February 3, 2012

Map showing Jamaicaway highway lanes on either side of ponds
The 1950s plans that nearly turned Jamaicaway into a highway
(Image courtesy of Boston Cyclists Union)


  • Development deal will fill gaping Downtown Crossing hole (Boston Herald)
    By Jerry Kronenberg -- Three years after New York developer Vornado Realty Trust left a giant hole in the ground where Boston’s landmark retailer Filene’s once stood, the company has cut a deal to restart construction at the Downtown Crossing site. Vornado reached an agreement today [Feb. 2] to sell fellow developer Millennium Partners a 50 percent interest in what was supposed to be a $750 million redevelopment of the site, sources told the Herald.
  • Andersen Memorial Bridge between Cambridge, Boston to be rebuilt for $20m (Boston Globe)
    By Eric Moskowitz -- State officials approved a nearly $20 million contract yesterday to rebuild a Charles River bridge connecting Harvard Square and Harvard’s Allston campus ... between this spring and summer 2014. As was the recently completed Boston University Bridge, it will be slimmed from four vehicle lanes to three to accommodate bicycle lanes and wheelchair-accessible sidewalks.
  • Casey and a brief history of highways in Boston (Boston Cyclists Union)
    By Pete Stidman -- During Jamaica Plain’s great debate on the Casey Overpass, some have said that it has no relation whatsoever to Boston’s highway revolt of the 1960s—the “street fight” that brought us the Southwest Corridor instead of an elevated highway. But the truth is they are both part of a relatively short period of history when road engineers, politicians and even newspaper reporters were all fighting the evil “bottleneck” and devising every way they could to drive long distances without ever experiencing a slow down or even a stop light.
    Related: Casey Overpass announcement delayed a second time (Jamaica Plain Gazette, Boston Cyclists Union)
    , and more below
  • At meeting, residents reassured Green Line extension coming (Boston Globe, Boston Metro)
    By Kathy McCabe -- The long-awaited Green Line Extension is on track to move ahead, with the final design of the $1.1 billion public transit project due to be completed in March, and the first phase of construction, including the widening of railroad bridges in Medford and Somerville, to start by the end of this year, MBTA project officials said.... Plans for the $20 million first phase were outlined Wednesday at a community meeting at Somerville High School, the first of several the MBTA plans to hold to keep area residents informed.
  • MBTA mulling more scenarios to close budget gap (Boston Metro)
    By Steve Annear -- MassDOT Secretary Rich Davey is saying there might be other options than the two proposed scenarios the T has put on the table for customers to digest. According to State House News, Davey said he’s weighing several proposals to “more creatively” structure T fares, including three or four ideas he heard from members of the public at the T’s hearings. Asked whether he’s warmed to the idea of implementing a system of higher fares during the T’s busiest commuting hours, Davey said, “I think the answer is yes.”
    Related: for Background, Public hearings and meetings, Political responses, Editorials, and Other reactions regarding the fare hikes and service cuts, see sections below
  • House GOP Moves to Decimate Dedicated Transit Funding (Streetsblog DC)
    By Ben Goldman -- In a move that should dispel any remaining thoughts that the House transportation bill [PDF] will ever be signed into law, the Ways and Means Committee announced today that they will try to forbid gas tax revenue from funding transit.... Essentially, the House GOP is holding transit hostage to achieve budget cuts elsewhere -- and they don’t seem to care if the hostage dies.
  • New report: Top US cities for cycling and walking (BikeBiz, TheCityFix, Bikeleague.org)
    Alaska and Boston have been picked out as the state and city seeing the highest levels of cycling and walking in the US. The Alliance for Biking and Walking published the Benchmarking Report, which found that Alaska, Vermont and New York State saw the highest numbers of riders and walkers, while in terms of US cities, Boston, Washington DC and San Francisco saw the highest levels.



  • Gas Prices and the Value of Walkable Communities (Planetizen Newswire)
  • The joy of walking: A path through time immemorial (The Economist)
  • Listen Up, Walkers: Watch Out For Traffic When Wearing Headphones (NPR blogs)




Transportation financing/Government

  • Transportation grants to help five New England campuses (Boston Herald)
  • Freeloading: The state's sloppy oversight of public land leases is costly for taxpayers (CommonWealth Magazine)
  • Welcome to Megaboston -- Growth, annexation, and paths not taken (Boston Globe)
  • House GOP Moves to Decimate Dedicated Transit Funding (Streetsblog DC)
    • Amendment to Restore Bike/Ped Programs in House Transpo Bill Fails (Streetsblog DC)


Development projects

Land Use/Planning

  • Beacon Hill --
    • Beacon Hill Civic Association Votes for Restrictions on Retail Spaces (Beacon Hill Times)
    • Opinion: Banks hurt the life of retail streets (Beacon Hill Times)
    • Concern About the Future of Charles Street Discussed in Meeting (Beacon Hill Patch)
    • A Suffolk University move could bring more housing to Beacon Hill (Boston Globe)
    • Charles Street shops look for ways to improve thoroughfare, business (Boston Globe)
  • Visualizing Boston's Density (Bostonography)
  • New Town Planner Sees Potential For Alternative Transportation (Swampscott Patch)
  • Forest Hills MBTA Parcel U on sale for 3rd time (Jamaica Plain Gazette)
  • Mayor Menino Announces New Zoning Adopted in the South End (BRA News)
  • Crowding of North Cambridge renews efforts to limit housing (Cambridge Day)
  • Downtown View: If I were Mayor (Beacon Hill Times)
  • They're anti-driveway, pro-democracy and a little dodgy up on Avon Hill (Cambridge Day)
  • City approves five-story condo building near Union Square in Allston (Boston.com)
  • Dot Ave. zoning changes near completion (Dorchester Reporter)


  • New York City --
  • Los Angeles --
    • A startling pattern on downtown L.A.'s streets -- Abuse of disabled placards? (L.A. Times)
    • Suits could force L.A. to spend huge sums on sidewalk repair (L.A. Times)
    • L.A.'s Antonio Villaraigosa discusses transit funding with China (L.A. Times)
    • Cycles and cents: Long Beach sets out to prove that bikes are good for business (Grist / The NationThe Atlantic Cities)
    • L.A. County takes step to promote exercise, reduce obesity (L.A. Times)
  • Tea Party Mayor Loses Battle to Block Troy Transit Center (The Atlantic Cities)
  • With James Island connector off limits, lack of cycling alternative criticized (Charleston Post and Courier)
  • Seeing red: Where do the GOP candidates stand on urban issues? (Grist)
  • New York State Assessment: No Reason Not To Replace Tappan Zee Bridge (Transportation Nation)
  • San Francisco Chinatown Businesses Thrive During a Week Without Car Parking (Streetsblog S.F.)
  • In San Francisco, a Push for Public Benches (NY Times)
  • A Moveable Chief: A Conversation With Chicago Transportation Commissioner Gabe Klein (The Atlantic Cities)
  • Streetcars to return soon to the District (Washington Post)

National trends

International news

  • Swedish cities could connect via bike superhighway (Grist, TreeHugger)
  • Danish centrists: Congestion zone should fund bicycle superhighways (Copenhagen Post)
  • The 8 to 80 Problem -- Designing Cities for Young and Old (The Atlantic Cities)
  • London: What can Olympics fans travelling on bikes expect? (The Guardian)
  • Four fear free hours in Uganda's capital city (European Cyclists' Federation)
  • What’s the Best Way To Get Users To Embrace Mass Transit -- Make it pleasant? Or make it efficient? (Slate)
  • World's largest bus getting ready to roll out in China (Digital Trends)
  • Lima's metro: The train leaves platform one at last (The Economist)
  • In Kazakhstan, A Beautiful, Futuristic New Subway System (The Atlantic Cities)
  • Can Ontario Really Deliver North America's Best Smart Growth Plan? (The Atlantic Cities)
  • VIDEO: Streetfilms Visits Medellín, Colombia (Streetfilms)
  • The mayor of Montreal's Plateau borough races to keep commuters' cars out of his borough (The Walrus)