Community Transportation

Mixed Public Feedback at Causeway Street Redesign Hearing [Video]

Video: Causeway Street Reconstruction presentation and public comments at State hearing held on Wednesday, August 8, 2012 at TD Garden. Formal presentation starts at 4:30 in the video with public comments starting at the 27:00 time point.

With 25% of the Causeway Street redesign completed, State and City officials received extensive feedback from a large group of residents, business owners and bicyclists at a public hearing on Wednesday night at the Legends bar inside TD Garden.

The $12 million planned redesign of Causeway Street encompasses Keany Square on the North End side at the intersection of N. Washington Street through the Bulfinch Triangle to Merrimac Street including Lomasney Way in the West End. Under the guise of the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s “Crossroads Initiative” the project is being headed up by MassDOT’s Highway Division that expects to cover 80% of the project with Federal Highway funds. Complete hearing documentation and comment form is available here (pdf) with some sections pasted below.

The hearing included substantial debate regarding the N. Washington intersection and how best to accommodate the multi-modal needs of vehicles, pedestrians and bicycles. In addition, the Endicott St. intersection with N. Washington is expected to be “straightened” with its own traffic signal light.  The proposed changes to Endicott Street were not supported by abutters at the meeting, citing numerous public safety concerns. Moving along Causeway Street, sidewalks are expected to be widened to 18-26 feet. Bike lanes will be shared with narrowed vehicle traffic intersecting with newly designed pedestrian crossing areas.

Bicycling advocates dominated much of the public comment period, pushing for more extensive cycling accommodations including dedicated cycle-tracks. There was also substantial discussion regarding the flow of people and traffic during TD Garden events. Strada 234 and West End Place residents were also vocal about concerns near their property as well as the needs to accommodate the large number of new residences/hotel under construction in the Bulfinch Triangle.

See the video in this post for the full presentation and public comment period. Excerpts from the distributed documentation are also shown below. For a written blow-by-blow account of the hearing, see John Allen’s Street Smarts blog.

Excerpts from MassDOT Design Documentation

The proposed Causeway Street Reconstruction Project will improve safety for pedestrians and bicyclists. Partial full depth reconstruction and mill and overlay are proposed to resurface the existing roadway. Traffic signals upgrades will be made along the corridor in conjunction with modified lane usage to improve traffic flow and reduce congestion on Causeway Street. The project shall also address street lighting, landscaping, and sidewalk improvements.Written statements and other exhibits in place of, or in addition to, oral statements made at the Public Hearing regarding the proposed undertaking are to be submitted to Thomas F. Broderick, P.E., Chief Engineer, MassDOT, 10 Park Plaza, Boston, MA 02116, ATTN: Highway Division Project File No. 606320. Mailed statements and exhibits intended for inclusion in the public hearing transcript must be postmarked within ten (10) business days of this Public Hearing. Project inquiries may be emailed to

The Causeway Street Reconstruction Project is a vital component of the City of Boston’s Crossroads Initiative, whose overall intent is to link 12 downtown streets to the Rose Kennedy Greenway—reconnecting neighborhoods and destinations once cut off by the former elevated Central Artery (I-93). The Central Artery bisected Causeway Street in the area of Beverly Street, where on- and off-ramps to I-93 were also located. In addition, the MBTA’s elevated Green Line ran down the middle of Causeway Street from Canal Street and continued north along Lomasney Way.
As stated in the Crossroads Initiative plan, a key goal of the Causeway Street Reconstruction Project is to transform Causeway Street into a “great pedestrian-oriented boulevard,” make it the “anchor” for the Bulfinch Triangle/North Station business and entertainment district, reconnect the West End and North End neighborhoods, and transform the Bulfinch Triangle/North Station area into a more vibrant, pedestrian-friendly place.
Scope of Work
The Causeway Street Reconstruction Project will consist of reconstructing approximately 2,000 linear feet of roadway and sidewalks from Lowell Square to Keany Square. Improvements along the corridor involve realignment and reorganization of travel lanes on Causeway Street, along with pedestrian safety enhancements and bicycle accommodation. Causeway Street improvements include associated streetscape, landscape, and street lighting improvements.The primary users of the core section are pedestrians—more specifically, pedestrians crossing Causeway Street. With this in mind, pedestrian improvements include widening sidewalks and providing bump-outs at crosswalks to reduce crossing distances and for better driver visibility of pedestrians. Narrowing the overall roadway width will not only shorten the crossing lengths, but also help reduce the speeds along the corridor. Median refuges will also be provided to eliminate the need for major traffic control and require pedestrians to only look for traffic in 1 direction at a time. These enhancements will create more distinct pedestrian crossings minimizing the desire for jaywalking. Raised intersections are also proposed as a traffic calming measure at Causeway Street/Friend Street and Causeway Street/Canal Street. Raised intersections are typically used to slow vehicular speeds and improve the visibility of pedestrians.Additional proposed improvements include the following:
• New street lighting throughout the limits of work;
• New pavement throughout the limits of work;
• New traffic signalization at all currently-signalized locations within the project limits;
• Bicycle accommodations; and
• New street trees and sidewalks throughout the limits of work.The design of the Causeway Street Reconstruction Project is currently being funded through the Boston Public Works Department and managed by the Boston Redevelopment Authority. While all Causeway Street Reconstruction Project roadways are under City of Boston jurisdiction, Causeway Street, North Washington Street, Lomasney Way, and Staniford Street are all Federal- Aid Eligible. With this in mind, the City intends to seek funding through various Federal-Aid sources. All federal transportation funding in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts flows through the state’s transportation agency, MassDOT. As such, both the City of Boston and MassDOT are proponents of this project and partners in its design and construction.
The Causeway Street Reconstruction project is expected to reach the 100% design level by the winter of 2012. Construction will potentially take place during the 2015 and 2016 construction seasons, depending upon T.I.P. priorities and funding allocation.