This is the first in a series of articles on the issues discussed at the June 22, 2009 public meeting for the Greenway District Planning Study with a focus on transportation.
The Boston Transportation Department was on stage Monday night as part of a series of public meetings for the Greenway District Planning Study. Vineet Gupta presented goals of the department that not only apply to the Greenway, but also to the larger City transportation system.
The primary goals of the BTD around the Greenway are:
– Enhance pedestrian environment
– Use Smart technology to manage traffic flow
– Increase mobility choices for residents, visitors and commuters
– Provide for clean vehicles (especially electric vehicles)
– Achieve parking balance (supply/demand)
The BTD believes the Greenway is already pedestrian friendly, although that is a debatable point. It’s hard not to notice the number of people walking on the sides of the Greenway, rather than on the linear park area itself. Nancy Brennan, Executive Director of the Greenway Conservancy, noted that pedestrians don’t know where to stand for the crossings and need more visual clues. On the positive side, most of the sidewalks along the Greenway are no less than 15 ft 7″ (with some exceptions). The issue of bad intersections was highlighted, especially around South Station, Dewey Square and Chinatown. On the North End side, the ramp parcels are major obstructions to pedestrian and bicycle traffic.
The BTD uses real-time cameras and can adjust signals based on traffic flows. However, the video is not taped which makes the system useless to enforce traffic violations. Officials are generally pleased that traffic moves well along the Greenway, although there seems to be an issue with tunnel backups during afternoon rush hours. A resident noted times where it can be very difficult for a Harbor Towers resident to move onto the roadways along Atlantic Avenue.
A goal of the traffic department is to discourage cars coming into downtown. Resident cars are considered preferable because they walk/bike to work, use public transit, reverse commutes so their car use is mostly during off-peak times.
Next in this series is on bicycle use around the Greenway.