Rutherford Avenue to go on a diet!

Joel N. Weber II

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^ and from the tobin to the gilmore bridge and E Cambridge / Kendall (full disclosure: my daily).
If I'm understanding correctly, that makes you a longer distance commuter who does not use any underpass that might exist in any full build scenario.
 

Joel N. Weber II

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Rutherford Avenue is used as an alternative commuting route versus the Leverett Circle Connector, particularly for access to East Cambridge/Kendall and North Station/Government Center areas, from I-93 (Sullivan Square Exit) commuting in/out from the north.
For commuting to East Cambridge / Kendall, I wonder if a ramp up to the Gilmore Bridge from the road leading from I-93 southbound to the Leverett Circle Connector Bridge would be a reasonable solution; I think the main question is whether there end up being queues from Leverett Circle itself that back up far enough to make getting to such a ramp painful. And/or maybe we could add a ramp from that connector road to Inner Belt Road near New Washington St along with a bridge from somewhere near the southernmost part of Inner Belt road to somewhere near Water St. Doing anything about the northbound direction might be harder (the obvious way to do a Gilmore Bridge connection would require a left turn across Gilmore Bridge traffic). But it also looks to me like this is another commuting pattern that does not use any Rutherford underpasses anyway.

And the Sullivan Sq underpass doesn't help those heading to North Station / Government Center from I-93 at points north of the Mystic, either, AFAICT. Maybe the Community College underpass does help those folks a bit.

So is there some good explanation somewhere of what significant traffic flow does use the northbound underpass at Sullivan? And is the southbound underpass at Sullivan believed to be useful for much of anything other than casino / produce center / etc traffic heading onto I-93 southbound? (Surely there aren't enough Haymarket vendors who buy at the Produce Center to justify an underpass just for them?)
 

JeffDowntown

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For commuting to East Cambridge / Kendall, I wonder if a ramp up to the Gilmore Bridge from the road leading from I-93 southbound to the Leverett Circle Connector Bridge would be a reasonable solution; I think the main question is whether there end up being queues from Leverett Circle itself that back up far enough to make getting to such a ramp painful. And/or maybe we could add a ramp from that connector road to Inner Belt Road near New Washington St along with a bridge from somewhere near the southernmost part of Inner Belt road to somewhere near Water St. Doing anything about the northbound direction might be harder (the obvious way to do a Gilmore Bridge connection would require a left turn across Gilmore Bridge traffic). But it also looks to me like this is another commuting pattern that does not use any Rutherford underpasses anyway.

And the Sullivan Sq underpass doesn't help those heading to North Station / Government Center from I-93 at points north of the Mystic, either, AFAICT. Maybe the Community College underpass does help those folks a bit.

So is there some good explanation somewhere of what significant traffic flow does use the northbound underpass at Sullivan? And is the southbound underpass at Sullivan believed to be useful for much of anything other than casino / produce center / etc traffic heading onto I-93 southbound? (Surely there aren't enough Haymarket vendors who buy at the Produce Center to justify an underpass just for them?)
Basic traffic management. Of course the underpass helps people coming in from the North off of I-93, because if takes some Route 99 traffic out of the Sullivan Square circle. Less traffic in the circle makes the bad design flow a bit better. (The former flyover helped even more, of course.)
 

Joel N. Weber II

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Yeah, OK, getting other people out of the way does help a bit, but it's not necessarily clear if there are all that many of them.

What do you mean by the former flyover?
 

Joel N. Weber II

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Re: Sullivan Square

If we end up keeping the underpass in both directions at Sullivan Sq, I've gotten thinking about whether we could have a design somewhat inspired by the Diverging Diamond Interchange.

My first thought was that the Rutherford underpass would get treated as the major road, and Main St to Mystic Ave / Maffa Way would be the minor street, and then you'd have to figure out how to integrate Cambridge St with that; you'd potentially build a new bridge over the underpass going from Main St to Mystic Ave.

But if the existing bridges turn out to be in good enough shape to keep using them in a reconfigured fashion, or if refurbishing them is cheaper than building new bridges elsewhere, I think we could probably reuse the existing bridges.

In particular, I'm thinking the northernmost overpass next to West St that currently is used as a U turn for northbound traffic to turn southbound could be reversed, and used for traffic coming from Maffa Way and Cambridge St (via Gardner St) that is heading north to the bridge cross the Mystic; on the east side of the overpass that road would have to be reconfigured to point north instead of pointing south. We'd also want a street that I'm going to call New St for now going from the Gardner St / Maffa Way intersection diagonally across what is currently a parking lot to the Alford St / Mystic Ave intersection.

To minimize the amount of traffic at the Alford St / Mystic Ave intersection, we'd have Mystic River bridge to Mystic Ave traffic take Alford St to West St to Beacham St to Mystic Ave, and Mystic River bridge to Cambridge St traffic would go via Alford St, West St, Beacham St, and Gardner St. That should mean that the only traffic reaching the Alford St / Mystic St intersection would be Cambridge St to Mystic River bridge traffic, Maffa Way to Mystic River bridge traffic, and Mystic River bridge to Main St traffic (and perhaps there's some traffic involving businesses on very local streets that would use that intersection as well that doesn't necessarily quite fall into these categories).

The bridge above the underpass that is currently the natural path from Cambridge St to Main St would need to accommodate westbound traffic; while most eastbound traffic could use the overpass next to Mishawum St (that overpass ought to be reversed in this plan), forcing a double crossing of the track for access to the businesses east of the Sullivan Sq traffic circle and north of the track seems like it would be suboptimal, so two way traffic on that overpass which is roughly 250' north of the track would probably be best.

Northbound traffic on Rutherford which takes the surface route instead of the Sullivan underpass, after crossing the track, currently has to turn right onto the traffic circle; that traffic would at least get the option to turn left for a direct path to Cambridge St, and it would probably make sense to make Maffa Way two way from Alford St to Gardner St to handle trips from Main St and from Rutherford in the vicinity of Bunker Hill Community College going to Mystic Ave; at Gardner St that traffic would turn right onto what seems to be an unnamed road that looks like an extension of Gardner St to get over to Mystic Ave.

Gardner St and its extension would need to be reconfigured to be two way.

I think it's probably possible to make most of the lights function with only two phases in this general design. Cambridge St / Gardner St would have one phase for straight through traffic on Cambridge St in both directions, and a second phase for right turns from Gardner to Cambridge St, left turns from Cambridge St to Gardner St, and a crosswalk across Cambridge St to the east of Gardner St. Maffa Way / Cambridge St / Alford St probably needs three phases, one to allow Cambridge St traffic toward Rutherford southbound (and westbound traffic from Main St to Cambridge St), a second to allow Maffa Way traffic toward Rutherford southbound, and a third to allow traffic from the Mystic River bridge to get to Main St / Mishawum St.

There might be a few other details of the street reconfiguration that would be needed that I'm forgetting to mention here that would be needed to make this overall plan flow smoothly.
 

JeffDowntown

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Yeah, OK, getting other people out of the way does help a bit, but it's not necessarily clear if there are all that many of them.

What do you mean by the former flyover?
Sullivan Square used to have three levels of roadway. IIRC the flyover level funneled traffic coming off 93 or on Broadway over the rotary onto 99 -- it ran right over the current underpass at an upper level.

It was taken down more than a decade ago because it was in danger of collapsing.
 

Vagabond

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FINALLY some movement on this huge plot. Totally underutilized access to the Community College stop and soon to be full Cambridge Crossing. Surprised it's housing and not office/lab space. This project has so much potential!

1. Love that they're planning to give Main Street some actual storefronts.
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2. Will be interesting to see how this fits with other plans in the area. Rutherford Ave blvd-ation - looks like the new housing will be constructed nearest to the T, and in front of the building will be the new bike trail.
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3. WalkBoston has been targeting the little split off of Austin Street to expand Preservation Park into an actual usable space.
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And just for fun... the old street grid compared to the strip mall.
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Arlington

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I copied Vagabond's post (above) from the Bunker Hill Mall project since it had so much great detail on the street redo.

Having driven through Charlestown & Rutherford (giving a tour to a first-timer), the contrast between the urban fabric of Charlestown Proper vs the brownfield wastelands that pinch it from both sides is really stark.

So I'm attempting a reboot of this thread, considering that the redo of Rutherford is going to be one of the most radical 0-to-100 transformations--twice the scale of Assembly.
 

Arlington

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The "tunnel diet" is a particularly interesting concept, but so far it is only hinted at in the presentaitons that I've seen. Along the lines of: 1 traffic lane, 2 bus lanes, + 1 bikeway?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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The "tunnel diet" is a particularly interesting concept, but so far it is only hinted at in the presentaitons that I've seen. Along the lines of: 1 traffic lane, 2 bus lanes, + 1 bikeway?
Does the tunnel bypassing Sullivan really need bus lanes when Sullivan is the bus terminal that every route stops at? They all loop around the surface to begin with, so what's a bus lane worth that has no buses on it? Any shuttles coming from downtown to the casino are also going to be making a Sullivan stop for the diverging routes...including the private carriers if they have any sense about their own revenues. It's just too big a terminal to bypass, and any routing that did would be too niche to even merit the protected lane on the underpass.

If it's casino tourbuses--a.k.a. the scourge of the interstates--we're talking about then those should be using 93/16 as designated route and be staying the hell off downtown streets to begin with. That's maybe another megaphone blast at MassHighway to complete the missing legs of the 93/16 interchange, but not a Sullivan thing.


Sans the irrelevant bus laneage I'm cool with re-striping the underpass for bikes however they see fit, if they can do it safely. Just if the underpass is going to exist, keep it at its current dimensions so the construction isn't a gigantic cost-soaring production. Repurposing amid stet configuration is one thing...that's cheap and accomplishable with nuthin' but paint and dividers while they spend most of the cash making the surface Square more functional. But if it's anything "rebuild"-grade it very quickly soars to price point that's just not worth it vs. the totally at-grade concepts that wholesale-eliminate it.
 

Arlington

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I believe there are three under passes on Rutherford and the one being bussed is the middle (i think)
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I believe there are three under passes on Rutherford and the one being bussed is the middle (i think)
Now I'm confused. You've got the quick duck-under of Austin St. at Community College, but zero T routes use that section of Rutherford. And you've got the Sullivan-proper underpass, which has zero T routes going to/from the south and everything else surface-turning to/from Main or Alford. The slides from the Oct. 2019 presentation fling some realignment concepts on the Alford-facing direction for spanning Main-to-Main on the street grid in lieu of the distended surface loop ramp, but that's still not going to carry any buses underneath because Rutherford to the south is bus-free and all routes are going due-north into Everett or due-east into heart of Charlestown. The routes will make use the straightened surface grid, but won't ever touch the underpass because they simply don't go that direction.
 

Vagabond

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Last year, Galvin raised that the enormous Bunker Hill lots could be used for housing as well. If placed right and designed in conjunction with the cattycorner 99 Development, That overpass has a MUCH different feel.


Off-site housing likely to be a part of One Charlestown plans

One of the early concerns for residents around Charlestown for the new plans on the Bunker Hill Development was the idea of housing at an off-site location. BHA Director Bill McGonagle said...100 are contemplated to be located off-site somewhere in Charlestown- with the possibility of creating even more public housing at that site in combination with middle-income housing and market-rate housing.

While no site is set in stone, the City-owned parking lots at Bunker Hill Community College were mentioned at the meeting May 30.

“Right now we’re looking at the potential of 100 deeply affordable units to go off-site in the neighborhood and we’re looking at a few neighborhood areas in Charlestown,” he said.

“We are looking at re-locating 100 deeply affordable units at, perhaps, the Bunker Hill Community College (parking lots) on Boston Planning and Development Agency (BPDA) owned land,” he continued. “That’s not cemented in stone yet. We will have a community process. ...As we get further down the road, there may be a chance to expand the number of affordable units…I suspect they will be in a mixed-income community as well. Nothing is cemented in stone yet.”

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WormtownNative

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At the risk of taking us off topic, after the beginning of the trench that goes under Sullivan Square, there's a ramp in the middle above it pointing north that leads to nothing. What was that meant for? Ramp for the expressway?
 

F-Line to Dudley

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At the risk of taking us off topic, after the beginning of the trench that goes under Sullivan Square, there's a ramp in the middle above it pointing north that leads to nothing. What was that meant for? Ramp for the expressway?
Sullivan Square Overpass, torn down 2003 from structural deficiency. Ugly-assed and very much unmissed.
 

Charlie_mta

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I much prefer the Sullivan Sq of 100 years ago. Now that was a city ^
 

F-Line to Dudley

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I much prefer the Sullivan Sq of 100 years ago. Now that was a city ^
The 1940's era overpass was death. I lived there early-aughts in its last months carrying traffic and then during the closure + demolition. As ugly as those surface parking lots are now, it was nothing compared to what overpowering decay permeated the whole place when those spaces were still in the dark because of that induced demand eyesore running overhead.
 

Charlie_mta

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The 1940's era overpass was death. I lived there early-aughts in its last months carrying traffic and then during the closure + demolition. As ugly as those surface parking lots are now, it was nothing compared to what overpowering decay permeated the whole place when those spaces were still in the dark because of that induced demand eyesore running overhead.
I remember in the late 1950's and through the 1960's, waiting on the old Sullivan Station inbound platform, and the elevated roadway zooming by just on the other side of the inbound el tracks. At the end of WW II, that elevated highway, the tunnel, and the gigantic rotary all leveled the once dense area into an edge-city wasteland, and, as you say, the elevated highway blighted what little was left. I was hoping they could finally do away with the remaining roadway mess and restore the former grid, but the Casino allegedly requires the tunnel to be preserved. Stupidly bowing down to the automobile, again.
 

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