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Old 07-06-2019, 09:29 PM   #1
FK4
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Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

I didn’t see anything on this so making a new thread. Perhaps when aB gets the eventual reorganization we’ve been talking about, there can be a sub-portal to all unbuilt infrastructure projects.

Anyway, I have this map on my wall and have always been curious about why a road that could only duplicate an existing one (Bussey) and that would never service anything other than parkland would have ever been proposed for the Arboretum. Anyone have any idea about this?

https://www.loc.gov/resource/g3764bm...,0.772,1.141,0


Edit - I should have clarified with the thread title that I meant unbuilt, non-highway roads.

Last edited by FK4; 07-07-2019 at 02:54 PM.
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Old 07-06-2019, 09:53 PM   #2
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Re: Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

My guess (and this is pure speculation) is that this had to do with driving culture in the 1920s. This was the same time that Robert Moses was building all sorts of tree-lined parkways throughout Long Island - perfect for taking the whole family out of the city with the new Chevy. We got some of that (West Roxbury Parkway, 1919; VFW Parkway, 1931) but maybe this was just one planner's attempt to bring the automobile to nature closer to downtown.
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Old 07-06-2019, 11:28 PM   #3
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Re: Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

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My guess (and this is pure speculation) is that this had to do with driving culture in the 1920s. This was the same time that Robert Moses was building all sorts of tree-lined parkways throughout Long Island - perfect for taking the whole family out of the city with the new Chevy. We got some of that (West Roxbury Parkway, 1919; VFW Parkway, 1931) but maybe this was just one planner's attempt to bring the automobile to nature closer to downtown.
Except... The original parkway stuff was Olmstead and Eliot and predated autos.. then, the later parkway stuff really wasn’t “driving culture” as we mean today, but more in line with the “let’s go out for a nice ride” spirit of the pre car days.

And, in this case, there’s a prexisting road that fulfills the same purpose. In the 1950s maybe you’d see such wholesale duplication but this is just weird - they widened Walter Street, why not just widen Bussey?
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Old 07-07-2019, 11:26 AM   #4
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Re: Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

There is an unusual proposal for an inner belt alternative:

https://www.cambridgema.gov/~/media/...iser.pdf?la=en
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Old 07-07-2019, 12:36 PM   #5
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Re: Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

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There is an unusual proposal for an inner belt alternative:

https://www.cambridgema.gov/~/media/...iser.pdf?la=en
That alternative was a last minute effort before the entire highway was cancelled.

To avoid the taking of residential neighborhoods, it proposed a route through the Mystic Valley Parkway, the Alewife Brook Parkway, and the Charles River Parkway and adjoining parks. This of course was rejected, as it obviously should be.

No, the Boston metro area is much too dense to accommodate additional highways. A robust transit system is the only answer. Unfortunately, even that is opposed by powerful NIMBYs.
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Old 07-07-2019, 03:13 PM   #6
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Re: Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

The *only* new highway Boston could use would be an expressway upgrade of the turnpike section of Route 1A from the expressway's end point past Bennington St. to at least MA 145 in Revere...if not all the way to the MA 60 rotary or MA 107. And that mainly is for neighborhood quality-of-life reasons because there's so much truck and tanker traffic on that road very poorly separated from neighborhood streets.

And it wouldn't be that expensive, either. String together a few severed city streets as frontages, do a staggered interchange at Boardman St./Tomassello Way that wraps those two streets around behind the air freight vendors, heal the curb cuts by Global Petroleum/Hampton Inn with either a frontage setup or a Furlong Dr. exit and wraparound side street, do a high-speed MA 16 interchange, and re-angle the MA 145 interchange so it has more room and takes the road out of the middle of a residential neighborhood (maybe even recycle the Route 16 side of the rotary approach to leave a lower impact).


There's other highway pieces still to infill in the state (MA 146 in Sutton, US 44 in Middleboro, infilling MA 2 to a complete highway in Lincoln then Concord-Acton, Cape Cod Southside Connector, etc.). But 1A is the one and only one that in Metro Boston that would do better off being built up more instead of reined in.
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Old 07-07-2019, 05:01 PM   #7
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Re: Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
There's other highway pieces still to infill in the state (MA 146 in Sutton, US 44 in Middleboro, infilling MA 2 to a complete highway in Lincoln then Concord-Acton, Cape Cod Southside Connector, etc.). But 1A is the one and only one that in Metro Boston that would do better off being built up more instead of reined in.
...what about 16 between 93 & 1 or 1A?
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Old 07-07-2019, 08:47 PM   #8
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Re: Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

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Originally Posted by dmdogs900 View Post
There is an unusual proposal for an inner belt alternative:

https://www.cambridgema.gov/~/media/...iser.pdf?la=en
Also this:

https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer...-bozIT3YXE-5wU
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Old 07-07-2019, 10:00 PM   #9
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Re: Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

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...what about 16 between 93 & 1 or 1A?
16's way too built up to make a highway out of. There are single-family houses on it in Everett. You might be able to compact the parkway between 1 and 1A with better frontages and better ramps at Broadway to make a better cutover between the two big highways if 1A were to get expresswayed. And you can definitely complete the missing legs of the Medford interchange with 93, and maybe even truncate it early if the 1A expressway extension ate the 16 carriageways out to the rotary. But other than that, warts and all it's an artery for all ways of life in Everett & Revere.


One thing you *could* do if you got the 1A expressway to the 60 rotary (though I think Revere would major problems with this) is continue that expressway on the footprint of 60 out to where it curves to the 107 rotary. Maybe cannibalizing some of the closed Necco factory's front lawn for a couple thousand feet of separation from other development, then maybe going down in a cut with residential frontages for the last couple thousand feet to keep the impact as tolerable as possible. One you reach the curve, go straight, do an interchange with 107, and turn west snaking behind where backlots meet swamp. Connect to the Route 1 ghost ramps so two contiguous expressways meet. It'll get the air freight and tanker trucks out of town with less disruption and provide valuable redundancy for our Harbor crossings to have all the tunnels + Tobin backed up by one another.

Again, Revere would probably be nonplussed at the prospect of a 1A expressway going any further than the 60 rotary, but we're only talking 3500 ft. of 'tricky' mitigation along the existing parkway...more like 2500 ft. if 1-2 businesses in front of Necco can get razed and rebuilt across the street. Solve that very small stretch with enough dealmaking and the rest is just seeing how closely they can grind against Northgate Shopping Center's back property lines to split the difference against engaging the wetlands. Much like the less controversial expressway-ification of 1A out to the rotary, this extra leg to 107 & 1 wouldn't be very expensive at all compared to recent and proposed MassHighway construction opuses.
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Old 07-08-2019, 08:33 AM   #10
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Re: Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

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Originally Posted by dmdogs900 View Post
There is an unusual proposal for an inner belt alternative:

https://www.cambridgema.gov/~/media/...iser.pdf?la=en
Wow, this is a great read. It’s hard to find good treatments of stuff like the inner belt - it’s usually a little too “niche” for something as well researched as this piece is. I would love to see something like this for the story on the other side of the river.
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Old 07-08-2019, 10:32 AM   #11
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Re: Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

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Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
16's way too built up to make a highway out of. There are single-family houses on it in Everett. You might be able to compact the parkway between 1 and 1A with better frontages and better ramps at Broadway to make a better cutover between the two big highways if 1A were to get expresswayed. And you can definitely complete the missing legs of the Medford interchange with 93, and maybe even truncate it early if the 1A expressway extension ate the 16 carriageways out to the rotary. But other than that, warts and all it's an artery for all ways of life in Everett & Revere.
Completing the interchange with I-93 and compacting the parkway between 1 and 1A would be pretty nice thing tho. Route 16 can made more highway-ized from i-93 to like Route 99 too. Maybe not interstate level, but more under/over passes. I particularly look at Wellington Circle where other threads tangentially talk about Wellington Circle as a Park & Ride, but one of the things that keep I-93 users it is a bit of a detour. Making it more like a long off-ramp would lower that barrier.
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Old 07-08-2019, 01:52 PM   #12
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Re: Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

How about this one?

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Old 07-08-2019, 02:05 PM   #13
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Re: Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

Enjoy this: https://ia800309.us.archive.org/21/i...ress00mass.pdf (Innerbelt and Expressway System 1962)

It lays out the preferred alignments, reasoning, statistics, etc. for the built and unbuilt highways. Most interestingly, it repeatedly makes the point that expansion of rapid transit facilities are required.

It proposes the following extensions (which come at the expense of inner CR stops or even rails themselves):
  • Ashmont to Braintree
  • Sullivan to Reading
  • Forest Hills to Needham
  • Kenmore to Newtwonville
  • Harvard to Waltham & Lexington
  • Boston to Winchester/Woburn
  • Revere to Lynn

Another doc notes that highway funding was basically secure, but transit projects required project-by-project approvals.

Last edited by fatnoah; 07-08-2019 at 02:18 PM.
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Old 07-08-2019, 04:39 PM   #14
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Re: Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

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Originally Posted by fatnoah View Post
Enjoy this: https://ia800309.us.archive.org/21/i...ress00mass.pdf (Innerbelt and Expressway System 1962)
Holy crap, I've been looking for this document since I first ever found out about the unbuilt highways. Thank you!
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Old 07-08-2019, 05:03 PM   #15
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Re: Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

Would the construction of the inner belt have eliminated the need for Storrow and Memorial Drive to be as important as they are today? Admittedly, I haven't looked much into it, but I'm imagining there'd still be limited access to the Back Bay without Storrow, and perhaps Memorial Drive would be able to take a significant road diet?
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Old 07-08-2019, 08:17 PM   #16
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Re: Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

Quote:
Originally Posted by F-Line to Dudley View Post
The *only* new highway Boston could use would be an expressway upgrade of the turnpike section of Route 1A from the expressway's end point past Bennington St. to at least MA 145 in Revere...if not all the way to the MA 60 rotary or MA 107. And that mainly is for neighborhood quality-of-life reasons because there's so much truck and tanker traffic on that road very poorly separated from neighborhood streets.
I think some strategically placed underpasses or overpasses on this section of 1A, and on 16 at Wellington Circle, would really benefit the metro traffic. Also the Alewife intersection on Rte 2.
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Old 07-09-2019, 01:34 AM   #17
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Re: Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

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Originally Posted by stefal View Post
Would the construction of the inner belt have eliminated the need for Storrow and Memorial Drive to be as important as they are today? Admittedly, I haven't looked much into it, but I'm imagining there'd still be limited access to the Back Bay without Storrow, and perhaps Memorial Drive would be able to take a significant road diet?
More likely it would just funnel more traffic down them. The Inner Belt just moved traffic around the core but drivers were still trying to get to Cambridge and Back Bay. They still would have used Storrow and Memorial.
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Old 07-09-2019, 12:02 PM   #18
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Re: Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

Quote:
Holy crap, I've been looking for this document since I first ever found out about the unbuilt highways. Thank you!
You're welcome. Also give thanks to the person that posted the City of Cambridge doc that referenced it. I didn't get much work done yesterday after finding that doc.

Also, check out page 6 of this doc for an interesting concept for the Alewife interchange: https://static1.squarespace.com/stat...of+Route+2.pdf
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Old 07-09-2019, 08:58 PM   #19
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Re: Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

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Originally Posted by fatnoah View Post
Enjoy this: https://ia800309.us.archive.org/21/i...ress00mass.pdf (Innerbelt and Expressway System 1962)

It lays out the preferred alignments, reasoning, statistics, etc. for the built and unbuilt highways. Most interestingly, it repeatedly makes the point that expansion of rapid transit facilities are required.

It proposes the following extensions (which come at the expense of inner CR stops or even rails themselves):
  • Ashmont to Braintree
  • Sullivan to Reading
  • Forest Hills to Needham
  • Kenmore to Newtwonville
  • Harvard to Waltham & Lexington
  • Boston to Winchester/Woburn
  • Revere to Lynn

Another doc notes that highway funding was basically secure, but transit projects required project-by-project approvals.
Holy fucking shit! Like Van, I’ve searched for big documents on the Interbelt for years… I’m not as obsessed with transportation stuff as I used to be, but I have spent many hours pouring over archive.org and never found any documents longer than 20-30 pages. This is fantastic.

I only have had time to look through about half so far, but worth noting:
On page 115, interesting to see all of the urban blight areas on one map (NY streets, scollay, west end, rox highlands, the longwood/alphonsus tract).
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Old 07-10-2019, 04:35 AM   #20
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Re: Unbuilt roads around metro Boston

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How about this one?

I actually have an earnest desire to learn more about the Boston Bypass and how serious that guy actually was. I remember seeing the yellow signs saying "Back the BB" around when I was very young, and when my dad explained what they stood for, even at that age I thought it was nuts.
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