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Globe’s Cross Street Plaza Article Confuses the Issue

The Boston Globe’s Meghan Irons writes an article today about the Cross Street Plaza and the conflicting uses for pedestrians, outdoor tables, the service road and parking. Read the article here.

I was misquoted in the article about the need for resident parking in the neighborhood. For the record, I am in favor of making this location mostly a pedestrian area with outdoor dining tables. The reporter asked me why anyone would want parking there and I reiterated the obvious point about the high cost of parking in a garage. She left out my points about the more important argument is the public safety issue on that plaza which should be mostly for pedestrians, the Freedom Trail and outdoor dining tables. There are many options for this space and it is more complicated than just the parking issue.
 
The interior road through the plaza creates a serious conflict between vehicles and pedestrians.
In addition to the safety concerns, it limits the pedestrian area to a small part of the overall space. The plan should have more open space for pedestrians. The bollards should be moved outward, or eliminated, allowing for more space around the Freedom Trail.

Parking should not be allowed on interior of the plaza.
If the roadway through the plaza is eliminated, then parking would be on the exterior/Cross Street side. One plan is to allow short-term parking for deliveries and customer traffic during the day, turning over to resident parking in the overnight hours.
Resident parking can be kept for overnight use on the outside of Cross Street and new spots can be created by the curbside and the unused taxistand.

I have no problem with Caffe Graffiti’s tables and wish them success with the plan.
I look forward to eating outside there. Another community meeting with the Boston Transportation Department and local officials is planned in the near future.
Currently, there is an interior and exterior row for parking with a service road in the middle. One proposal is to eliminate the interior row and limit the service road to morning business deliveries. The outside row (closer to Cross Street) would also be cleared except for overnight resident parking. (Photo by Matt Conti.)
Currently, there is an interior and exterior row for parking with a service road in the middle. One proposal is to eliminate the interior row and limit the service road to morning business deliveries. The outside row (closer to Cross Street) would also be cleared except for overnight resident parking. (Photo by Matt Conti.)
This photo shows the outdoor tables set up for the Freedom Trail unveiling event last week once the cars are removed from the plaza. (Photo by Matt Conti.)
This photo shows the outdoor tables set up for the Freedom Trail unveiling event last week once the cars are removed from the plaza. (Photo by Matt Conti.)
This aerial shows the Cross Street plaza with cars inside and along the curb of Cross Street. (Photo by Matt Conti. Click to enlarge.)
This aerial shows the Cross Street plaza with cars inside and along the curb of Cross Street. (Photo by Matt Conti. Click to enlarge.)
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4 Replies to “Globe’s Cross Street Plaza Article Confuses the Issue

  1. Is it my imagination or does the Globe turn every issue in the North End into some kind of culture clash? Did I miss something or isn’t the issue about the Cross Street Plaza a PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUE?

    Saturday afternoon I was on Salem St (near Lulus) when a car driver who didn’t want to wait for the light cut thru the plaza and then didn’t even stop or look to see the SUV who was turning right on Salem St. Luckily the SUV driver had to stop to let the totally oblivious tourist pedestrians cross the street. Too bad it was over by the time I found my cell phone to take a picture.

    on a different topic about the plaza…why does Nick Verano’s Famous deli have a four top table set up in a parking space on the "car side of the plaza" and why are these tables so far out into the pedestrian space that pedestrians have to walk where the cars are supposed to have access?

  2. Yes, the public safety should be at the forefront.

    On the tables, I should point out that picture was taken during the Freedom Trail unveiling event so that might not be permanent. I think everything is in flux regarding the configuration.

  3. Matt, I should have made myself clear about the table at the Deli. I was referring to what I saw on Saturday afternoon and not what is in the picture. There were four people sitting at a table with an umbrella that was set up in the "parking lane" ‘behind that smart car the deli always parks on the plaza. I also saw this one day during the week but it was being dismantled. (Perhaps someone called it in and they had to move it?).

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