I have recently cracked the code to commuting happiness. The secret is to get up way before everyone else in the city of Boston. The experience is magically different. There is a zen like feeling of silence and solitude. As soon as you step out your door, you feel as though you have exclusive access to cross the street, get a seat on the T, and even be the king of the bike lane.Unfortunately, this early morning lifestyle is not an easy thing to keep up. Every time a friend or a colleague asks you to grab dinner, or you take that late class at the gym, you risk losing your spot in this elite club of happy commuters. There is hope though! We may be able to feel a little happier about our commute soon.
I mentioned in a previous blog post, that in my second week at OCLP, a former intern at the Olmsted Center Addy Smith-Reiman visited the office. Addy informed us about Connect Historic Boston, which is an urban planning initiative between the City’s Transportation Department and the National Park Service. I remember being very intrigued by the potential of what Addy described to us that day. The goal of the initiative is to improve pedestrian and transit access to historic sites and landmarks in Boston. This will improve the experience for commuters when traveling into the city as far as safety, ease of access, and overall enjoyment.
This week, Addy set up a meeting for us with the Project Engineer of Connect Historic Boston, William Egan. Bill lead us through a walking tour of the implementation-to-date and discussed the project’s goals and scope. Connect Historic Boston will upgrade and improve sidewalks, bridges, navigational markers and signage in order to improve mobility and transportation. We met Bill on Wednesday morning, on the corner of Lomasney Way and Causeway Street. From there, he led us on a tour of the forthcoming improvements to Causeway Street. Causeway Street will be a part of the Connect Historic Boston Bike Trail. The CHB Bike Trail will continue along Causeway Street and eventually lead to the waterfront. In addition to creating a bike trail, the team has made improvements to overall mobility and safety by widening the sidewalk, installing LED lighting, and developing strategies for stormwater and drainage management.
As far as stormwater management, Bill told us that they have installed dry wells in order to mitigate stormwater runoff issues. The dry wells are 4-5 feet in diameter and 6-8 feet high filled with a couple feet of gravel. They are designed to collect and reduce stormwater runoff through increased groundwater recharge. Another way that they are reducing runoff is through the implementation of a rain garden on Causeway Street which will include rough vegetation.
We closed our meeting with Bill by discussing potential opportunities and challenges when designing and planning circulation throughout the city. A great deal of planning and strategy must be implemented in order to decide things like how and where bike lanes should be implemented. Bill discussed the possibility of creating a more robust bike lane in the Allston neighborhood. I could very much relate to this because I currently live in Allston, and every day that I am on the T, I look out my window and think the bikers who are currently biking are brave souls! I can’t even imagine the effects that a more well developed bike lane would have on the Allston neighborhood.
Next week, I will touch on our trip to Minute Man National Park!