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View Poll Results: Which to eliminate?
Storrow Drive 39 68.42%
Memorial Drive 7 12.28%
Soldiers Field Road 11 19.30%
Voters: 57. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 08-12-2011, 10:28 PM   #1
BostonUrbEx
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Which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?

Storrow Drive
Memorial Drive
Soldiers Field Road


I think Soldiers Field is the least useful of the whole bunch, at the least the others provide some level of straight point-to-point travel. Soldiers Field goes out of it's own useful way to get around Allston. Pretty lame road that's gotta go. Although the river may not be as accessible to as many people here, we could see this part make the largest advance, IMO.

/hating on egregious waterfront highways
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forget it ever happening, its too great an idea.
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Old 08-13-2011, 11:53 AM   #2
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Re: Which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?

Storrow. Memorial Drive isn't a highway and turning Soilders Field into a street won't make Allston feel any less cut off from the river because the train tracks, Mass Pike and Harvard campus and playing fields do that already. Edit to add that even though it seems like it goes out of it's way and isn't useful, people use Soilders Field to get to route 2.
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:04 PM   #3
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Re: Which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?

Storrow. Add some ramps from the Pike to Comm. Ave. and boom, local traffic can be rerouted that way.
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:46 PM   #4
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Re: Which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?

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Storrow. Add some ramps from the Pike to Comm. Ave. and boom, local traffic can be rerouted that way.
wow. what a bad idea.
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Old 08-13-2011, 12:57 PM   #5
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Re: Which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?

why is that a bad idea? I'd love to see Storrow replaced by the Pike as the main highway serving Back Bay and the Fenway.

I would not like to remove Memorial Drive, but ideally I'd like to redesign it to pull the eastbound lanes away from the river bank. That might be hard to do without cutting down lots of mature trees, though.
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Old 08-13-2011, 01:30 PM   #6
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Re: Which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?

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wow. what a bad idea.
Wow. Way to add to the discussion.

The Pike is woefully under capacity inside 128. The only reason it can appear to be a disaster is the outdated tolling system. Replace that with electronic, high-speed, open-road tolling and the Pike can be used to its potential. Unlike Storrow which is substandard and an eyesore that was never meant to carry the type of traffic it does.
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Old 08-13-2011, 02:13 PM   #7
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Re: Which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?

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Wow. Way to add to the discussion.
my bad. sorry (it didn't sound so rude in my head).
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Old 08-13-2011, 04:24 PM   #8
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Re: Which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?

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Originally Posted by omaja View Post
Wow. Way to add to the discussion.

The Pike is woefully under capacity inside 128. The only reason it can appear to be a disaster is the outdated tolling system. Replace that with electronic, high-speed, open-road tolling and the Pike can be used to its potential. Unlike Storrow which is substandard and an eyesore that was never meant to carry the type of traffic it does.
Ha! Open road tolling is a mystical creature that will never be implemented within the next decade. It's a no brainer and should be done, but the people running this state are not that smart. Somehow I feel the unions have had some luck with delaying this process.
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Old 08-13-2011, 04:37 PM   #9
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Re: Which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?

Storrow Drive, hands down. It could easily be replaced by the Mass Pike if a set of ramps were added for traffic to and from the east.

Soldiers Field Road should stay because it logically ties Route 2 with the Allston Mass Pike interchange, serves the Harvard Square area, and also allows Memorial Drive in the Harvard Square area to be closed to traffic occasionally for pedestrian/bicycle use.

Memorial Drive is also a critical arterial for Cambridge and for traffic bypassing downtown Boston on the north side.
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Old 08-13-2011, 09:02 PM   #10
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Re: Which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?

Some contributers here illustrated a proposed interchange where SFR feeds directly into the pike at the Allston tolls, rather than continue into Storrow. I think that makes a lot of sense if storrow were to be downgraded or (less likely) removed.
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Old 08-13-2011, 11:25 PM   #11
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Re: Which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?

You guys have me convinced. I voted for Soldiers' Field Road, but I can see now that it has some difficult to replace utility. I don't drive that area much, so what do I know?
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Old 08-15-2011, 05:37 PM   #12
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Re: Which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?

I think that the idea isn't "which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?" But rather, "what can be cone do improve these roads?"

I would start with paving Storrow.

Also, as crazy and dumb as this sounds, but we should move Storrow underground starting from the Longfellow all the way to Soldiers Field. If done right this time, it might be the best thing for everyone who commutes on there.

You really cannot fix Memorial Drive. Realistically, it's not as much of a blight as people think.
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:07 AM   #13
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Re: Which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?

I don't think it's realistically possible to get rid of any of these highways. Much as Storrow SHOULD go, that's going to be too radical to get widespread support. And by widespread support I mean like 2/3 supermajority to set it in motion.


Improvements:

Storrow
-- Demolish the Bowker Overpass, restore Charlesgate street grid.

-- Reconfigure the Charlesgate interchange further away from the river w/right-hand exit only and minimal-profile ramps to/from Storrow West.

-- Realign under Mass Ave. to lower-profile roadway on the Back St. side, return all the 'no man's land' in the center to the Esplanade. Move Mass Ave. north off-ramp to right-hand exit on re-centered roadway. I guess you could do a Mass Ave. south to Storrow west on-ramp if you wanted with that reclaimed space, but I prefer not inducing any more demand.


Soldiers Field Rd.
-- Reduce to 4 lanes between Western Ave. and Eliot Bridge. There doesn't need to be a continuous frontage lane, and this is dangerous road because people are switching lanes too fast for the sharp curves. Do adequate merge lanes at each exit and re-claim part of the deleted travel lanes as much-needed shoulder. Now you have a saner left travel lane and right local lane setup instead of speeding travel/speeding travel + crazy merging/frontage + crazy merging lanes.

-- Reduce the excessive Eliot Bridge ramps to a lower-profile setup. Why is this a 10-lane split? That's insane for a 4-lane parkway interchanging with a 4-lane bridge at a partial intersection.


Greenough Blvd.
-- Reduce to 2 lanes from Eliot Bridge to Arsenal St. and trade in reclaimed space for bike/pedestrian paths on both sides. This road is ridiculously underutilized for how wide it is, and is a scary proposition for pedestrians with the substandard sidewalks and speeding traffic.

-- Narrow the profile of the Cambridge-side Eliot Bridge interchange. Greenough east doesn't need to split into 2 + 2 lanes, and merge into 3 + 1 lanes. 1 + 1 / 1 + 1. And fix that stupid endless red light from Fresh Pond Pkwy, bar none the dumbest timed traffic signal in Metro Boston. It prohibits all traffic whatsoever onto Greenough west when half of the interchange is on a protected merge. Who does that??? I have never felt so dumb as when sitting at that thing for 5 minutes staring at wide open road while some uptight idiot behind me starts inching forward pressuring me to run the red.

-- Fill in the discontinuity in Greenough at Arsenal. Did this road used to go straight through and then get demolished through that open field long ago? Bizarre layout. Traffic completely hoses Arsenal in both directions with all the people making left turns to/from Greenough next to the Arsenal with no light protection. That's stupid, and this bottleneck is also what keeps Greenough so sorely underutilized throughout. Connect the ends together at one light and abandon the jog behind the Arsenal to parkland. This road could be a new secret weapon for getting around smoothly were it not so oddly laid out.


Memorial Dr.
-- Signal coordination. Especially BU Bridge-Harvard. Traffic flow is incredibly choppy because the signals are all asynchronous. Biggest single improvement they can make to the entire roadway.

-- Eliminate the right-lane parking from JFK Park to Mt. Auburn St. This is senseless for both residents, who have to be home to move their cars at rush hour, and drivers who have no warning that the right travel lane is on-street parking until they have to do frantic weaving. If you're gonna do that, don't stripe the frigging lane...make it a breakdown lane with permitted travel 5 weekday hours per day. I would be terrified to park there lest I be the last car in line when some out-of-towner guns it out of Harvard. If the neighbors need parking, find it somewhere. But not on the freaking parkway.

-- Fix the Doubletree light...you know, the green that's always red? They make these things called turn arrows, guys.

-- Better ped access to the reservation. Eliminating the eastbound parking lane was a good start. Now they have to find some way to make all that parkland in the middle more usable and inviting to people. Think "active lifestyle" Comm Ave. Mall with exercise equipment or something. It's a big patch of green canvas that could be a lot better utilized, and if it's got higher activity that'll bring further traffic-calming effects.

-- Erosion mitigation. That's a sorry, sorry excuse for a "riverbank" from Mass Ave. to BU Bridge. Badly graded sand and geese s***, walkways too narrow to be all that functional. It's beyond me why they've let the deplorable soil conditions persist here when it's probably the #1 source of runoff pollutants in the basin. See above...additional traffic calming if people are actually using the "green" (use your imagination on this one) space.



Pike
-- New staggered ramps in Back Bay to offload Storrow capacity, replace Bowker.

-- Eliminate Allston tolls. I know this is radical, but I'd rather see the lost revenue offset (and them some) by state-line tolls on 93/95/91/US3 than have this continue to be some great wall making it hard to get around the urban core. That monstrously overdesigned interchange was for the I-695 inner belt, not the river roads. It wouldn't be so heinously complex if 695 had been canceled before it was already open.

-- New exit: Birmingham Parkway rotary, Allston. Ties in North Beacon St., Charles River Rd., Nonantum Rd., the other ends of Soldiers Field Rd. and Greenough Blvd., takes a load off Newton Corner by funneling Watertown Sq. traffic onto the light-use river roads, takes a load off Cambridge St. by drawing away Allston traffic that would otherwise have to reverse direction. Contiguous link to the river roads is supporting reason for dropping the tolls, though I suppose if they absolutely HAVE to stay you could do up this one with high-speed tolls + 1 single manual booth per ramp and bring back the Newton exit tolls in tandem for parity. I'd make 'em cheap tolls, though, to encourage local travel.

-- Beacon Park relocation. Been discussed here before, but the viaduct and all of the overpasses are facing end-of-life and potentially hugely expensive rebuild. And odds of Harvard successfully developing Beacon Park after the struggles they had elsewhere are slim the way the Pike shears it off from Lower Allston. As it's an overbuilt I-695 residue interchange and high speed tolls don't require the massive footprint of manual tolls, time to blow this sucker up and go minimalist. Build a new carriageway at-grade on arrow-straight path through the rail yard, inclining up onto the viaduct at Harry Agganis Way. Rehab the viaduct east of there where the tracks have no choice but to run underneath, demolish it west of there where it starts to turn north. Land swap nets Harvard property that's fully facing and integrated with Cambridge St., and probably more total acreage than it's got now hamstrung by ramps.

-- Allston exit Option #1: Construct narrow-profile right-hand flyover ramps for eastbound to/from the exit. Consolidate all the twisting and weaving into narrower profile. New direct ramp to Storrow east (on footprint of that useless truck U-turn lane behind the Doubletree), straighter entrance from Soldiers Field Rd. east frontage road. Somewhat improved intersection with Cambridge St., but mostly same design as now. Direct Storrow east entrance/exit ramps and new Birmingham Pkwy. exit at other end relieve considerable strain on Cambridge St.

-- Allston exit Option #2 (more expensive): Cut Storrow the length of the Doubletree-Western Ave. frontage road so the roller coaster dips are combined at 100% below-grade (easier construction here than elsewhere because of the existing underpasses and frontage roads usable during construction). Deck over the newly cut parkway and re-center the frontage roads on top of it as a 4-lane boulevard to reclaim park space. Construct Pike-to-Storrow east ramp as in Option #1, but create flyover ramp to/from Pike sliding on top of the Doubletree end tunnel portal. At-grade intersections at Cambridge St. and Western Ave. Aligns perfectly with straight traffic onto the underutilized western river roads, consolidates all the Allston and Cambridge movements into straightforward left/right turns, extremely narrow profile and efficient land use, reclaims maximum possible real estate for redevelopment, allows Cambridge St. to be completely flattened at-grade and contiguously redeveloped from Lower Allston to the river (i.e. no bridges, ramps, or landfill hills shearing it off).


Other related

-- Blowing up McGrath Highway and making (improved) Rutherford Ave. and (improved) Mystic Ave. the prevailing traffic pattern from Fellsway to the river roads helps everything immensely by cutting a huge amount of turning traffic out of Leverett Circle and the O'Brien/Memorial intersection. The ramps straight-feeding the Pike to either end of Soldiers Field Rd. does a lot of traffic-balancing to roads in that direction that can handle it and away from roads that can't handle excessive turning and weaving. This serves the same function for the McGrath/O'Brien/Craigie/Leverett clusterfuck. If there's anybody I WANT speeding along the river instead of using the Pike it's the drivers funneled through Charlestown who can pass quietly underneath Leverett Circle or go straight coming off the Gilmore Bridge instead of tying up a turn lane in front of the Museum of Science. Not only is the state not providing enough incentive to do this commute the easy way, it's not providing nearly enough DISINCENTIVE to stop overflowing 28. Which is, after all, supposed to somehow become the friendly main street of the Northpoint and Brickbottom great white hopes...something that's not gonna happen if traffic don't become a lot less intimidating. So I think you have to figure the whole whither McGrath/Sullivan Sq./Rutherford Ave. debates into improving the river roads.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:08 AM   #14
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Re: Which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?

Eliminate Storrow. Add new entrances and exits on Mass Pike. Restore Arlington St between Charles Circle and Beacon St as a two lane city street (one lane each direction).

For Memorial Drive, move eastbound lanes adjacent to westbound lanes to consolidate parkland into a large Esplanade along the river. Reduce number of travel lanes from 4 to 3 (1 through lane each direction, plus center left turn lane/median, bike lanes).

For Soldiers Field Rd, consolidate lanes and amount of land used.
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Old 08-31-2011, 10:43 AM   #15
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Re: Which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?

Let's start with the must haves the rest can be debated after the Turnpike is fixed.

It is clear that the Pike has to be the 2 way connection between:
1) Logan
2) South Boston Innovation District
3) Back Bay
4) developing 'New Balance District"

To meet that requirement there needs to be;
1) W bound off-ramp to Back Bay
2) E bound-on ramp from Back Bay
3) better connectivity to New Balance area
4) replacement of all toll booths with 2 lanes of High Speed Open Road Tolling and 1 or 2 lanes for people without transponders --- in-bound only -- see I-95 in New Hampshire
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Old 08-31-2011, 12:45 PM   #16
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Re: Which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?

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Restore Arlington St between Charles Circle and Beacon St as a two lane city street (one lane each direction).
You mean Charles Street, not Arlington Street.
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Old 08-31-2011, 01:37 PM   #17
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Re: Which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?

Realign the pike straight across Beacon Yards adjacent to the through tracks. Depress both the through tracks and the highway and rebuild a grid of streets around it to connect the BU area to Lower Allston.

Have SFR run directly into the Pike via a Y interchange approximately where
the tolls are now. New local exits on the pike will handle former Storrow traffic.

Include an offramp from both SFR and the Pike onto the revamped Storrow Blvd, an urban riverfront street with pedestrian crossings and at-grade intersections with all major Back Bay and Beacon Hill streets. Remove all exit/entry ramps except at Mass Ave and Charles Circle. Restore Charlesgate grid and remove Bowker across Comm.

Build a row of one-story retail and cafes against Back Street the entire length between charlesgate and Mugar Way!

Integrate the Storrow tunnel into an extended Blue Line from Charles to Kenmore and beyond to Riverside.
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Old 09-01-2011, 12:53 PM   #18
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Re: Which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?

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You mean Charles Street, not Arlington Street.
Nope, I meant Arlington St. If you look at old photos, what is now part of Storrow Dr used to be Arlington St, which ran along the river between Charles Circle and Beacon St (it connected at the current Storrow ramps/Fieldler Footbridge intersection).
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Old 09-01-2011, 01:08 PM   #19
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Re: Which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Shepard View Post
Realign the pike straight across Beacon Yards adjacent to the through tracks. Depress both the through tracks and the highway and rebuild a grid of streets around it to connect the BU area to Lower Allston.

Have SFR run directly into the Pike via a Y interchange approximately where
the tolls are now. New local exits on the pike will handle former Storrow traffic.

Include an offramp from both SFR and the Pike onto the revamped Storrow Blvd, an urban riverfront street with pedestrian crossings and at-grade intersections with all major Back Bay and Beacon Hill streets. Remove all exit/entry ramps except at Mass Ave and Charles Circle. Restore Charlesgate grid and remove Bowker across Comm.

Build a row of one-story retail and cafes against Back Street the entire length between charlesgate and Mugar Way!

Integrate the Storrow tunnel into an extended Blue Line from Charles to Kenmore and beyond to Riverside.

Shep ... some good suggestions -- but first the Pike Must have the entrances and exits in the Back Bay and open tolling to get rid the artificial bottlenecks and restructure the traffic flow before any of the other projects can be planned

That said the only way to pay for this (ala filling of the Back Bay by selling the lots) is to agressively develop on air-rights over the Pike and on or adjacent to the ROW -- so the redefined ROW through the Beacon Yard is probably a good complement to the Back Bay ramps
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Old 09-01-2011, 09:23 PM   #20
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Re: Which atrocious highway-on-the-Charles would you remove first?

The notion that Storrow should be eliminated is laughable. The road is very necessary and allows people to get from one end of town to the other with ease. Adding extra on/off ramps to the Pike is not going to cut it.

I think the best scenario would be to bury it from the Charles/MGH area to Fenway.

Oh and also, the notion of having zero tolls in Allston should not even be discussed as they are not going anywhere.

This state is too stupid and ignorant to ever install open lane tolling like other states have.
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