Rutherford Redesign to Reduce AM Commuters?

The Boston Cyclists Union notes an interesting part of last week's presentation.

The could keep more suburbanites from rolling down Rutherford Avenue in the mornings due to a “well known phenomenon among traffic engineers,” according to the Boston Cyclists Union.

The union published their own take Friday on last week’s Rutherford Avenue redesign meeting, and noted the sharp difference between inbound and outbound traffic on Rutherford Avenue.

“Michael Hall of the consulting firm Tetra Tech told an audience of over 100… [that] traffic counts also indicated that inbound traffic flow was three times as heavy as outbound traffic,” the union reported. “Hall explained that this was likely due to the one-way toll scheme on the nearby Tobin Bridge.”

Hall told the crowd that many suburban commuters use Rutherford in the morning to avoid the $3 toll on the Tobin Bridge, but take the Tobin home in the afternoon because the toll doesn’t apply in that direction.

This is significant because when the new design for Rutherford is implemented several stoplights will be installed, slowing traffic from the 50 to 60 miles per hour speeds of today to roughly 30 miles per hour. Literally dozens of projects from around the country have shown that when a city decides to slow down traffic, the traffic disappears—because a certain percentage of commuters find faster ways to get where they’re going. The price of the Tobin is going to seem a little more reasonable to people who are trying to get to work on time or shave off several minutes of their daily commute.

See more on the cyclist union’s take here.

Dan May 17, 2012 at 02:06 PM
Nope, not that simple! Yes, some I'm sure are trying to cut their costs by by-passing the Tobin in the morning. But if you take a look at the traffic in the morning you'll see the Tobin is just as jammed up with traffic crawling across as what we have on Rutherford Ave. So one can't use that argument as the core reason. The city only has so many routes in and can only absorb so much of it at a time. What people are doing is trying all of the avenues they can depending on where they need to go. Remember not everyone is going into the heart of the city to work, some are going through to the other side or need to get to Cambridge or even Everett. That is why we have a complex problem just for the commuters, now throw in the trucks and you have a bigger mess! We have no options here, the surface design won't work without a full tunnel from Sullivan Sq to City Sq (Austin St) and open trench as we have now won't do.
Pete Stidman May 21, 2012 at 07:01 PM
Actually, yep. That the Tobin has more capacity is clear from the amount of commuters who are already using it one direction. And when stoplights are installed on Rutherford, the option will become more attractive simply because, even with traffic moving slower during rush hour, it will be faster than taking Rutherford for a certain percentage of drivers. And of course not all will use it, but if say, 10 percent do, that makes the fact that an underpass at Austin Street would be overkill even more clear.
Dan May 21, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Pete - I don't think were on the same page here. No one stated the Tobin didn't have more capacity than Rutherford Ave. The root issue here is BOTH are jammed up in the morning rush equally. So the issue of capacity is a mute point. While the numbers they just gave us show a higher inbound than exiting flow over Rutherford Ave I'm not so sure how they came to these numbers as they still have failed to disclose where the traps were (and these numbers are different than what we had before). Unless you know how the numbers where gotten and derived they could be anything to suit their objectives. Austin St underpass? not the same issue as the right of way across to Gilmore was the issue there. Do you mean the tunnel design from Austin St to Sullivan Sq which we put the commuter traffic? So the surface design is not flooded with noise and smog.
nick czech November 29, 2012 at 06:28 PM


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