Reader Poll: Should Hanover Street Have Car-Free Days?

Over the summer, Boston celebrates Open Newbury Street, three car-free Sundays with games and food from local businesses.

Earlier this month, Canal Street hosted “Open Canal Street”, a day when the street was closed to cars and turned into a family-friendly space with games, music, entertainment and tables providing information about local businesses. The pedestrianization of Canal Street is also a priority action item in the North Station Area Mobility Action Plan.

Although the Canal Street event saw muted participation during the day, the Newbury Street days are quite popular, as shown in this video.

So, what do you think – should we bring car-free streets to the North End? Cast your vote in the poll and share your thoughts in the comments below.

Note: Web polls are not scientific, representing only those readers who choose to vote.

21 Replies to “Reader Poll: Should Hanover Street Have Car-Free Days?

  1. As a resident whose home abuts Hanover St, this is a terrible idea. Residents should be able to come and go as we please on any given day. I can’t get down Hanover St to do shopping on a normal day as it is now. My options are limited as it is. Don’t further narrow the windows.

    I think the businesses and restaurants will do fine without this. No one is starving on Hanover St.

  2. who would this benefit? certainly not the people that actually live in the neighborhood. as far as i can tell, cars on hanover street are not hurting the local businesses. furthermore, beyond restaurants, there are relatively few other business on hanover street. we can wish it was as nice as charles street, but its so far from it.

  3. Looks like I am in the minority, but in a neighborhood where parking is a problem they are talking about clearing out the largest artery in neighborhood? On a weekend I suspect when parking is premium. The Canal St comparison isn’t a real comparison. Hardly anyone lives there, it connects to nothing and I can throw a baseball from one end of the street to the other.

  4. Cannot compare Hanover to Newbury Street, which shuts down 3 Sundays a month. The area is comprised of a grid. There is Boylston St, Newbury St, Commonwealth Ave., Marlboro Street and Beacon Street, all run parallel and of course there are the cross streets. Cars can maneuver to find parking other than Newbury. Newbury is a shopping heaven, with outdoors cafes and restaurants…..people enjoy walking freely in an open street.
    What is the advantage of opening up Hanover? Our neighborhood has a problematic parking problem as it is, and we’re going to ask people to move their cars for an ‘open street’? The streets cannot handle this Hanover idea. Realistically, there is no shopping to be had.

  5. Terrible idea & as Gary F wrote no one is starving on Hanover St.The residents of the North End have sacrificed enough. The problem on Hanover St. is the lack of law enforcement in dealing with double parked cars that has been a problem since the fifties.

  6. If people want a car free weekend enjoy the feasts coming up every weekend in August.

    We’ve had car free Hanover st 100 years before Newbury st decided to do it. Plus our feasts are unique and blows open Newbury out of the water

  7. I think its pathetic that Dock Sq Garage and other garages in the Neighborhood are more half empty at night while residents fight on the street to find parking. THIS IS WRONG! Garage owners should not be allowed to have mostly empty garages at night all over the city. The parking rate are outrageous! Parking for residents should be like $5 a day. I highly recommend anyone who owns a car to visit Dock Sq garage or any Garage on any night and see the empty garage. Its a waste of one of the most valuable resources in the city.

    I think the entire North End should have a Car Free Day. They should give all residents FREE Parking for the day inside the Empty Garages.
    Problems solved.

    1. sure. and every apartment with an extra bedroom should let someone live there for free. also, i walk by a lot of restaurants half-empty restaurants in the north end, so perhaps these restaurants should serve free food to get people in those seats.

    2. The reason that some restaurants are half empty is simply due to the fact that their are too many of them in a small congested for the garages we all understand that it is a business ,but Nate is right the rates are outrageous.

    3. It is not pathetic at all. it is private property. The owners of the garages and lots cannot be forced by government to give spaces away so you can park your car.

  8. Don’t the residents have enough problems getting around with all the construction and traffic how much more do we want to alienate the residents in the North end, or do we actually care about them?. As far as the businesses they are doing very well with out it. Saying your going to promote business is just a way of getting people to vote, (and its working)

  9. If you shut down Hanover Street, which is one of the main access streets to the North End, that leaves Commercial Street (which is greatly narrowed due to the construction and new bike lane) and Salem Street (which is a one way). I can’t imagine the congestion it would cause on the side streets.

  10. This is a terrible idea. The North End does too much already to accomodate businesses and visitors at the expense of residents. How about enforcing no double parking on Hanover Street instead? That would actually b benefit all the stakeholders in the neighborhood. “You can’t drive in from the suburbs and double park at Mike’s anymore!”

    1. If you are a resident in this neighborhood and you claim to not double park you either have no car or are a liar.

      1. I drive around until a viable spot is open where I can lug in my 50 lbs/week worth of groceries. For that reason, I shop VERY early on weekend mornings. I do not double park and try to park as close to my home on Hanover St as possible. I suggest you actually come watch me do it every Saturday morning before calling me a liar.

  11. Joe- dropping off my groceries in a side street is not the same as the blatant double parking in Hanover st. And you know it.

    1. Agreed , dropping off groceries or a person or picking someone up is NOT the same as double parking while you BS with someone in one of the cafe’s & as I wrote earlier it has always been this way since I walked the streets as a kid in the fifties.

  12. Did we forget that the North End is a neighborhood … not a Mall! We still have residents and elder residents who need to get home. Don’t you think that the businesses have taken enough away from Hanover street …. Almost every restaurant from Cross Street to Parmenter has valet parking on both sides.

  13. Close down Hanover St. For whose Benefit, certainly not the Residents, who have been getting stepped on for
    years for Restaurants. I am sure Hanover St. Residents have to food shop & how do they go about that?
    Helicopters on Roofs for deliveries? Before you know it, they may want to shut down the entire No. End &
    only have cars on Commercial & Cross Sts. Like Pam said, this is not a Mall. Hanover St. & Salem St.
    already take the brunt of tourism & late nite drinkers. Hopefully, when the casino is built in Everett
    we can go back to being more of a neighborhood rather than Restaurant Row.

  14. Salem Street would be a far better choice for pedestrianization. From Cross Street to Parmenter Street would be great and the neighborhood would only lose about 18-20 parking spaces. All of the restaurants could have outdoor seating and Paulis bike delivery people would certainly enjoy bidirectional movement and not having to compete with cars squeezing through a street that was clearly built long before the invention of the automobile.

  15. Pat K, Why is it always about the restaurants? What about the people who live here? You said only 18-20
    parking spaces will be lost. We shouldn’t even have visitors’ parking. We the residents, have been thrown
    aside like dirty socks for Far Too Long. The No. End is an extremely small neighborhood and we the residents
    should come first, regardless of how much revenue the restaurants take in. Restaurant Revenue is not going
    to stop anytime soon, but for residents to have to sacrifice more for restaurants or any business is not fair.
    The cost of parking a car in a garage or parking lot is $300 & up, and unfortunately not everyone can afford
    these outrageous parking fees.
    The City is on an all time high & I think it is about time the residents should have their issues of parking,
    trash, etc. taken into consideration. Always remember this, the more restaurants, the more rats. Rats are
    running rampant & why would they ever leave, no where on earth do they have a bigger selection.
    The City of Boston Rodent Control can’t even keep up with this ongoing problem.

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