Conventional Cars Hanover-Street-with-Portable-Sidewalks2-590x392

Published on April 27th, 2012 | by Andrew Meggison

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Students Suggest More Walking and Less Driving In Boston’s North End

The North End, a neighborhood within Boston, is the city’s little Italy. Filled with great restaurants, American historical sites, and bars and lounges frequented by celebrities. In the spring and summer months The North End is a major tourist attraction and this adds additional pedestrian traffic and vehicle traffic to the crowed narrow roads and sidewalks. However, six North­eastern Uni­ver­sity civil engi­neering seniors have a solution — sea­sonal, portable sidewalks.

The idea is to place removable sidewalks on both side of the major North End road Hannover Street during the peak tourist months. The sidewalks would add seven additional feet on either side of the road for foot traffic and other uses. The removable sidewalks would also funnel traffic much more manageably down Hannover Street. Removable sidewalks are already in use in some major American cities like NYC.

The project is pedestrian focused with the goal to encourage walking, and to ease up pedestrian congestion, in one of the oldest parts of Boston. The Northeastern stu­dents also cre­ated as part of their plan spe­cial com­mer­cial zones that would dis­courage delivery vehi­cles from double parking on Hannover Street. Additional parts of the plan included more acces­sible bike racks and reorganizing parking spots on Com­mer­cial Street to make room for additional spaces.

The project was part of a capstone class for the engineering program. The goal of the capstone is make a more “com­plete street” with a better bal­ance of space for the move­ment of people and goods which impacts eco­nomic devel­op­ment and a residential goal of the cre­ation of a place in which people want to stay. The project was presented by the students and Boston City Coun­cilor Sal LaMat­tina, Massachusetts State Rep. Aaron Mich­le­witz, and Boston’s Com­mis­sioner of Trans­porta­tion Thomas Tinlin were in atten­dance and com­mended the stu­dents for their work.

I have lived in Boston’s North End for years and I think this would be a great idea. Aside from the fact that no one likes to have an idling car outside of the restaurant you are eating at; the roads of the neighborhood were originally cart paths and foot paths, as were many of the streets of Boston – they were not built with cars in mind. With the increased foot traffic of tourists when the warmer weather comes, the addition of the regular delivery trucks for the restaurants, and the odd street festival every now and again the narrow streets and sidewalks get crowed fast. Additional walking space would be welcomed, plus the restaurants could use the additional space for seasonal outside seating. After all,  Boston is  not known as America’s walking city for nothing .

Source: northeastern.edu

Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master’s Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. Being an Eagle Scout, Andrew has a passion for all things environmental. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison


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About the Author

Andrew Meggison was born in the state of Maine and educated in Massachusetts. Andrew earned a Bachelor's Degree in Government and International Relations from Clark University and a Master's Degree in Political Science from Northeastern University. In his free time Andrew enjoys writing, exploring the great outdoors, a good film, and a creative cocktail. You can follow Andrew on Twitter @AndrewMeggison



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