Meeting on Rutherford Ave. is Dec. 6

December 6, 2012
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Proposed plan for Rutherford Ave. and Austin Street.

The Department of Transportation will host a community meeting tonight (December 6) at 6:30 p.m. at the Knights of Columbus to discuss the Rutherford Avenue / Sullivan Square Design Project.

The city has been meeting with the Charlestown community for several years to find ways to best transform Rutherford Avenue from a 1950’s auto-oriented regional highway, to a multi-modal, neighborhood-friendly urban boulevard.

According to Boston Transportation engineer Vineet Gupta, this evenings meeting will focus on the Rutherford Ave. and Austin Street intersection.

Currently the intersection, which includes high volumes of traffic turning onto Rutherford from the Gilmore Bridge, has long been a pedestrian unfriendly intersection and a traffic nightmare at certain times of the day.

The Transportation Department will present two options for the intersection. One will be to create an underpass at the intersection. This would provide a 22 ft. wide buffer that includes open space and multiuse paths. This plan would also improve pedestrian safety at the intersection and improve traffic flow.

The underpass would also reduce Rutherford Ave. from 6 lanes to 4.

The second option that will be discussed at the meeting is to create a surface concept design at the intersection.

This option would provide a 50 ft. wide buffer that includes open space, multiuse paths and on-street parking. This option would also improve pedestrian safety and reduce the ‘highway-like’ feel of the boulevard. Like the underpass plan, the surface plan would also improve traffic flow through the intersection.

“The goal is for a comprehensive redesign of Rutherford Avenue through feedback from the community,” said Gupta.

The overall Rutherford Avenue / Sullivan Square Design Project design replaces the seven to nine travel lanes along the corridor with two-travel lanes in each direction and turn-lanes where necessary. This reduction allows for the creation of a linear park along the Charlestown side of the corridor, linking the Charles River park system to the Mystic River. At Sullivan Square, the existing pedestrian-unfriendly rotary is reconfigured into a neighbor-scaled street-grid with safe connections to the Orange Line and positioned to absorb transit-oriented development. Grade separated interchanges are eliminated to extend the traditional urban fabric along Charlestown’s western edge.