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 NorthEndWaterfront.com 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.”