Food & Drink Transportation

One-Way Traffic and Wider Sidewalks Proposed for Hanover Street in Boston Globe

Boston Globe’s Meghan E. Irons reports the idea of one-way traffic on Hanover Street, including wider sidewalks and al fresco dining, as proposed by the North End Chamber of Commerce.

“We are getting more people than Faneuil Hall, Chinatown, Newbury Street,’’ said Frank De Pasquale, head of the North End Chamber of Commerce, which is pushing the plan. “Hanover is a premier street, just like Newbury Street, and we’d like it to be treated the same way.” They want to spruce up the street with more trees and gaslight lampposts with an eye to making over the street in the image of the Back Bay’s Newbury Street.

City Hall, where officials have fretted about the traffic crunch on Hanover, is open to the idea. But it is generating intense controversy in the North End, where many residents fiercely guard what they say is the lifeblood of the neighborhood.

“Hanover Street is no way similar to Newbury Street, and that’s actually one of its strong points,’’ said Mary McGee, a 37-year resident and member of the North End/Waterfront Residents’ Association. “Here you see your neighbors. It’s a real-people kind of experience, not a glamour kind of experience.’’  Read the full article.

As readers of are well aware, talk about the “Hanover Street Initiative” has been circulating for some time.

Councilor Sal LaMattina talks about it in this interview:

LaMattina has chosen Hanover Street to be a special project during his second term. A few years ago, he proposed closing part of the street to vehicle traffic which received a negative neighborhood reaction and one of LaMattina’s “lessons learned.” Along with State Representative Aaron Michlewitz, he hopes to get both State and City money to fund an independent evaluation of how to improve the famous street.

One possibility is making Hanover Street into a one-way street. “If you look at Hanover Street on busy weekends, people can’t walk down the street, there is constant double-parking and its too noisy.”

“I get upset when I see trucks delivering to restaurants after 12pm because it creates a mess. That’s something we need to work on with the businesses.”

Mayor Menino also waded into the issue with the idea to close the street to all traffic on certain days.

Mayor Thomas Menino used a breakfast gathering of the North End Chamber of Commerce (NECC) to propose a new initiative to close Hanover Street to traffic on certain weekends or one day per week, such as Saturdays. Labor Day weekend was suggested by the Mayor as a slow weekend in the City and/or during the feast weekends when the street is already partially closed. The Mayor offered support from the Department of Public Works and other city agencies to keep the street clean, remove garbage and encourage the pedestrian-only concept. Business leaders in attendance generally supported the idea. The Chamber will start a committee to work with the City and further research the initiative.

In December 2010, the Boston Transportation Department told the Neighborhood Council that a one-way concept for Hanover Street is under “serious consideration” inside City Hall.

Just a few weeks ago, State Representative Aaron Michlewitz talked about doing a study on Hanover Street.

“The way Hanover Street is set up now, it is no secret that it is not working especially on the weekends. I would like to find the best solution to allow for the same excitement and activity, but to prevent any major issues or catastrophes.”

11 Replies to “One-Way Traffic and Wider Sidewalks Proposed for Hanover Street in Boston Globe

  1. There he goes again! Here's an idea for FD: Move your restaurants to Newbury St, South Boston, Marblehead, Quincy ,Vegas , Mohegan Sun or any place that is not the North End. You don't care about the neighborhood and the people who live here. Power restauranteur? Not the words I would choose.

  2. I don't understand why anyone would want to turn Hanover st more like Newbury? Newbury has become an overly sanitized version of a mall with chain stores. Not too mention that the restaurants on newbury don't seem to do very well. Hanover has a gritty authentic feel that would be lost with the one-way and huge sidewalks. Why not just fix up the curbs and broken sidewalks, replace the dead trees …oh, and the bricks on the Freedom trail are a safety hazard … they need to be replaced soon

  3. Making the area more pedestrian friendly sounds like a great idea. I don't understand how this would make Hanover anything like Newbury. Nothing about Hanover's character depends upon it being a two-way road.

  4. Your right Joyce here we go again. To change Hanover Street to one way going down would help provided the Valet parking is shared and to be used on one side of the street and the other side is for North End Parking. The Restaurants shouldn't have it ALL. John P your right also fix the streets and sidewalks and re-paint the cross-walks so the children and elderly can walk safely across the streets. Put STOP signs on the corner of Prince and Hanover Street. Re-do the freedom trail so tourist can see the red line and enjoy the walk through the North End. So much needs to be done in the North End not wide sidewalks. Look around Polcari playground is a mess the dead bushes, the trees are falling we need the Parks Department to consider removing those bushes so we won't have addicts going in there at night and people throwing their beer bottles and trash behind the bushes. City of Boston, Parks Department need to reconsider cleaning up that area. Changing Hanover Street to look like Newbury Street is not the answer this shouldn't be about the Restaurants it should be about the NORTH END RESIDENTS. The Restaurants have enough already 2 A.M. closing now you want trees and wide sidewalks. What about the North End Residents that have lived here long before the 150 restaurants came along. We can't even come up with a strong idea for Trash and loud parties at night. These are all concerns of the North End Residents and now all we need is wide sidewalks, more people, more trash, more noise what a solution??????? "IT"S ALL ABOUT ME" nothing is for the North End Residents that have worked so hard to keep this community together. Marie S.

  5. Making Hanover one way will also put added traffic on the side street which already cannot handle the traffic they have today. Enforce the double parking laws more stringently. Limit the amount of cabs that can traverse Hanover on weekend nights ( would be hard to do, admittedly). And revoke some of the valet licenses…we don't need any more than one per block. All of this will allow Hanover traffic to move more freely.

  6. What ever happened to the plans six years ago to beautify Salem St. Apparently there is more political persuasion for Hanover St. and Salem St plans get hijacked to accomodate business people on Hanover St. Enough is enough! Salem St is not even well lit from Cross St to Parmenter which makes it a haven for all sorts of illegal matters. Not to mention when Hanover St is possibly closed to traffic one day a week; where is all that traffic routed?? Could it possibly be Salem St.?? There was a time when Salem St. was the Gateway to the North End and people walked freely in the streets and vendors were able to sell outside their storefronts. If there is any street that should be enhanced or closed to traffic, then it should be done on Salem St. so more than just reataurants can benefit such as the Fish Market, Polcaris, the Meat Market, Bakeries, the Italian Market, Wine Shop, Boutiques, Produce, Hardware Store, etc. There is too much emphasis on fixing Hanover st. It is not the only street in need of repair! Yes, there needs to be new brighter lighting(gas lights), new and expanded sidewalks, new trees, new pavements also in the alleyways and side streets of Salem St. There is also a traffic problem on Salem St as well but because it is the forgotten street no one seems to care or realizes what is going on. At the very least, I would hope that lighting issues are addressed! It was every Saturday people came to the North End to shop on Salem St. and it was closed off with the blue police barrier. Salem St was considered a shopping destination years ago. So lets continue the tradition of being a shopping destination for all businesses and not just restaurants and outdoor cafes. Businesses on Salem St respect the 11PM closing hour and deserve to enhance their businesses with people visiting by making Salem St more accesible. I speak as a resident of the North End as well as a business owner. Being born and raised in the North End we have to take the residents point of view into account as well. We still remain a densely populated neighborhood where residents deserve consideration. The diaolgue needs to continue on this issue involving business owners and residents and not just be the decision of a few.

  7. @Carla….can you hear my applause? But Please don't try to make Salem St too much like Hanover St. More attractive and better lit but not Hanover #2.

  8. Joyce not my intent at all! It's not about widening the street for restaurants or cafes. It's about making Salem St. more inviting and accessible for residents and visitors alike. People seem to forget that the North End is comprised of more than one street. Lets rally together both residents and businesses to improve the North End overall.

  9. I am so glad to see that Matt's web-site has become a way for everyone to express their views and "thank you" Matt without you we wouldn't have any idea what is going on in the North End. Your right Carla we need more lighting on Salem Street for the safety of everyone the elderly, the tourists and the businesses. All you hear from the City is there is no money in the budget! Safety is a concern for everyone. By the way where is the City of Boston going to get the money to make the sidewalks wider for Hanover Street? Don't fix the playgrounds; nor the lighting; or the trash; or the broken sidewalks or re-paint the cross-walks to make it safe to cross the streets FIND THE MONEY TO MAKE THE SIDEWALKS WIDER? You know the saying "it's not what you know it's WHO YOU KNOW!!!! Marie S

  10. Matt I must say from freeway and I your web-site is remarkable your right on top of every issue. Not a beat to be missed. If this is the way to get the word out and let the North End Residents express their feelings and views that is great. We need more residents to speak out and give their point of view to the quality of life they deserve in the North End. Matt, your terrific I can't say enough about you. Your pooch friend Freeway

  11. Appreciate that Marie/Freeway. I think the Globe reporter, Meghan Irons, presented the various angles to this story well but obviously focused mostly on the one-way concept. One thing that most seem to agree on is that the base infrastructure needs work on Hanover, Salem and most other NE streets. How about simply fixing the sidewalks, curbs, trees, lighting, sewers, etc.?

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