Rutherford Ave. and Sullivan Sq. Redesign: Becoming Part of the Process

October 27, 2011
By

On Tuesday, Oct. 18 at the Knights of Columbus the Charlestown Neighborhood Council’s Transportation Committee hosted an informational meeting on the current state of the Rutherford Avenue / Sullivan Square redesign. This was the eighth meeting on the redesign since July 2008 and with close to 200 people present, one of the most attended. Rutherford Avenue / Sullivan Square Project leaders including Vineet Gupta Director of Planning at the Boston Transportation Department and Mike Hall, lead consultant for Tetra Tech Rizzo started the meeting with an in depth PowerPoint presentation showing the details of the design as well as current and projected traffic volumes based on studies done in 1997 and 2008.

The most striking aspects of the Sullivan Square design involve removing the underpass and the rotary to replace it with a traffic grid. Other changes include expanding Mishawum Street to three lanes, repaving and expanding Spice Street to three lanes as well as turning Sever Street currently “bus only” lane between Maffa Way and Cambridge Street into a three-lane road. All for the purpose of dispersing the traffic and alleviating numbers of vehicles at “choke points” in the Square.

Rutherford Avenue is being presented a “surface boulevard” with a 30 to 40 foot green buffer on the east side as well as 275 on street parking spots and a potential for a dedicated bike path. The plan, as it was presented, also removes the underpass that goes below Austin Street.

Although many in attendance agreed with the current design, those who opposed it mainly had one concern: that removing the underpasses would increase traffic in Sullivan Square and on Rutherford Avenue making it even harder to get out of Charlestown than it is today. Residents voiced concern that the 2008 traffic study being used was out of date and useless.

Let’s come together as a community and look at the information we have on this project, ask questions about aspects that may be unclear. Ask questions of our state and city representatives as well as members of the CNC. Drop by a “coffee hour” or participate in one of Congressman Capuano upcoming telephone community meetings listed in the Neighborhood Round Up.

The slides from the Oct. 18 meeting, as well past meetings, are available online at: www.cityofboston.gov/transportation/rutherford/

Vineet Gupta can be reached at 617-635-4680 or Rutherford@cityofboston.gov

Paul Clausen, the chair of the CNC’s Transportation Committee can be e-mailed at: pcram@verizon.net.

Contact information for all of the Charlestown Neighborhood Council members can be found on the CNC’s Web site: www.charlestownbusiness.com/cnc.html.