Boston Globe – To MassDOT: Tear down this wall

Boston Globe – To MassDOT: Tear down this wall

Boston Globe: “To MassDOT: Tear down this wall
by Renee Loth

The area under and just east of the viaduct is known as “the throat,” because of the way it is squeezed between the river, rail yards, and Soldiers Field Road. Transportation advocates have been pressing MassDOT to see the billion-dollar Pike redesign project as an opportunity to “unchoke the throat” by widening pedestrian and bicycle paths, adding a landscaped buffer from traffic, improving public transit connections, and knitting together the south side of Allston with the burgeoning new enterprise campus Harvard University is building to the north.

At a recent public forum sponsored by the Charles River Conservancy and WalkBoston that I helped moderate, landscape architecture firms, Harvard’s planning department, and the business-backed group A Better City presented inventive ideas to widen the throat, perhaps with an elevated boardwalk extending over the river. (It can be done: The Watertown firm Sasaki is the same team that designed the award-winning Chicago Riverwalk using a similar boardwalk approach, and Philadelphia has extended a 2,000-foot boardwalk along a crowded section of the Schuylkill River.)

Un-choking the throat doesn’t require that the viaduct be removed and the Pike re-routed at grade, but doing so would be vastly better for river access, and, advocates say, cost about $100 million less than reconstructing the viaduct.

Posted April 23, 2018

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