Rutherford Ave Meeting -- Your Take?

The Neighborhood Council hosted a meeting on Tuesday night to discuss the Rutherford Avenue surface redesign. Did you go? Tell us about it in the comments.

It's been an issue many months in the making and people in Charlestown have strong opinions on both sides: the .

The city has proposed a plan to remove the underpasses on Rutherford Avenue, making the roadway more of a boulevard. Charlestown's Neighborhood Council has endorsed this proposal, saying it will make the community more pedestrian friendly and open Rutherford Avenue up for more development.

But opponents say the so-called surface option will create a traffic nightmare. And they claim the city and the Neighborhood Council haven't organized enough community outreach on the project.

Both sides had their say at a large community meeting with Congressman Mike Capuano in May. (.)

There was another heated discussion at . A Patch reporter was there (story to follow). In the meantime, we want to hear how *you* thought the meeting went. 

Please tell us in the comments!

On her blog, Patch reader BostonMaggie wrote a summary of her take on the meeting. You can read it here. And here's an excerpt: 

"Don't pretend [the surface option] is for us. Don't pretend there isn't lots of benefit to the City (more development/bigger tax base). And don't try to do it on the cheap - keeping the underpasses costs more, but it is a bigger benefit to the Town," she wrote.

Dan October 19, 2011 at 03:09 PM
It appears the discussion is over without the community at large getting the all facts and really having an open the dialog on what is being done. We're getting the surface option thats it - The End. While it was stated the rebuilding of the needed street will happen first. If the new alignments don't work the underpass could be kept. Frankly, I don't buy it. How can they measure things to have a means to go one way or the other. Second, how would they proceed if it doesn't work and will the community get shut out of the process again? The third choice of a REAL tunnel which clearly what is needed here to get the Win-Win - Slower traffic on the surface, less congestion, a nicer space and tying the fragmented areas of C-Town back together again. The commuter traffic is put underneath like the Big Dig achieved in the North-End out of the way. The point of the amount of traffic using the under-pass today is not that high might sway many in not needing it, and the amount of traffic added to the surface might appear to be handled in the offered design. They missed the real issue is the 'Left Turn' problem so many will be taking in this new design. As a side note: UPS routes are designed not to allow their drivers to take left hand turns when ever possible to save gas and time.
Julia Gaynor October 19, 2011 at 03:11 PM
I was deeply disturbed by the way last night's meeting was run and also how poorly it was publicized. Aside from Bill Galvin, the Council seems to have made up its mind to push through the surface option regardless of what the residents think. There was a widely felt sentiment after the meeting among many residents of "What was the point of showing up? They don't care what we think." Clearly, most of the people in attendance last night have concerns about these plans, and I don't think a single one of us left the meeting feeling like our voices were heard. Additionally, there seems to be a feeling among certain Council members and others in attendance that because they've attended X number of meetings, their voices should be more important than those of us who are at our first, second or third meeting. We simply didn't know about these meetings before, and the Council has made no effort to try and encourage better attendance. The only reason we had over 300 people at the last meeting was because Representative Capuano had to step in and let the residents know what was going on. That is unacceptable. This Council is elected to represent ALL of us, not just certain special interests. I hope there are many more meetings, that even more residents attend to voice their concerns and I hope that since it was indicated that nothing will happen for at least 5 years from now, that we can get our Council members to address the CURRENT traffic problems we are all living with today.
Dan October 19, 2011 at 03:22 PM
Pt2: The more I look at this I see the way they measured and how it does not allow them to 'See' what is happening during the morning and evening rush-hour. Maybe we need to re-align the underpass (in truth a real tunnel) to direct the commuter left turning traffic flows via Rutherford to Mystic Ave (Maffa) and Rt99 from Everett to Rutherford Ave. That would be a great improvement on the surface roads. Granted, the numbers may appear not to be large, but the effect would be very large not clogging up the rest of the traffic. A real tunnel design would be costly. Which is most likely the real driving force on why we never had a choice here. As for the parking gains. Anyone would be a fool to park along these streets as most likely they won't have an easy time getting in or out of there cars with all the cars speeding through running the lights. I see someone or a car getting hit. I want the promises of what the surface design offers but, I don't want the commuter traffic creating grid lock stopping me getting in & out of C-Town. Maybe we'll need to wait until the surface roads show us this mess of grid lock in the AM & PM they will be creating. I hope its not to late by then. Maybe a group of people need to file suit in court like what we did before to stop the madness before they fill in the underpass.
Joseph October 19, 2011 at 04:41 PM
Thank you all for reporting back as to what took place at this meeting. I was looking forward to this meeting so I could hear and see firsthand both sides of this issue. Unfortunately, I was stuck at work. For me, I’m unable to develop a clear picture of either proposal from the illustrations posted online, but what I do know is that rotary must go. A question for the CNC – Do you have written proof from the constituents within your precinct as to where THEY stand about these proposals? I was unable to find any information on your website about how you determined your stance on this matter. Will you please post how many residents of Charlestown you asked and the results of these surveys? Personally speaking, I have NEVER been asked my stance on either proposal. Has anyone reading this ever been asked as to where they stand? Dan? Gloria? BostonMaggie? Kristi? If WE aren’t being asked OUR OPINION, how is the CNC accurately able to convey OUR stance on this subject in formal meetings such as last night? Exactly who does the CNC represent? Who exactly are they speaking for? How are they gathering OUR opinions on important matters such as these? Something smells fishy....
Dan October 19, 2011 at 05:59 PM
Joseph - No input other than what they believe the direction at the meetings if that. There where a group of meetings, not well publicized that may be a factor here. Frankly, a lot of this is poor communication of the CNC and the City. Many people would have been involved earlier if they had the information of when the meetings and what was to be discussed. There is little written on the traffic studies (last night was the first time I got the deeper details). I can't fault them on the lack of data as there is no way to make the type of measurements with the viaduct (gone) and underpass (blocked) now and how they effected the traffic. Plus, the differences of the traffic patterns and numbers today given the construction on Mystic bridge. Even still, a tower with cameras mounted looking across the entire area with some trace programing could allow them to see the flow of the traffic (following each given car, bus or truck in, thru and then out of Sullivan Sq). Looking at these patterns would have been very enlightening. During the Big Dig we had a group of bound booklets (which I still have) with all of the traffic flow data. the ideas on possible solutions, road designs and even the outline of what lighting they was being looked at. This design phase had none of that and the info on the web is very loose. The lack of anything written also makes it hard to pin them down when they renege.
PattyK October 19, 2011 at 07:29 PM
The figures from 1998 to 2008 shown last night said traffic has dropped. I find these figures to be erroneous because the population of charlestown and Boston has grown yearly with the increase in the general population not just the residents.
PattyK October 19, 2011 at 07:38 PM
I also have a suggestion for council members since we have evolved with email capabilities...when campaigning in your district for nomination signatures...ask your constituents to include their email address so that you can send out a quick email on upcoming voting issues and get some real feedback, before making a personal decision with your vote. I think yo may actually get a real consensus on how the neighbors really feel on the subjects whether or not they can attend to voice their opinion in person. Thanks for listening.
Dan October 20, 2011 at 12:41 AM
PattyK - I would say the numbers are likely correct between the two time frames, but as you noted the population has increased which was not measured in their audit. One other point the methods on how they measure the traffic does not show the pattern where people are going, just raw numbers.
Jimmy G. October 20, 2011 at 02:16 AM
Pattyk...Maybe Diane Grant could make a section on the Business association website where they have the council info where you could put in your email for the council member who represents you and maybe they could send out request for feed back on issues coming up so they actual know what the people want instead of voting by there own personal feelings!!!
WD October 20, 2011 at 02:21 AM
I hope maybe somebody from CNC will read this, but I won't hold my breath. Rutherford Ave and the tunnel system does a good job at moving people through Charlestown and to points beyond. That's it. It is designed so they DON'T come into the "neighborhood" area. When you turn it into a Boulevard, with stoplights, and pedestrian crossings, those people who it used to take 3 minutes to drive down Rutherford Ave, and it now takes 6 minutes decide "Hey - if I take (insert street name here e.g. Warren St to Main St, or Chelsea St. to Medford St.,) it will take me 5 minutes instead of 6. And thus the problem begins. Especially more so headed OUT of town, versus into town. When all routes offer the same convenience, there will be more traffic going THROUGH Charlestown instead of AROUND it. Some days already cars are backed up on Main street headed west all the way from the Schraftt's Building down to Speedy Wong's. And it will only get worse.
Diane Grant October 20, 2011 at 11:33 AM
John & Patty K, that is a GREAT idea! let me see if I can set it up with the council members so they have their constituents emails. Thank you for you input.
Kristi Ceccarossi October 20, 2011 at 01:40 PM
Hey everyone, be sure to check out our story from the meeting. http://patch.com/A-nb2m
MD October 20, 2011 at 01:40 PM
I am sick of the city trying to cram parks and better pedestrian crossings down my throat. I hate trees, and green space. I want more concrete. I read somewhere that trees and plants produce oxygen and reduce carbon dioxide and other pollutants, who wants that? I want an ugly high-speed raceway through Charlestown with lots of dirt and trash. I also don't care about anyone that lives near Rutherford Ave, too bad for them. We need highways. I just don't beleive the city's traffic counts and I don't think traffic will be able to pass through the new intersections. I also don't beleive in Dinosaurs, did you ever see one, I haven't? I want nothing to ever change in Charlestown. Those other parts of the city that are benefiting from newly designed road and parks, that's for the birds. And with less greenspace we won't have any birds.
Joseph October 20, 2011 at 02:01 PM
Dan, thank you for sharing your knowledge about this subject. I agree with the cameras. I believe a much clearer picture of traffic flow can be determined by watching it develop verses counting the number of cars that travel that route. Data from 2008? Seriously? Not a single response from the CNC about how they justify their votes. Come on my fellow residents of Charlestown. It’s time to start making the Charlestown Neighborhood Council accountable for their actions!! I find it hard to believe that PattyK is the only other person questioning their actions? Judy Brennan, David Whelan, Bill Galvin, George Morton, Richard McCarthy, Michael Charbonnier, Barbara Babin, Peg Bradley, Paul Clausen, Tom Cunha, Ed Grace, Mark Rosenshein, Erin Sullivan – 13 people that are supposed to be in touch with the community and not a single individual cares to share how they formulated their stance on this matter. Let’s hear what you have to say!! What are you hiding? We have a right to know how you’re basing your decision!!!
Paul Sullivan October 20, 2011 at 02:47 PM
Joseph: What formula is Mr. Galvin and those who are opposed considering when measuring the amount of gridlock they claim will innudate the streets of Charlestown. Pure speculation that quite frankly has no merit. I believe the CNC relied on the traffic studies presented which has more merit and factual information than the scare tactics of gridlock by those opposed to the current scheme.
Dan October 20, 2011 at 03:04 PM
MD - No one is against change it if anything we all wanted years ago! The tricky part here is not the change, but, doing right. So far the CNC and the City don't give me the feeling they have a handle on this. Between the poor quality of information offered and the lack of communication. How about the bridge to nowhere in Alaska that was useful. Wasting the public's money on a useless or poorly thought thru plains is the root issue here. Unlike the bridge to nowhere we have to deal with the mistake and how it will effect us today to day. It'll take another 20 years to fix the fix if were lucky! I don't know about you, I want something that doesn't need to be fixed yet again. Now breathe the dirt and smog the grid-locked traffic will be spewing! Oh, don't forget to enjoy the dead or dying trees along the way as well. What, I can't hear you through all of the NOISE of the surface traffic. Question for you: Do you think the surface & elevated traffic thru the North-End was better than what the Big Dig created afterwards? I want what the Big Dig created for us! Can we get there I hope so!
Dan October 20, 2011 at 03:14 PM
Diane - How about a blog space for each meeting with a rundown what will be covered and then a followup on what happened. Don't have any comments but have a vote pro/con (theirs and ours) per subject covered that everyone can see. Leave the dialog in the Patch
Diane Grant October 20, 2011 at 03:55 PM
I love all these ideas about what to do for the website. I need to find a local website business that can volunteer some help on this. Just a few hours a week could make a BIG difference in what we can offer residents and businesses. Anybody know anybody that can help me? I think they are great ideas, now let's execute them! Thank you.
Joseph October 20, 2011 at 04:41 PM
Paul Sullivan: Great question!! I want to know how ALL CNC officials are basing their opinions! We must hold the CNC accountable for their actions and question how they are basing their decisions!! Which plan you support is NOT the question right now. The question is - Does the Charlestown Neighborhood Council ask the residents within their precinct their opinion about which option they support? Or are they representing the view of the entire Charlestown community to the City of Boston as their own? If they (CNC) are elected to represent US (you and me), they must not rely strictly on these studies (from 2008??), as well as their OWN opinions, but must use our opinions and concerns when formulating their stance. How can you not agree with me Paul? This is a democracy is it not? I find it comical that the CNC has yet to respond to ANY article posted on The Patch about this subject. That should tell everyone reading this something about the CNC. Shady backroom politics at its finest….
Vote Charlestown October 20, 2011 at 07:38 PM
Diane Grant...I posted this Back in August on twitter and on the Patch...Not sure if they are still offering the deal but you might want to try them...They where offering free service for NON-Profits .... Good Luck....@WorkingManRadio Do u know of small grassroots non-profit organization that needs a website? We can help..and it's FREE: http://bit.ly/n6Srdl @CharlestwnPatch
nick czech November 29, 2012 at 06:23 PM


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