Reconstruction of State Street Plan

jass

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
4,532
Reaction score
33
Car-Free State Street Is A Possibility In City Reconstruction Project
The City of Boston Department of Public Works is soliciting ideas and feedback for a planned reconstruction of State Street between the Rose Kennedy Greenway and the Old State House.

On Thursday, planners and engineers from the City of Boston installed a pop-up park on State Street in downtown Boston to solicit ideas and feedback from passerby about a planned reconstruction project that would completely rebuild the street between the Old State House and the Rose Kennedy Greenway.
...

One of the more popular ideas on display was a car-free street concept (shown below).


“It’s something we’ve been looking at,” said Ashley Biggins, a Senior Civil Engineer for the Boston Public Works Department who is managing the project. “If people support that idea, it could be a possibility.”

Banning cars from State Street could have significant traffic-reduction benefits on other downtown streets, including Congress and Court Streets around Boston City Hall. It would also represent a significant achievement in Mayor Walsh’s effort to cut car use in half by 2030 in order to meet the city’s climate change reduction goals.


Official web page:

Survey:
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
3,918
Reaction score
180
I don't think they need to pedestrianize State St here, but rather just to cut it up (so that it is no longer a taxi-sprint from Aquarium to Beacon Hill)

I would make a single, strategic pedestrianization "cut" at the 30-foot pinch between India St and Chatham Row

And maybe not a full cut, but permit a single lane of "bus only" in the uphill direction.
 

HelloBostonHi

Active Member
Joined
Apr 17, 2018
Messages
483
Reaction score
171
Definitely needs at minimum narrowing it's far too wide at the moment, such a waste of space and at most hours pedestrians outnumber cars. Good candidate for some pedestrian activation if done right. Not really a key bike link but slowing down cars will in turn make it more bike friendly. Removing cars entirely is a nice goal but seems unlikely.
 

millerm277

Active Member
Joined
Jun 25, 2013
Messages
211
Reaction score
17
I don't view a fully car-free street as a realistic option for the location, especially given the sizable garage for 60 State only accessible from Merchants Row and the frequent need for access by big vehicles, all of Chatham St is commerical loading for the market.

I would be up for nuking just about all of the street parking/stopping areas on State itself (and the 60 State Taxi Stand can probably be shifted to the 3rd lane on Congrees at zero consequence) and banning all loading/unloading as well. Replace with a protected bike lane and wider sidewalks.

If there's more commercial loading zones needed in the area, cut back on the legal street parking and replace with commercial zones on the connecting side streets like Kilby, Broad & India. If you're going to drive downtown, I want you expecting to pay the premium for a garage, not circling for a street parking space.

On a related, like many roads in Boston, even doing the bare minimum to maintain it would help, like painting consistent lanes. The lack of leads to a chaotic free for all.

And maybe not a full cut, but permit a single lane of "bus only" in the uphill direction.
There are no buses that use State Street, and I'm struggling to think of any route you could propose that would be worthwhile, given the obvious overlap with the Blue Line.
 

Arlington

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Dec 10, 2011
Messages
3,918
Reaction score
180
Tourist buses (trolley & double deck) seem to favor it.
 

whighlander

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Messages
6,984
Reaction score
159
QUOTE="jass, post: 361823, member: 413"]
car free state street
[/QUOTE]
It's the most historic street in Boston and needs to be treated with the utmost care and reverence
  1. 1636 -- Market street -- the extension of Long Wharf onto dry land
    1. Home of John Winthrop
    2. Site of the First Church
  2. King Street from Long Wharf to the Town House*1 -- the formal seat of government for colonial Massachusetts
    1. 1657 Original Town House -- burned in Great Fire of 1711
  3. Old State House
    1. Built in 1713 -- seat of the Massachusetts General Court until 1798
    2. one of the oldest public buildings in the United States
    3. oldest surviving public building in Boston, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and a Boston Landmark in 1994
    4. In 1761, James Otis argued against the Writs of Assistance in the Royal Council Chamber
    5. March 17 1776 Reoccupied by General Washington at conclusion of Siege of Boston
    6. July 18th 1776 -- Declaration of Independence read to Bostonians [one of the earliest formal reading]
    7. Massachusetts State House: seat of state government 1776–1798
    8. 1830 to 1841 Boston Hall the original Boston City Hall [Boston became a City in 1830]
  4. March 5, 1770 -- Boston Massacre -- Crispus Attucks the first American casualty of the Revolutionary War
  5. Long Wharf end
    1. Boston Custom House [1849-1986]*2
    2. Custom House District -- Boston's first master planned district -- Seaport of the 19thC*3
So clearly -- State Street has to be treated with care in its reconstruction -- its not just any old tourist shopping street

My suggestion would be to narrow the pavement to 2 lanes and make extra wide sidewalks out of the spaces currently used for parking -- with a whole new series of notifications of the history which enfolded along the street over the past 4 Centuries -- both with a plaque and electronics [Blue Tooth]
 

George_Apley

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
4,044
Reaction score
321
March 5, 1770 -- Boston Massacre -- Crispus Attucks the first American casualty of the Revolutionary War
Dating the start of the Revolutionary War to March 5, 1770 is pretty gosh-darn revisionist. We already get Lexington & Concord, which led to the Continental Congress forming the Continental Army and George III declaring the colonies in a state of rebellion. The Boston Massacre was five years earlier and was essentially an anti-police riot resulting in death. In 1770 *no one* wanted or even fathomed a war between the colonies and Britain.

And before you clock me with a long-winded post about what the pre-massacre protest was actually about, I'll remind you that I teach American History professionally and am capable of going into much more depth about the origin and philosophy of the angst of the time period.
 
Last edited:

jass

Senior Member
Joined
Jul 10, 2006
Messages
4,532
Reaction score
33
There are no buses that use State Street, and I'm struggling to think of any route you could propose that would be worthwhile, given the obvious overlap with the Blue Line.
The blue line overlap = blue line shuttle buses
 

whighlander

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Messages
6,984
Reaction score
159
Dating the start of the Revolutionary War to March 5, 1770 is pretty gosh-darn revisionist. We already get Lexington & Concord, which led to the Continental Congress forming the Continental Army and George III declaring the colonies in a state of rebellion. The Boston Massacre was five years earlier and was essentially an anti-police riot resulting in death. In 1770 *no one* wanted or even fathomed a war between the colonies and Britain.

And before you clock me with a long-winded post about what the pre-massacre protest was actually about, I'll remind you that I teach American History professionally and am capable of going into much more depth about the origin and philosophy of the angst of the time period.
George -- congratulation on your teaching a very important topic -- I hope that your position allows you the opportunity to be "Free to Teach" what happened much earlier which led to the events in Lexington and Concord -- just as the 2nd World War didn't start with the German's attacking Poland and our participation didn't even start with the USS Ward sinking the Japanese midget submarine let alone the Japanese bomb that sunk the USS Arizona

I mention these matters because -- I enjoy history [of the "T", of science, of technology, engineering milestones, dog breeds, etc.] and in particular --- I've been a "student" of the Revolutionary War from back when I was a kid growing up in Central Connecticut -- later I was a founding member of the "Friends of the Battle Road" and a "Concord Minuteman" Hence my mention of Attucks and even before that James Otis [1761] -- all with ties to State Street

But -- back to the details of how to properly reconstruct State Street -- its not the "Battle Road" -- but its not Newbury Street either
When you have an opportunity -- especially in the upcoming decade which will be commemorating: 400th Plymouth, the 250th of "official events of the Revolutionary War" and culminating with the 400th of the founding of Boston -- you can't afford to miss an opportunity to educate some of the "young-uns"
 

George_Apley

Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Jan 22, 2012
Messages
4,044
Reaction score
321
George -- congratulation on your teaching a very important topic -- I hope that your position allows you the opportunity to be "Free to Teach" what happened much earlier which led to the events in Lexington and Concord -- just as the 2nd World War didn't start with the German's attacking Poland and our participation didn't even start with the USS Ward sinking the Japanese midget submarine let alone the Japanese bomb that sunk the USS Arizona
Of course I do! We have a whole unit on the "Road to Revolution". We spend three days looking at the primary source depositions for the Boston Massacre so the kids can learn how to corroborate sources and decide what happened that chilly March night in Boston. They're currently designing newspaper mastheads and writing articles on a topic from the time period between 1763 and 1775 from the perspective of a radical patriot, moderate patriot, or conservative loyalist. Trust me, we more than adequately guide the students into cause and effect, nuance, &c.

You're right of course that events have official beginnings aside from a long chain of 'cause and effect' that leads to them. I just find it specious to call Crispus Attucks the first casualty of the Revolutionary War because... he wasn't.

I mention these matters because -- I enjoy history [of the "T", of science, of technology, engineering milestones, dog breeds, etc.] and in particular --- I've been a "student" of the Revolutionary War from back when I was a kid growing up in Central Connecticut -- later I was a founding member of the "Friends of the Battle Road" and a "Concord Minuteman" Hence my mention of Attucks and even before that James Otis [1761] -- all with ties to State Street

But -- back to the details of how to properly reconstruct State Street -- its not the "Battle Road" -- but its not Newbury Street either
When you have an opportunity -- especially in the upcoming decade which will be commemorating: 400th Plymouth, the 250th of "official events of the Revolutionary War" and culminating with the 400th of the founding of Boston -- you can't afford to miss an opportunity to educate some of the "young-uns"
Totally agree!
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: FK4

FK4

Senior Member
Joined
Nov 13, 2012
Messages
2,442
Reaction score
83
later I was a founding member of the "Friends of the Battle Road"
Spent years of childhood visiting the Old North Bridge, which is a beautiful park, and never knew about Battle Road until I discovered it by accident this past summer. It's amazing. Highly recommend doing it on bike, which is what I did (we happened to have bikes with us for another ride, but just did Battle Road instead).
 

whighlander

Senior Member
Joined
Aug 14, 2006
Messages
6,984
Reaction score
159
Spent years of childhood visiting the Old North Bridge, which is a beautiful park, and never knew about Battle Road until I discovered it by accident this past summer. It's amazing. Highly recommend doing it on bike, which is what I did (we happened to have bikes with us for another ride, but just did Battle Road instead).
FK4 -- Make sure you follow the "Patriots Trail" -- that way you can see how the "Battle Road" running battle --- looked from the side of the "Good Guys"

This trail along with restoring the landscape to the Revolutionary Period --- one of the signature achievements of the "Friends of the Battle Road"

It took a lot of convincing to get the Park Service to provide an ADA-compliant means of following where the "Embattled Farmers" went after they "stood and fired the shot heard round the world" -- it also wasn't easy to get Arborophiles in the various towns to let the Park Service cut down quite a lot of trees which were not part of the 18th C landscape.
 
  • Like
Reactions: FK4

BostonMike

New member
Joined
May 25, 2006
Messages
26
Reaction score
0
As someone who has lurked on this site for a long time now (only posting occasionally) I just have to say this was my favorite digression yet. Nice work all!
 

Randomgear

Active Member
Joined
Jul 7, 2012
Messages
342
Reaction score
1
So are they abandoning Connect Historic Boston Phase 2? It's supposed to use State St. No mention of it on any of their outreach this time around.
CHB Phase 2 was abandoned the moment Mahty became Mayor, just like the rest of the work done under the Menino Administration. The TIGER Grant only covered Phase 1. All plans were succeded by the GoBoston 2030 plan. Still worth pushing BTD to connect the tracks.
 

Top