February 10, 2010Frank A. Tramontozzi, P.E., Chief EngineerAttn: Shoukry Elnahal, P.E.Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Highway Division10 Park Plaza, Room 6500Boston, Massachusetts 02116RE: Western Avenue Bridge (Project File # 605527)River Street Bridge (Project File # 605524)Mr. Tramontozzi,Thank you for the opportunity to comment on this important project. As an Allston resident whofrequently enjoys the Charles River parklands, a bicycle commuter, and a father with three youngchildren, I hope this project will add bike lanes on the bridges and address the needs of parents pushingstrollers and young children on foot or bicycle. After years of enduring the existing conditions, it isexciting to think about the transformation that will soon occur!To achieve the best possible outcome, it is essential to make significant improvements in the areaaround and between these bridges. The Western Ave and River Street bridges function as a system andcannot be logically separated from the roads and paths that connect to them. While I understand yourbudget and schedule constraints, it would be in the public’s best interest for MassDOT, DCR, Boston,Cambridge, and Harvard University to collaborate with local citizens and transportation advocacy groupsto consider improvements for all forms of transportation both on and near the bridges.I would also like to offer comments on the following topics:1.
Path south of the River Street Bridge2.
Service Road/path reconfiguration5.
Cambridge Street and Mass Pike off-ramp6.
Reduce sidewalk obstacles7.
Ongoing public participation
Path south of the River Street Bridge
The path approaching the River Street Bridge on the Boston side of theriver is dangerously narrow and is unable to safely accommodatepedestrians and bicyclists travelling in both directions. The State’s 2002Charles River Master Plan recommends widening this path, possibly with acantilevered structure. Ideally, this path widening would be done while theRiver Street Bridge is being rebuilt. If that is not possible, the design of thenew River Street bridge must not preclude path widening in the future.