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It was “standing room only” as residents packed City Hall for the Connect Historic Boston (CHB) 25% design public hearing. Previous Connect Historic Boston meetings pertained to specific sections of the project – this meeting was a presentation of the entire Boston project. On hand were City officials from several agencies, Federal Highway Administration, Boston Transportation Department, BRA officials, Boston public works and design consultants.

A thirty-minute open house was held prior to the presentation to give residents the opportunity to speak directly with those who are in charge of the planning and design process. The entire project was presented and then the floor was opened to comments and questions.

A packed room at City Hall intensely listens in on the the Connect Historic Boston project. Photo by Conor Finley
A packed room at City Hall intensely listens in on the Connect Historic Boston project. Photo by Conor Finley

 The project schedule moving forward is as follows: 

Spring 2014
100% design complete
Project filing/approvals complete

Summer 2014
Advertise construction Contracts

Fall 2014
Construction funds obligated
Begin construction activities

Below are the lifestyle design plans for Commercial Street and Causeway Street.

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Some side notes:

  • There are plans for upgraded sidewalks at the North End’s Steriti Skating Rink to make them ADA compatible.
  • Along with the Cycle Tracks  being signalized, there are plans for upgrades to lighting fixtures along the entire CHB project.
  • The Causeway Street segment of the project is planning for the new building and business developments on the street and also taking into account the new entrance the North Station T station.

Below are the plans for cycle tracks along Commercial Street, broken down by each major intersection. (Slideshow)

Cyclists and residents signed their names on the speakers list and took their turn asking questions and raising their concerns. Some color from the public feedback period is shown below.

  • Cyclists are happy for the hard work, the signalized bike lanes and the cycle tracks
  • ADA improvements were appreciated
  • Suggestions for better signaling on the cycle tracks, with numbered countdowns, similar to Chinese signals
  • Concerns about the increase of cyclists due to these cycle tracks, tracks too narrow
  • Lighting questions about the acorn lights, LED bulbs may be too bright/vibrant
  • Some are unhappy with taking cyclists off the common street, forcing them to cram in these cycle tracks
  • Snow and ice removal of the cycle tracks during the winter remains a concern
  • A commenter thought cycle tracks were good for community and makes streets safer for everyone, for pedestrians, cyclists, and cars – good for business, property values, etc.
  • Support of the project and understanding that there will be a learning curve, much like Hubway’s – but people will adjust.

Click here to view the full presentation in its entirety.

See ConnectHistoric-Boston.org for more information.  Questions or comments can be sent to Vineet Gupta, Boston Transportation Department at (617) 635-2756 or vineet.gupta@cityofboston.gov

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