have access to us (not to mention the tens of thousands in Fenway Park)–ambulances, fire engines, the police will not be able to pass due to the gridlock that will be made much worse than it already is. Our region will be one large construction pit.
          and 2. ambulances will not be able to take us, and countless others, to one of the largest collection of hospitals in the country, as we are the main corridor to them.
          As a physician who has been practicing for more than 50 years, I believe this is a medical emergency waiting to happen, if fact, I am sure it has already happened, but no one is tracking this. The state and the city seem oblivious to the dangers, and are just approving one new massive building after another.
          I know from our discussions that you appreciate these risks.
          with admiration and respect
          Eric Chivian M.D.

  3. Will, thanks for working on this.
    Bowker Overpass planning is part of a successful transition from a Boston weakened by highway construction, suburban exodus, and bussing to its return as a vibrant city.
    In 1972, Republican Governor Frank Sargent cancelled the Southwest Corridor Interstate extension. Boston was so troubled that Brookline residents who lived a few blocks from Park Drive (not Park Street) cheered the project as it might isolate their neighborhood from the City. Sears closed retail operations at Landmark Center (401 Park Drive Building) and pedestrian bridges from Brookline over the Muddy River were closed citing ‘safety’ problems. Here’s a link to my Sua Sponte action keeping access open in 1979: https://tinyurl.com/mrxduu98
    Like the Allston Multimodal Project, the right plan for Bowker Overpass could open River access to more residents.
    Swimming in the river anyone???

  4. I hope the project will also consider adding canoe access to connect the Muddy to the Charles.

  5. Will the replacement and widening improve the blind ramp merges? I’m thinking the Fenway Storrow Dr. exit ramp has two blind merges on your way to Fenway LMC-ward.

    Even without (much) sunlight, the water under the bridges are captivating and really interesting- in the “what the heck is that” sense of interesting.

    Prior to the pandemic Boston really needed a limited tunnel system to bypass Boylston not only on game night and for ambulances to get to the LMA.? but who knows how much traffic volume will return in the few short decades before AI eliminates the white collar work force (and probably the blue collar as well, only less so).

    1. Storrow Drive itself is ill-gotten gain I heard in an NPR special. Can the geology under Boston support tunnels and underpasses?

  6. Will, about 15 years ago I was part of the group that was taking monthly water samples from the Muddy River and the water was consistently very dirty and polluted. I don’t know if the situation has improved since then, but I suspect even if it has there is still a lot of room for improvement. Hopefully further remediation can be part of a follow-on project, or the park is likely to have a most unappetizing central feature.

  7. When I first heard of this, I was thrilled. Now I can hardly wait for completion!! Thanks, Will!

  8. I wish there were more street-level drawings of the proposed changes. I just looked at the presentation and it is such a confusing area, it’s hard to tell how much of a difference this would make. It seems to add more trees and paths below the overpasses, which is needed (that space is not inviting to say the least), but I’d like to see a drawing showing what it would look like under the overpasses. Also I’d like to see a drawing of how these new green spaces connect to the river. Do they even connect to the river? Is there an overpass to get to the river for bikes and pedestrians? I feel like this is mostly about existing road repair and adding a few trees and paths. Would love to be proved wrong. If they are going to present to the public in future meetings, they need to illustrate this much better.

    1. Hi Marcia, I understand that the drawings are not easy to interpret.

      Please participate in the meeting on the 11th and I think you will be pleased. With a narrative the drawings will make more sense.

  9. Looks like a huge improvement. I’m all in favor. Thank you for the huge effort to get the project to this point. Looking ahead, this particular project does nothing to improve the bicycling nightmare of Comm Ave eastbound immediately to the west of the Bowker bridge (ie from Kenmore Square towards the Bowker Bridge). Bike lanes there are always blocked by illegally parked cars and delivery vehicles, and for a block or so the bike lane simply disappears, replaced by the fiction of a “share the road” marking on the automobile lane. Passing eastbound through the area therefore means swerving into busy automobile traffic multiple times, in exactly the same lanes where cars, trucks and busses are swerving in and out of the same lane trying to position themselves either to turn left or to go straight. Will there be a subsequent project to create safe bike route eastbound through the area?

  10. Will removing the chicane mean one can no longer bike at surface level from Harvard Square to the MOS?

    1. Straight through connectivity will be improved along the Boston side of the river. The hazardous chicane under those big pink columns near Mass Ave will be replaced with a straight through connection over a new bridge over the Muddy (which is in a culvert under the columns now). It will be much safer and much more attractive.

      1. Great! The chicane is always a bit harry collision-wise and rightly, or wrongly, that spot made me think twice about night rides, because of the fear of being accosted.

        I’m not good with hills and hope there will be enough switchbacks to get over.

        1. Is there any reason to be fearful of crime doing a nighttime Harvard-MOS Boston-Cambridge bike circuit?

        2. This 50 yo arthritic hip prefers not to get off his bike to go over a bridge to get to the MOS, or do the river circuit.

  11. Very glad to see more bike forward and pedestrian forward plans being implemented. Just took a bikeride from the Minuteman Trail all the way to Boston (Charlestown) on bike paths (separate from the roads) including the new stretch along the green line extension.

    Want to congratulate you and the other advocates for thinking long term about bike and pedestrian users. I hope this project will continue the progress.

  12. Thank you for considering removing the Bowker overpass. I am happy to hear that there will be improved bicycle/pedestrian connectivity to the river.

    Here’s a little history about Philip Bowker who the overpass was named after. In 1953, State Senator Bowker decided who would be publicly branded a communist and a subversive in Massachusetts. Bowker was the chair of the Special Commission Established to Make An Investigation and Study of Communism and Subversive Activities – commonly known as the Bowker Commission. Despite Senator Joseph McCarthy’s censure by the U.S. Senate on December 2, 1954, State Senator Bowker doubled down on McCarthyism. In 1955, the Bowker Commission published the names and biographical details of 85 people suspected of being involved in the Community Party. The Boston Globe published the names on June 9, 1955, and Senator Bowker successfully argued on the Senate floor to have 2000 copies of the report printed for distribution. Of the 85 people named, some lost their jobs and others suffered professional or business losses as a result.

    1. This sounds like the Bowker Overpass is due for a renaming — this is much easier and more quickly done than the removal of the overpass from over the Muddy River. I appreciate the good efforts at accomplishing this more daunting task.

  13. Harris is almost literally at the top of the ticket. The sword of the 25th will be ever over his head and he will certainly resign if he wins. He has no choice. This is terrifying. Utterly terrifying.

    1. And there’s nothing….nothing whatsoever…that we, the people, are allowed to do about this fiasco. It’s all in the hands of the billionaire donors and their flunkies in the DNC. A perfect example of how the “rules-based order” functions domestically. Welcome to the greatest democracy in the world, my fellow peasants.

      1. We may be peasants, but we are comfortable peasants, maybe too comfortable. I was aghast and freaked out by Atkin Stohr’s shameless campaigning-by-lie yesterday evening on the News Hour.

        T would be nice if the news stopped in awe to ponder how momentous and terrifying both Biden’s decline to incompetence is and my party’s deceit both inside the beltway and back home in the districts?

        Yes, the monopolies, billionaires, puppets and the depth of the antipathy for democracy at both extremes is oppressive, but a fair share of the power is with the people.

    2. Candidate Harris didn’t even rate Iowa in 2020. Yes, former President Trump is concerning, but the stunning lack of self awareness from my fellow Democrats who don’t see how our headlong rush to the left and embrace of socialism and antipathy for American values has driven our fellow Americans to the right and, of course the rarification of wealth, inflation and monopolization that has subjugated the population in many real ways.

      1. Besides, don’t we want America’s first female President to walk through the front door of the White House and not sneak in as an asterisk through the back door?

    3. WE DON’T HAVE A PRESIDENT! Joe Biden showed up to the debate, but the President did not! I ABSOLUTELY DO NOT TRUST VP KAMALA HARRIS. Harris didn’t rate Iowa in 2020. Her nasal voice and patronizing demeanor are intolerable. My party is already off the rails-or on the rails to socialism and possibly a greater risk to democracy than the right.
      This “Mr. Average” voter was already going to use his “safe state” vote to protest my party’s antisemitism, pandering and antiAmericanism.

      1. SOCIAL MEDIA LIKES ARE NOT VOTES. Doubling-down on the DNC’s pathos is probably not a great strategy. Get the candidates off the bench. The President is incapacitated and world events don’t take a holiday.

  14. 1. How is widening the B.O. going to “sunlight” the Muddy River?

    2. As much as I don’t like the near blind merges isn’t the BO’s capacity not the limiting factor? Won’t this increase the pain tax for drivers on Boylston?

    3. If we can shift Storrow we can widen Storrow. Why does the Esplanade need more capacity?

    4. I have pity for the long stretch of cars backed up on Storrow and her ramps from my vantage point crossing the river on the Red Line. I like green spaces and biking, but aren’t all of our citizens supposed to be served?

    5. If developer dollars are pulling all the strings in Massachusetts, then aren’t the green spaces they’re creating just ephemera to be built on just like Storrow’s entrusted green space?

    1. 6. Will the Storrow shift slow traffic flow?

      7. What are the return to work projections and how can we have any faith in these unprecedented times?

      8. Is Mass DOT in the long-term thinking business? I want to say ….yyyyeeessss?
      I’m thinking of the sclerosisification of the Hammond Pond Parkway (HPP). Work has In the near twenty years of driving to and from work I know that four lanes were necessary before the pandemic, are necessary for emergency vehicles and break downs, artery closures and for theoretical evacuations. What is the point if the second phase isn’t approved? And, even then, then what? Every day in both directions cars are- were- pulled over to use the woods on either side recreationally: hiking, dog-walking. Now, that use is barred on the west only accessible by bike and car and on the east a couple cars can pull into the pull over area. I really hope a whole lot of bikers and walkers come to use this, but it will be overrun by masked moped riders without license plates driving up take out prices and further lubricating inflation. Not to mention my concern that this will jeopardize the forest unless that’s a lost cause already. Was there a demand, or vote from regular folks to reduce HPP by half, or is it payola for progressive votes and empowerment?

  15. I asm not terribly surprised about your glib, very rose-colored interpretation of this Bowker reconstruction. I have lived 20 years directly facing the incredible eyesore that is the Bowker Overpass as well as the truly underwhelming Charlesgate Park, which is mostly frequented by vagrants and addicts seeking a place to habitate. I was the original founder of the Friends of the Charlesgate, which during the last 2.5 year rebuild ten years ago fought hard to get the Bowker removed and traffic brought down. to ground level. Your usual set-in-stone response to that movement supported the DOT position that the Bowker was (is) indispensable. But look at the facts of that community movement to get the Bowker removed, we had the signature of over 800 local permanent residents supporting this move. We had vocal support from individuals with much greater expertise than you have on the matter: Fred Salvucci, former DOT chief; Michael Dukakis, former governor of MA; Mike Ross, former Boston City Council President; another recent former Chairman of MassDOT; Pam Beale, President off the Kenmore Business Assoc. and various other city, university and business leaders. Your opposition to the removal had nothing to do with practicality of traffic patterns but had everything to do with your politi9cal ambitions and not wanting to cross the massDOT (the most powerful state agency) as well as MassCo (possibly the largest employer in the Fenway area) and even the Red Sox.. So please do not paint this as a great thing for our neighborhood and the historic Back Bay/Kenmore/Fenway sections off downtown Boston.
    As far as the “support” you offer , the Charlesgate (East) Alliance has pretty much accomplished nothing for the bulk of the Park; they have wasted money and resources on overprinting that tiny little corner park on Charlesgate East with the primary goal of hiding any view of the stagnant, trash ridden Muddy River at Beacon St. from the very upscale residences on that street;
    they have wasted resources on replanting lower Marlboro St and totally ignoring requests to replant trees along Comm Ave from Cgate West to Raleigh Street as well as in the Charlesgate Park itself; the few trees that have materialized there are thanks to a joint effort between Margaret Podkorny (of the Friends of the Public Garden) and myself. The promised landscaping that DCR and the Alliance keep talking up for the past ten years in the western part of the park (the bulk of the land ) has resulted in one lone tree being planted. The ugly overpass piers/pilings are not maintained or painted to make them less of an eyesore, again promised by DOT/DCR and the Alliance.
    As to “daylighting” the Muddy River, this crazy over done plan will daylight a tiny little parcel of land (you got it) on Charlesgate East near Newbury St. The bulk of any real daylighting will have to wait for another 5 years (if ever) when the Storrow ramps will supposedly be reconfigured. No efforts has been made by DCR to get the Army Corp of Engineers to work their miracle down on the Muddy River from the turnpike to Storrow. The trash, stagnation and gross smell will continue on that forlorn stretch of riverbed will continue indefinitely.
    As for the plan itself, the reconfiguration of ramps from the turnpike section to Comm Ave. again is a blatantly political move (to please the more affluent eastern neighborhood). Has anyone from DOT or yourself bothered to come over. here to watch the congested traffic every evening from about 4 to 7 or 8 trying to navigate Chalesgate West and Beacon/Comm Ave.
    area) has resulted in one lone tree being planted, no pathways; basically nothing.

  16. (cont:) The gridlock is constant especially on traffic trying to turn east on Comm Ave to Mass Ave or Storrow East bound. Now you promise this truly bizarre hodgepodge of all ramps onto Charlesgate West doubling the traffic trying to navigate Comm Ave. This proposal again show tremendous contempt of the Kenmore neighborhood which has been revitalizing strongly and is providing home ownership to young professionals at a moderate price (as opposed to anything east of the Bowker). There is no real logic for this reconstruction of ramps other than to please the residents on the east side of the Bowker.
    And why in the world is DOT adding new lanes (new bridge) to the traffic over the turnpike. Where exactly is that increased traffic supposed to go? Boyleston St. and Park Drive/the Fenway are not being expanded from their current two lanes) (unless of course if this is quietly being discussed behind the backs of the Fenway Neighborhood Assoc) who would correctly fight such
    a move in the courts.) So you are basically creating a bigger bottleneck than we. currently have. Truly remarkable.
    Finally the scope and size and duration of this project are totally unconscionable. I have vested much time and effort in improving our neighborhood just to see the fabric of that area destroyed in an overbaked, over done boondoggle. DOT knows they could have done a “fast build” here much like they did down at the Comm Ave/BU. Bridge reconstruction. The contempt shown by the supercilious spokesman for DOT stating that the project will require 24 hour construction for four years, with the bulk of “heavy”{ work being done in the nighttime So AS TO NOT INCONVENIENCE TURNPIKE TRAFFIC.; What happen to the several thousand residents who are living in the direct noise and traffic impact area?> Obviously DOTR seems to feel that auto/truck traffic trumps working/living residents in the area trying to get a good night’s sleep. And, you,Mr Brownsberger, who pretends to be an advocate of more responsible commuters traffic (more public transit/bicycles. and less polluting auto traffic) are promulgating the direct opposite: in effect encouraging more car/truck traffic into an already overly congested downtown area of Boston. How incredibly hypocritical of you! But of course’s you are a very ambitious politician so you will go where the money and power is!. Shame on you, Will
    On my next birthday, I will be 80 years old. My beautiful home on Comm Ave at Charlesgate West was supposed to be my “forever” home. But after 55 years of living in downtown Boston (Beacon Hill for 11 years; a lovely home in the South End for 22 years; and 22 years in Back Bay and Back Bay West.) And now I have to face the reality of leaving Comm Ave and Boston in general thanks to your blind support of this classic boondoggle. I really appreciate your concern for your constituents but we all know where your true loyalties are.
    Thank you, Will.;

    1. The broadcast media here is little more than the advertising arm of their parent company,, and aside from weather, entertainment (sports) and “safe” news stories they are little more than the mouthpiece of state and “industry,” with rare exceptions. As I watch a special on Chernobyl I wonder how our free press is coning to resemble a state apparatus.

      1. Strange…and encouraging….how similar the views are among non-elite followers of the political right and the political left. We don’t much like each other’s loudly-proclaimed ideological slogans but we both bemoan how the government/media/business complex rides roughshod over us. A similar phenomenon has been appearing all over the western world recently, particularly noticeable in France right now. The left and right loudly denounce each other in election years, yet their respective rank-and-file adherents…when approached individually and off-camera… express almost identical opinions on a number of important issues. Not all issues, but certainly more than one or two. Why they/we can’t manage to forge provisional cross-party alliances, focused on correcting a few especially scandalous specific abuses perpetrated by the centrist monolith, I simply can’t fathom. We can deal with our differences (which are real and not always resolvable to the mutual satisfaction of both sides) later. Right now we have a common institutional enemy. Which is hell-bent on marginalizing both of us. Look at it this way: The puppeteer behind the screen is pulling the strings to make Punch and Judy fight each other. The kids watching the spectacle cheer, boo, laugh and groan on cue. Time for the audience to wake up/grow up and see this farce for what it really is. When cooperation is in our mutual interest we should cooperate. A good example is the Bowker overpass situation. Nobody with a functioning brain wants it to exist at all. Unless, of course, they are in some way profiting from it. A perfect illustration of the kind of issue I mentioned.

  17. I agree with Sen. Brownsberger in support of most of this project. I am pleased with the daylighting of the Muddy River, the restored parkland, and the extension of Charlesgate West and a 14-foot-wide shared-use path from Commonwealth Avenue to Boylston Street. However, one thing stands out for me as a serious mistake: a 10-foot-wide barrier-separated two-way bikeway shoehorned in alongside Charlesgate West, in addition to the path making the same connection. This bikeway was explained in the online meeting as being for faster bicyclists. A 10-foot wide bikeway is too narrow to allow safe overtaking in the face of oncoming bicycle traffic — its effective width will be even narrower due to the barrier — and so it will in fact often be as slow as the slowest users. The bikeway will place bicyclists and motorists on the wrong side of each other, in the glare of each other’s headlights, it brings on snow removal problems both for itself and the adjacent street, and it paves what would otherwise be parkland without providing any improvement beyond that supplied by the parallel path. Faster bicyclists including e-bike riders are likely to avoid the bikeway, because the shared-use path will be more pleasant, more ample and more convenient.
    Nobody in the online meeting explained just how six streams of traffic in alternating directions would negotiate the intersections. Reducing that count to the normal four — two for the street, two for the path — would reduce complication and improve safety. The same space for the bikeway could instead be used for bike lanes on Charlesgate West, which would allow normal traffic movements at the intersections and to which faster bicyclists an e-bikers should be directed.

  18. I missed adding a comment to the now closed motor scooter fatalities roads and traffic thread and sorry if someone else made this observation and I forgot, but very common feature of the drivers is they are wearing face-masks of the identity concealing variety. Not every human behavior is worthy of toleration. A man was shot to death in his car on the Arborway near Washington St. a few score yards from the Forest Hills by an individuals in a Wolf Pack of motor scooters. And, I’ll say it again this- the pedestrian fatalities and lawlessness is the product of political decisions to be permissive. The responsibility lies with the perpetrators and the politicians who hold enforcement in abeyance.

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