Stephen Passacantilli, a local civic leader and Boston Public Schools parent running for Boston City Council District 1, has released a detailed plan to address Charlestown›s traffic crisis.
Passacantilli said, “Traffic congestion could very well be the most pressing and pervasive quality of life issue facing Charlestown today. I hear concerns about traffic from Charlestown residents and businesses every single day. Mounting traffic pressures on Charlestown have created constant gridlock and heavy traffic, even at traditionally off-peak traffic times. The inability to move about freely has adversely affected Charlestown residents’ quality of life and threatens its economic well-being. Residents should not have to go grocery shopping at dawn or late in the evening to escape traffic. Existing and prospective businesses should not be concerned that their customers cannot reach them.” He continued, “I live a block away from the North Washington Street Bridge and feel firsthand the traffic problems you face. As a former operations specialist for the Boston Transportation Department, I have the experience to address the traffic problems Charlestown faces in a meaningful way. As your City Councilor, I will support emergency measures that will alleviate current traffic congestion. As a start, I propose the following measures, and look forward to hearing from Charlestown residents as to how we can work collaboratively to fix this unacceptable situation.”
Charlestown has four access points: Sullivan Square, and the three bridges: Gilmore, North Washington Street and the Tobin. Unfortunately, three of these areas are soon scheduled to undergo construction at the same time, and the fourth, the Gilmore Bridge, is in a state of constant traffic failure and adjacent to the ongoing construction of the North Point project, which will certainly have adverse traffic impacts. Additionally:
- Sullivan Square and Rutherford Avenue are scheduled to be under construction soon.
- North Washington Street Bridge will be replaced in stages beginning next spring and is now expected to take five years to complete.
- Tobin Bridge will undergo repair of the lower deck (northbound lanes) and repaving of the upper deck in 2018.
In addition, the Wynn casino is scheduled to open some time in 2019, the One Charlestown proposal is under consideration, Assembly Row is in a state of constant expansion and the Hood Office Park is expanding rapidly. Traffic mitigation measures need to be put in place now.
Traffic Mitigation Measures
Passacantilli proposed the following measures to combat this issue:
- Relocating the school bus lot outside of Charlestown during the replacement of the North Washington Street Bridge. This will eliminate several hundred school bus trips per weekday during the school year in Charlestown.
- Prohibiting tour buses, delivery trucks and the car carriers which service the new car lot on Terminal Street during peak traffic hours.
- Strictly enforcing “do not block the box” to stop gridlock.
- Increasing traffic details during peak traffic times, synchronizing and calibrating traffic signals as needed.
- Modeling construction on the recently expedited replacement of the Commonwealth Avenue Bridge over the Mass Pike and the replacement of the bridges over I-93 a few years ago to avoid long construction delays like we have presently have with the Longfellow Bridge.
- Incentivizing construction contractors with bonuses for early completion and penalties for delays written into their contracts. Charlestown cannot afford another Longfellow Bridge experience.
- Bringing the community to the table in the negotiation of these contracts. No one knows the issues Charlestown faces like you do. We need a seat at the table.
- Quickly expanding water transportation routes and schedules. I will work to make this happen as soon as possible even if there are no construction activities.
Proper management of traffic in Charlestown is critical to our quality of life and economic well-being and its importance cannot be understated. Please contact me on my cell phone at (617) 594-6158 and share with me any ideas you have to help tackle this important issue.