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Old 03-12-2013, 07:32 PM   #1
BostonUrbEx
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Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

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City Announces Selection of Rutherford Avenue Surface Option Design

After the completion of a thorough and lengthy community process, and in cooperation with the residents of Charlestown, the City of Boston has announced its decision to select the Rutherford Avenue Surface Option Design Plan. The next step toward rebuilding Rutherford Avenue is a comprehensive community process to reach consensus on a final design. That process will commence later in 2013.

“In partnership with the Charlestowncommunity, we’re working to transform Rutherford Avenue from a highway to a neighborhood-friendly, urban boulevard,” Mayor Thomas M. Menino said. “Residents will be able to take advantage of new connections to the MBTAOrange Line, new greenspace for children to play, and safe access to theCharles River. The new Rutherford Avenue will offer these and countless other opportunities to enhance quality of life for the people ofCharlestown.”

In February 2010,Charlestown residents and the City of Boston Transportation Department completed an 18 month-long community process to come to a consensus on a new design forRutherford Avenue that would include the reconfiguration of Sullivan Square. At the conclusion of this process the Charlestown Neighborhood Council voted in favor of the plan. During the 18 month period, as well as another two and a half year review period, BTD made presentations at 10 well-attended community meetings and at another 20 briefings to community groups, elected officials and advocacy groups. The final decision to move forward with the surface option design plan was made only at the conclusion of this extensive process.

The key benefits of the new design for Rutherford Avenueinclude the following.
Safe pedestrian crossings and connections between the neighborhood andMBTA Orange Line stations.
50 feet of green, open space to serve as a buffer between traffic and neighborhood homes.
Parcels for new housing atSullivan Square.
The connection of theMystic River waterfront to the Charles River.
The elimination of underpasses at Austin Street and at Sullivan Square, and the introduction of conventional surface streets with signalized intersections to manage traffic flow.
The inclusion of enough traffic lanes to continue to provide for smooth traffic flow and protect Charlestown from cut-through traffic.
The extension ofSpice Street to Rutherford Avenueto allow forCambridge Street traffic to bypass the rotary area.

The current Rutherford Avenue concept design was funded by the City ofBoston. BTD is now moving forward to secure $11.5 million in federal funding that has been earmarked for the final design and environmental review.

“BTD appreciates the input and assistance that we have received from local residents and elected officials on this project,” said BTD Commissioner Thomas J. Tinlin. “We look forward to continuing our work with them through the final design process and the completion of construction on the new Rutherford Avenue.”

For more information on the Rutherford Avenue Surface Option Design Plan, please visit www.cityofboston.gov/transportation/rutherford/.
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forget it ever happening, its too great an idea.
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Old 03-12-2013, 07:54 PM   #2
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Re: Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

That's great news!

I don't know if could work, but it would be great if a downsized Rutherford could accommodate a Green Line Branch. Unseal the Canal St portal, street run trolleys to the Charlestown Bridge - when rebuilt, allow for tracks. Street run by City Square to Rutherford up to Sullivan. Hell you could then run it along the old RoW that goes to the cargo site, elevate it over Terminal Rd and under the Rt 1 elevated back to City Square in a Charlestown Loop to hit the new Spaulding and the Navy Yard. Maybe connect it to a future Greenway trolley.

Meh. Dreams...
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Old 03-12-2013, 08:17 PM   #3
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Re: Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

Rezone the surrounding area to create an urban street wall along the length.

Oh wait, this is the BRA, a suburban artery with "green space" is good enough.
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Old 03-12-2013, 10:44 PM   #4
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Re: Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

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Unseal the Canal St portal
Is that still possible, or has it been built over already?
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:05 AM   #5
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Re: Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

It's a parking lot, built to be able to be re-opened.
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:06 AM   #6
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Re: Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

but once the parking lot is developed, will that still be possible?
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:36 AM   #7
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Re: Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

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Originally Posted by BussesAin'tTrains View Post
That's great news!

I don't know if could work, but it would be great if a downsized Rutherford could accommodate a Green Line Branch. Unseal the Canal St portal, street run trolleys to the Charlestown Bridge - when rebuilt, allow for tracks. Street run by City Square to Rutherford up to Sullivan. Hell you could then run it along the old RoW that goes to the cargo site, elevate it over Terminal Rd and under the Rt 1 elevated back to City Square in a Charlestown Loop to hit the new Spaulding and the Navy Yard. Maybe connect it to a future Greenway trolley.

Meh. Dreams...
I'm sorry but that just look like building trains for just to have more trains. The Orange line is literally across the street. Granted, it feels far due to the size of Rutherford and the stations itself is set back from there, but it is still right there with less than 1000 FT.

Now if the Green Line goes into Charlestown, then that's expanding service.
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Old 03-13-2013, 08:54 AM   #8
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Re: Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

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Now if the Green Line goes into Charlestown, then that's expanding service.
I'm confused, as this directly contradicts the entire previous paragraph you wrote.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:05 AM   #9
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Re: Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

I'm interpreting Busses as going straight down Rutherford Ave rather than into Charlestown. As he said, "run down Rutherford up to Sullivan". So that's going straight down the median of Rutherford the OL stations only 300 ft at BHCC Station and 700 ft at Sullivan Station (as measured on Google Maps).

My last line is if the Green Line turns right at Rutherford (turn right at Austin St?) and into Charlestown (I think there's a misunderstanding by the word - when I say Charlestown, I don't include Rutherford and points west of it and points east is "Charlestown")

Edit:

Since I'm map-py with paint today:


Redundant:




Useful?



Edit 2: Any chance in some future renovation that Tobin have space to take the Green Line over to Chelsea?
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:10 AM   #10
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Re: Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

Boylston St in the Fenway Part II, please!
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:16 AM   #11
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Re: Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

My thoughts were a ring around Charlestown. Which, given the neighborhood's size would make most of the residents within 10 minute walk of a station. I'd love to see a street runner down Main Street instead but that won't happen. Tunnels are not going to happen under the hills either. A light rail complement to the OL on Charlestown's west side that continues (as I said) around the north/eastern side and back to city square along the waterfront isn't just redundant with the OJ, it's a dedicated Charlestown Loop. I only suggested using Rutherford because of it's massive footprint. I'd probably rather a dead-end stub going the other way out of City Square to the Navy Yard and swinging northwest to Sullivan; the downsizing of Rutherford, however, presented an opportunity for some infill service on that corridor via light rail.
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Old 03-13-2013, 09:29 AM   #12
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Re: Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

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Originally Posted by ant8904 View Post
I'm interpreting Busses as going straight down Rutherford Ave rather than into Charlestown. As he said, "run down Rutherford up to Sullivan". So that's going straight down the median of Rutherford the OL stations only 300 ft at BHCC Station and 700 ft at Sullivan Station (as measured on Google Maps).

My last line is if the Green Line turns right at Rutherford (turn right at Austin St?) and into Charlestown (I think there's a misunderstanding by the word - when I say Charlestown, I don't include Rutherford and points west of it and points east is "Charlestown")
Green to Sullivan would never ever go here. The Innerbelt carhouse lead tracks put the ROW on a straight grade-separated trajectory to Sullivan and future LRT Urban Ring on the seldom-used freight double tracks. It would be silly-easy to send a stub turnback to Sullivan as a third branch off the Lechmere junction and make Sullivan into a superstation. The only concrete required is a short duck-under at the freight wye. They don't even have to figure out the rest of the UR. Just send the C three extra stops to terminate there and funnel all would-be carhouse deadheads as revenue runs pinging to Sullivan before they go out-of-service.

This is definitely the build if real LRT Urban Ring ever happens. But don't forget...until 1955 there were 2 branches to Sullivan off North Station taking opposite flanks. Sullivan's a big enough bus terminal that there's adequate demand for a one-seat from Green-originating destinations.



As for Charlestown, if there's a place where a transit line might be merited it would be an extension off a would-be Greenway trolley, over the Charlestown Bridge, and serving City Sq. and the Navy Yard. It wouldn't need to go anywhere near Rutherford because Community College serves Bunker Hill CC and Thompson Sq. very well, and a little bit of improved ped access from Sullivan to the other side of the square would keep Main St. fully covered between Thompson and Sullivan. The bus coverage to Bunker Hill St. and the middle of Charlestown is good already and wouldn't need streetcar augmentation. Especially if Sullivan were to become a superstation where the bus transfer can get you from Green or Orange to any destination on Bunker Hill in 10 minutes flat. Really, I'm not even sure the trolley leg off the Greenway to the Navy Yard is truly needed from a purely transit perspective if you do the superstation and increase the bus frequencies. Such a Navy Yard build would be driven a bit more by tourism and commercial interests, with City Hall and the BRA pushing it.
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Old 03-13-2013, 12:29 PM   #13
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Re: Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

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As for Charlestown, if there's a place where a transit line might be merited it would be an extension off a would-be Greenway trolley, over the Charlestown Bridge, and serving City Sq. and the Navy Yard. It wouldn't need to go anywhere near Rutherford because Community College serves Bunker Hill CC and Thompson Sq. very well, and a little bit of improved ped access from Sullivan to the other side of the square would keep Main St. fully covered between Thompson and Sullivan.
This. And transit access to the Navy Yard would serve pedestrians and catalyze development (instead of the fits and starts we've seen over the last 30 years).
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Old 03-13-2013, 01:00 PM   #14
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Re: Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

The Navy Yard already has the ferry to Long Wharf and the 93 bus. Both work well. Capacity isn't an issue. A Green Line trolly gets you a one seat ride to Copley, but not really much else. In terms of it catalyzing more Navy Yard development, where else are you going to build? The lot at 1st and 9th is already about to start and Spaulding's already up and running out at the end. I guess you could go up, but you could build 1000+ new units in the Rutherford Ave corridor before there would be a pressing need for it.
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Old 03-13-2013, 06:04 PM   #15
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Re: Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

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Originally Posted by vanshnookenraggen View Post
Rezone the surrounding area to create an urban street wall along the length.

Oh wait, this is the BRA, a suburban artery with "green space" is good enough.
Agreed completely. Sounds like a waste of 50 feet, and an unnecessary prevention of a more urban feel.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:47 AM   #16
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Re: Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

Sounds like Melnea Cass part 2.
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Old 03-14-2013, 10:36 AM   #17
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Re: Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

They are going for Southwest Corridor feel, but with less of an auto-oriented roadway.
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:48 PM   #18
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Re: Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

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Originally Posted by cden4 View Post
They are going for Southwest Corridor feel, but with less of an auto-oriented roadway.
That is one big buzzkill of a mental image.


Greenspace: it's like pouring 'organic' concrete!
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Old 03-14-2013, 12:58 PM   #19
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Re: Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

At least put a big cycle track in the space so its quick and easy to get from sullivan sq to north end/downtown by bike. Would also serve east somerville.

I mean, if we are going to squander 50 feet of potential infill, lets squander it right.
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Old 01-11-2016, 04:30 PM   #20
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Re: Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

This is unfortunate: I thought the plan was essentially set, but Capuano makes it sound like it might not happen.


http://charlestownbridge.com/2015/12...s-sullivan-sq/

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That shifted the conversation to a situation that is near and dear to Capuano – that being the reorganization of traffic in Sullivan Square and Rutherford Avenue. One positive about the timing of the bill, he said, is that those who are just now beginning the teeth-gnashing work of delving into Sullivan Square can be assured that federal money is in the pot.

“Sullivan Square is in a planning effort, but it didn’t have a federal funding guarantee,” he said. “Everyone could agree on a plan for Sullivan Square immediately and say, ‘Let’s do it this way,’ but there were no federal monies there until this bill. The federal money is there now.”

Long an opponent of the surface option for Sullivan Square, Capuano said he hopes the federal dollars will move decision makers to the table for a real solution that is regional and workable.

“The problem is Sullivan Square and the roadway are all owned by the City of Boston,” he said. “The City of Boston has to come to the table. Clearly, my preference is to keep Rutherford Avenue and Sullivan Square as a part of the regional transportation system and I hope the Commonwealth drives that train and the City of Boston works cooperatively. I think they don’t want a bottleneck there. They couldn’t create a bottleneck there unless the Commonwealth allowed it…There are still lots of problems with Sullivan Square and the Commonwealth has to begin to solve them. Let’s break ground on this casino and get together on a regional effort with Boston, Cambridge, Somerville and Everett and start to figure out what we all want there.”

He added that many are still pointing to the surface option, and the fact that the casino and other developments nearby have foiled the City’s plan to return Sullivan Square to the neighborhood. He said he doubts there ever was a great deal of support for that plan, and especially now.

“Some people support it and it was always a very divisive issue in Charlestown,” he said. “It was a 50-50 proposition and never really was the City’s final plan. If it were allowed, it would push traffic on to residential streets of Charlestown. Instead of Rutherford Avenue, you would have them on Main Street. You are still going to have people going through Charlestown.”
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