DCR Allston-Brighton Riverfront Parks and Parkways

Badusername

New member
Joined
Dec 2, 2021
Messages
91
Reaction score
189
A major road with only one lane in each direction should have median separation to prevent vehicles from illegally passing, causing head-on collisions. Many of the "super-2" expressways (with just one lane in each direction) in Massachusetts have a median barrier for that very reason. Here's one of these:
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.5685113,-72.2083002,3a,75y,255.5h,74.6t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1saoyOsjB7MMO9x-8dzVceUA!2e0!6shttps://streetviewpixels-pa.googleapis.com/v1/thumbnail?panoid=aoyOsjB7MMO9x-8dzVceUA&cb_client=maps_sv.tactile.gps&w=203&h=100&yaw=342.83273&pitch=0&thumbfov=100!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en
The point is that this should not be considered a major road, it’s a park.

“medians… can increase traffic speeds by decreasing the perceived friction through separating traffic flow directions” - https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/saferjourney1/library/countermeasures/16.htm
 

Charlie_mta

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2006
Messages
3,288
Reaction score
3,402
The point is that this should not be considered a major road, it’s a park.

“medians… can increase traffic speeds by decreasing the perceived friction through separating traffic flow directions” - https://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/saferjourney1/library/countermeasures/16.htm
I agree it should be just a road in a park, but the Parkways in and around Boston developed into major arterial roads in the 20th century, serving as important mini-expressways for commuter traffic. Storrow Drive and Revere Beach Parkway are extreme examples of this unfortunate reality.
 

Badusername

New member
Joined
Dec 2, 2021
Messages
91
Reaction score
189
I agree it should be just a road in a park, but the Parkways in and around Boston developed into major arterial roads in the 20th century, serving as important mini-expressways for commuter traffic. Storrow Drive and Revere Beach Parkway are extreme examples of this unfortunate reality.
Yes, which is why a road diet is planned here. Adding a median to the design is counterproductive when the goal is traffic calming.
 

Charlie_mta

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2006
Messages
3,288
Reaction score
3,402
Yes, which is why a road diet is planned here. Adding a median to the design is counterproductive when the goal is traffic calming.
Maybe the narrowing down to two lanes of this stretch of SFR will set a precedent for the narrowing, or outright elimination, of the rest of SFR and Storrow Drive.
 

BosMaineiac

New member
Joined
Nov 25, 2020
Messages
65
Reaction score
119
I think a VFW parkway-style road with a narrower median and a single lane in each direction, flanked by bike lanes on either side (also separated by trees) would fit nicely in this area
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
6,164
Reaction score
5,657
Median separation will only serve to increase vehicle speeds and reduce functional green space.
A major road with only one lane in each direction should have median separation to prevent vehicles from illegally passing, causing head-on collisions. Many of the "super-2" expressways (with just one lane in each direction) in Massachusetts have a median barrier for that very reason. Here's one of these:
https://www.google.com/maps/@42.5685113,-72.2083002,3a,75y,255.5h,74.6t/data=!3m7!1e1!3m5!1saoyOsjB7MMO9x-8dzVceUA!2e0!6shttps://streetviewpixels-pa.googleapis.com/v1/thumbnail?panoid=aoyOsjB7MMO9x-8dzVceUA&cb_client=maps_sv.tactile.gps&w=203&h=100&yaw=342.83273&pitch=0&thumbfov=100!7i13312!8i6656?hl=en
These two posts are actually saying the same thing, under different value systems.
 

as02143

Active Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2021
Messages
165
Reaction score
203
These two posts are actually saying the same thing, under different value systems.
yeah - this is bordering on a false equivalency. The research isn't categorical indicating that medians = higher speeds. It's also easy to tell that by looking at street designs where they've been effective in reducing crashes, keeping speeds at the designed speed, and traffic calming have medians - where they make sense. Primarily reinforcing design elements that keep average speed down.
 

as02143

Active Member
Joined
Jun 19, 2021
Messages
165
Reaction score
203
I don't see any reason why a post-diet SFR and Herter Park can't be turned over to the City of Boston. They'll function like municipal facilities.
DCR, asking itself: What purpose do I serve then?!

I haven't taken a detailed look, but the corridor seems like it should be wide enough to support two roadway lanes in each direction, plus two paths, one for bikes and one for pedestrians.
I don't think it even needs 2 lanes in each direction - but i do worry if they're trying only to re-use a single barrel of this dual carriageway they won't get the turn lanes needed to take more traffic off the Western Ave transitway and thus that transitway idea won't work.
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
6,164
Reaction score
5,657
DCR, asking itself: What purpose do I serve then?!
DCR manages all the state parks. That's their purpose. They inherited this city park and parkway system from MDC, which already stopped existing decades ago. MDC had a really important purpose in using state money to preserve the riverfront by buying parcels and easements, but that process is done now. It no longer makes sense to have a lot of these fundamentally local facilities in state hands.
 

JeffDowntown

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
3,827
Reaction score
1,534
I don't see any reason why a post-diet SFR and Herter Park can't be turned over to the City of Boston. They'll function like municipal facilities.
The Commonwealth made the decision over a century ago that cities and towns could not be trusted to provide public access to waterfronts. So they aggressively used eminent domain to create systems of public access under the Metropolitan Park District then the MDC. The difference in the level of public access between cities and towns where they intervened and where they did not is astonishing (I live on Nahant Bay where the DCR reservations provide outstanding public access, the towns of Swampscott and Nahant and the City of Lynn, not so much.). Turn these parks back over to the various cities and towns and I will guarantee some of them will be sold off to developers.
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
6,164
Reaction score
5,657
The Commonwealth made the decision over a century ago that cities and towns could not be trusted to provide public access to waterfronts. So they aggressively used eminent domain to create systems of public access under the Metropolitan Park District then the MDC. The difference in the level of public access between cities and towns where they intervened and where they did not is astonishing (I live on Nahant Bay where the DCR reservations provide outstanding public access, the towns of Swampscott and Nahant and the City of Lynn, not so much.). Turn these parks back over to the various cities and towns and I will guarantee some of them will be sold off to developers.
Even neglecting the potential for covenants in the land transfer to prevent this, I guarantee you back that not a single municipality will sell a public park to a developer.
 

JeffDowntown

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
3,827
Reaction score
1,534
Even neglecting the potential for covenants in the land transfer to prevent this, I guarantee you back that not a single municipality will sell a public park to a developer.


The prospect is being raised across the US.
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
6,164
Reaction score
5,657


The prospect is being raised across the US.
I can't think of a precedent for it in Massachusetts. And in any case, it could be dealt with in the transfer agreement.
 

Equilibria

Senior Member
Joined
May 6, 2007
Messages
6,164
Reaction score
5,657

Roxxma

Active Member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
593
Reaction score
144


The prospect is being raised across the US.
Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution more or less prohibits development or sale of park, recreation, conservation and most other open space. Any changes require a supermajority of the legislature to approve, and exceptional circumstances to remove Article 97 protection should be cited in order to begin the disposition process. Also, depending on whether a subject property was acquired, improved, or supported using NPS, USDA, or other federal funding, Congressional or other federal approval might be required too. The MassMapper site has a tool that identifies Article 97 land and also identifies open space (mostly public, but some private) by level of protection.
 

JeffDowntown

Senior Member
Joined
May 28, 2007
Messages
3,827
Reaction score
1,534
Article 97 of the Massachusetts Constitution more or less prohibits development or sale of park, recreation, conservation and most other open space. Any changes require a supermajority of the legislature to approve, and exceptional circumstances to remove Article 97 protection should be cited in order to begin the disposition process. Also, depending on whether a subject property was acquired, improved, or supported using NPS, USDA, or other federal funding, Congressional or other federal approval might be required too. The MassMapper site has a tool that identifies Article 97 land and also identifies open space (mostly public, but some private) by level of protection.
That is really good to know, because in other states cash-strapped municipalities have been known to do some really stupid things with their public assets to raise a quick buck.
 

Charlie_mta

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2006
Messages
3,288
Reaction score
3,402
That is really good to know, because in other states cash-strapped municipalities have been known to do some really stupid things with their public assets to raise a quick buck.
If any federal money has been or will be used anywhere along the line, they'd have to go through the 4(f) process which is extremely strict, as it should be.
 

Top