|A runner makes use of an underpass along the Charles at the Eliot Bridge, Brighton.|
Does this sound familiar? Run, bike, or walk along the Charles – stop at bridge – wait for traffic light – scurry across against turning traffic. Continue your run, bike, or walk along the Charles – again stop at next bridge – wait as traffic zooms by all to close till the light changes, again hurry across against turning traffic. Or still worse, you find yourself at a bridge intersection where no system for safe crossing exists. If this has ever been your experience (and we know it has!) we need your help to advocate for the construction of bridge underpasses.
Underpasses currently allow pedestrians to safely cross under the Eliot Bridge (near the Harvard Stadium and next to the Cambridge Boat Club) thus allowing pathway users to avoid traffic and safety concerns.
At present, three bridges are slated for major restoration (first Anderson, then River Street, and lastly Western Ave) and there is a once in a lifetime chance to add underpasses. Underpasses such as the BU Bridge board walk and the Mass Ave Bridge underpass already allow uninterrupted movement along the river. Installed underpasses at the Anderson, River, and Western Bridges will allow all parkland users - and future generations - safe access to the gem that is the Charles River path system.
The advantages of adding underpasses range from safer street crossing to public health. With an increased interest in exercise for health and bicycle commuting, underpasses make both goals easier to attain – in fact underpasses may encourage more people to use the Charles River pathways.
The matter is timely - in fact urgent - because MassDOT has already started the permitting effort to reconstruct these three bridges, WITHOUT adding the option for underpasses.
Elected officials like Rep. Honan, Walz, and Wolf, as well as the numerous advocates want to see these new underpasses now – the next time these bridges will be repaired won’t be for another 50-75 years.
To support this initiative please contact your representative today and tell them you want to see underpasses along the Charles River for safety and increased access to healthy recreational space. Also, please take this survey on why you support underpasses: Survey Monkey Underpass Survey
The Boston Globe wrote an excellent article on the underpasses here: http://www.boston.com/yourtown/cambridge/articles/2010/12/27/for_path_users_dangerous_crossings_along_the_charles/
Please contact the Charles River Conservancy if you have questions: firstname.lastname@example.org