Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Northern Avenue Bridge: A Gateway For Pedestrians, Bicyclists & Cars?

Over 50 neighbors from Fort Point, Seaport and the Downtown Waterfront gathered to hear the City of Boston's plans and concepts for the future of the Northern Avenue Bridge at a special FPNA neighborhood meeting on July 18, 2018.

The City's Chief of Streets Chris Osgood along with Northern Avenue Bridge team members Chief Engineer Para Jayasinghe of Public Works and Joe Allwarden of AECOM presented. The bridge architects are Urban Idea Lab and Brownlie, Ernst & MarksThe Bridge redesign focuses on: improving mobility, honoring history, strengthening climate resiliency, and creating a destination. View the presentation here

A lot of the discussion centered on the need for a vehicular lane on the bridge and the desire to view the underlying data, part of the South Boston Waterfront Sustainable Transportation Plan of 2015. Concern over traffic gridlock on Atlantic Avenue and backup onto Seaport Blvd. from Northern Ave. arose from residents living on both sides of the bridge. It became apparent that a new transit analysis will be pivotal in understanding the modes of transportation best suited for the Northern Avenue Bridge in conjunction with the other Fort Point Channel bridges for overall mobility. Towards the end of the meeting, a resident asked how many are in favor of a walk and bike bridge only. The overwhelming majority of residents indicated that they are in favor of a pedestrian bike only bridge.  To further that point of view a request was made that a pedestrian bicycle only bridge design option be considered. 

The Northern Avenue Bridge holds extreme appeal to the neighborhood whether it be its charm and character, easy walkability, local historic nature (mechanics and maritime history) or all aspects combined, making the bridge an important gateway connection between the Seaport and the Downtown Rose Kennedy Greenway.  Placemaking and programming of the bridge at the deck level appeared more popular than the concept of a floating island destination perpendicular to the bridge on the water. 

The next Mayor's Task Force meeting will focus on transit analysis and the structural condition of the Northern Avenue Bridge. The meeting will take place Thursday, July 26th from 3 pm to 5 pm at City Hall in room 801. The public is welcome to attend. If you would like to receive updates on the bridge, please sign up at the project website NorthernAveBridgeBos.com. You may also email your comments to FPNA

The Task Force is composed of: A Better City, Boston Harbor Now, Boston Preservation Alliance, Fallon Co., Fort Point Neighborhood Association (FPNA), Green Ribbon Commission, Livable Streets Alliance, MCCA, Seaport TMA, US Court House, US General Services Administration, and the Wharf District Council along with Councilors Flynn & Flaherty, Senator Collins and Congressman Lynch’s offices.

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