Letter to the Editor

Big Challenge Ahead

 Dear Charlestown Bridge Editor.

While Charlestown is slated to receive an amazing and truly beautiful bridge in 3 years, there is still a big challenge ahead.  At present, based on the presentations from the city, the architect, the engineering firm, etc., there is no mitigation plan in place for how to come and go to Charlestown for the next 3-years except for signs telling drivers to avoid the area as they come from north and south.

Such a plan is simply inadequate.  Charlestown should not let the bridge construction begin without a plan for moving people on and off our ‘island.’

There are inventive ways to help this occur.  As a mere lay person with no transit experience here are some thoughts.

10 Transit ideas:

  1. Double the number of buses and only allow those on the single dedicated lane each way the bridge will have. Also maintain current shuttle services using the same lane.
  2. Obviously find a way to encourage bikes and walkers. An incentive to bike such as designated parking for bike folks once here can help.
  3. Perhaps for older or unsure bikers have potential tricycle rentals in good weather months.
  4. How about no cars over the bridge/on the bridge at all.  Just have Park and Ride as only option! Insistence on park and ride on buses from the north and south.
  5. Ask MIT about what to do
  6. What about having the ferries every 10 minutes? How about ferries along the harbor — 4-5 stops in inner harbor such as south station, Vertex, East Boston, Aquarium, Charlestown in some sort of loop?
  7. Other forms of transit: Covered 4 passenger bikes on designated lanes or specific waterfront route lanes/reserved.
  8. Perhaps, for one hour a day in am and again in pm only bikes allowed on the harbor walk to aid commuters.
  9. In case walkers are fatigued offer a free jitney trip.
  10. Reverse engineering – going up to go down — encourage use of the doubled or quadrupled 93 bus service and have folks travel to Sullivan Square for orange line service south or north. Do this ONLY if that bus runs every 5 minutes in 2 hour rush 4-30 to 6-30 pm.

Figure out positive incentives to help folks comply.  3-years of free parking for park and ride.  Ask larger companies to chip in for bus users transit fees, etc.

This is the decade of sustainable thinking as we try to alter as a state and country our ways to move people.  People movers of all sorts are being considered.  Boston must remain ahead of the curve on this issue and in no way allow people to idle, take separate cars, and halt traffic for hundreds of people daily.  That is simply not a 21st Century solution.

Let’s have a short half-day charrette that has proposals made from around the country.  Solve the problem and only then, begin bridge construction.


Dr. Ricky Stern

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