Watercolor of Anderson Bridge underpass looking upriver on Boston side by David Smith
Elected officials (27) and former elected officials (2) who publicly support pedestrian underpasses:
U.S. Representative Michael Capuano; State Senators William Brownsberger, Sonia Chang-Diaz, Sal DiDomenico, Patricia Jehlen, Anthony Petruccelli, Cynthia Stone Creem; State Representatives Ruth Balser, Marjorie Decker, Jonathan Hecht, Kevin Honan, Kay Khan, Michael Moran, Denise Provost, David Rogers, Frank Smizik, and Timothy Toomey; Cambridge Mayor Henrietta Davis; Cambridge Vice Mayor Denise Simmons; Cambridge City Councillors Leland Cheung, Craig Kelley, David P. Maher, Kenneth Reeves, and Minka van Beuzekom.; and Boston City Councilors Felix Arroyo, Mark Ciommo, John Connolly, and Michael Ross; former State Representatives Marty Walz and Alice Wolf.
Organizations who publicly support pedestrian underpasses (47):
Allston Brighton North Neighbors Forum, Allston Civic Association, Bay Circuit Alliance, Beacon Hill Civic Association, Bike Newton, Bike Rides for Ordinary People, Boston by Foot, Boston Cyclists Union, Boston Preservation Alliance, Boston Society of Architects (Urban Design Committee), Boston Society of Landscape Architects, BU Student Union, Cambridge Running Club, Cambridge Sports Union, Cambridge Traffic, Parking, and Transportation Department, Charles River Alliance of Boaters, Community Running Association, CycleKids, Downtown North Association, East Coast Greenway Alliance, Emerald Necklace Conservancy, The Esplanade Association, Environmental League of Massachusetts, Friends of the Community Path, Green Cambridge, Green Decade/Newton, Greenport, Green Streets Initiative, Inline Club of Boston, Institute for Human-Centered Design, Livable Streets Alliance, MassBike, Charles River Wheelmen (CRW), Massachusetts Sierra Club, Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), Wheelworks Multisport Triathlon Team, MIT Triathlon Club, Somerville Road Runners, Trust for Public Land, Trustees of Reservation, Urban AdvenTours, Walk Boston, Watertown Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, Environmental Task Force of WCES (Watertown Citizens for Environmental Safety), and the West End Civic Association.
Our ongoing letter-writing campaign has also garnered the support of more than 1,400 individuals who have sent a letter to the Governor to show their support.
Diagram of the eight- mile segment of the Paul Dudley White bicycle and pedestrian path that will be free of at-grade intersection crossings if the Longfellow underpass is reopened and if the Anderson, River Street, and Western Avenue underpasses are constructed
"Our campaign for a citywide bike network for commuters and families works to address the need for safe, enjoyable bikeways in all the neighborhoods of the city of Boston. We envision a Boston that is world renowned for year round cycling, a place where people ride for fun, exercise, and transportation.” - Pete Stidman, Director, Boston Cyclists Union
"The paths along the Charles River are an important resource for the residents and employees of Beacon Hill and Back Bay. They are an extension of the Esplanade and encourage people of all ages to enjoy the beauty of the river while using an uninterrupted path for both exercise and commuting" - Stephen Young, President, Beacon Hill Civic Association
''It is important to plan for the future now. Our heavy dependence on oil is not sustainable and alternate means of transportation must be encouraged. Pedestrians and bicyclists embody the best of this effort. The underpasses for the Charles River bridges would enable pedestrians and bicyclists to be safe while engaging in environmentally friendly modes of transportation. This chance will not come again for 50 to 75 years." - Marcia Cooper, President, Green Decade
"It is important to have a place where parents and teachers can take children and give them a safe place to bike – the underpass allows for a continuous pathway where this would be made possible for several miles. Parents or school buses can bring kids to Herter park, with bikes on board and then use the pathways, giving them a beautiful experience along the water." - Julianne Idlet, Executive Director, Cycle Kids
"We support the creation of underpasses because public infrastructure needs to take into account the importance of inclusive design, and the role design has in expanding opportunity and enhancing experience for people of all ages and abilities. Including underpasses for the bridge renovation now creates opportunities for a variety of residents and visitors for decades to come including people with disabilities and older people. The underpasses would communicate a sense of welcome and opportunity for everyone to enjoy this precious public resource." - Valerie Fletcher, Executive Director, Institute for Human Centered Design
"I support the addition of pathway underpasses as the bridges across the urban Charles River are being restored. We need to think ahead and create a city where bicycling - both for commuting and recreation - are easy and safe. Now is the time to make these improvements, adding them later would cost more and be more disruptive. With the strong political support, a technical solution can be found for these underpasses."- Michael Dukakis, former Governor of Massachusetts
"On behalf of the City of Boston...we request that you consider including pedestrian underpasses on the Boston side of the river in the design for Western Avenue, River Street, and Anderson Memorial Bridges... The inclusion of underpasses in the design of these bridges would make it possible for families and cyclists of all levels to travel along an uninterrupted, off-road park path for over seven miles, from the Craigie Bridge to Watertown. Creating uninterrupted "superhighways" is one of the most effective and sophisticated best practices in bike planning and results in dramatic increases in ridership."- Thomas Tinlin, Commissioner, Boston Transportation Dept.
"In general, I support MassDOT's design for the River Street and Western Avenue bridges...However, I do wish to draw MassDOT's attention to what I believe is a deficiency in this design. Specifically, I refer to the lack of pedestrian underpasses for each of these bridges on the Boston side of the Charles River... I suggest that MassDOT take advantage of the Design/Build contracting method, and offer underpass design and permitting for these two bridges, and also the Anderson Bridge, as an option to the Western Avenue/River Street contract."- Michael Capuano, US Congress
Conceptual rendering of what the underpasses may look like as illustrated (Alan Waxman - Student at- Harvard Graduate School of Design)
Advocacy Timeline & History
April 3rd, 2013: Charles River Conservancy Underpass advocates, in addition to a representative from the Cambridge Running Club, met wit US Congressman Michael E. Capuano, John Lenicheck (District Director), and Kate Auspitz (Issues Director).
April 2nd, 2013: CRC members attended the Transportation Day event held at the State House, hosted by Transportation for America- T4MA Chapter, and visited State Representatives Honan and Moran.
March 9th, 2013: Underpass advocates, including ex-Secretary of Transportation Fred Salvucci, a representative from Livable Streets, and the Charles River Conservancy met with State Senator William Brownsberger and Mike Buckley (Legislative Counsel and Policy Advisor).
January 7th, 2013: Underpass advocates, including a representative from Livable Streets, the Cambridge Running Club, and the Charles River Conservancy presented the underpass campaign and progress being made to the Accelerated Bridge Program (ABP) Council.
December 19th, 2012: Underpass advocates, including a representative from Livable Streets, the Cambridge Running Club, and the Charles River Conservancy met with Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard Sullivan and DCR Commissioner Ed Lambert.
December 18th, 2012: Underpass advocates, including a representative from Livable Streets, the Cambridge Running Club, and the Charles River Conservancy met with Transportation Secretary Richard Davey and Highway Administrator Frank DePaola. MassDOT announced they will include space for underpasses in all 3 of the bridge designs.
October 2012: CRC letter-writing campaign to the Governor and Senior Appointed Officials yields over 1,400 letters in support of underpasses.
September 25th, 2012: City of Boston's Chief of Environment and Energy, Brian Swett, sends a letter to Frank DePaola, MassDOT's Highway Administrator, encouraging him to support underpasses. "The rehabilitation of the Charles River Bridges to include multi-use underpasses would provide essential connectivity for bicyclist and pedestrians."
June, July, 2012: Legislature adds underpasses to transportation bond bill and Governor Patrick signs it. Secretary of Administration and Finance Gonzalez still needs to authorize expenditure of these bond funds.
April 6th, 2012: City of Boston's Traffic Commissioner Thomas J. Tinlin sends a letter to Frank DePaola, MassDOT's Highway Administrator, where he urges him to "Consider including pedestrian underpasses on the Boston side of the river in the design for the Western Avenue, River Street, and Anderson Memorial Bridges."
March 28,2012: The CRC wrote a comment letter to Administrator Broderick of MassDOT in support of the underpass proposals for Western Avenue and River Street.
March 13, 15, 2012: CRC president Renata von Tscharner and 20 other supporters spoke in support of the underpasses at public meetings sponsored by MassDOT in Cambridge and Boston.
December 15, 2011 and February 28, 2012: The Conservancy held Issues Forums moderated by former Governor Dukakis and Ken Kruckemeyer on the underpasses, where 40 stakeholders and MassDOT representatives discussed design proposals for the three bridges.
October 5th, 2011: The Conservancy briefed the MassDOT board about adding underpasses at the Anderson, Western Avenue, and River Street Bridges. CRC suggested combining the three bridge rehabilitation projects into a single design-build contract. Although deadlines for the bridge rehabilitation projects are tight, CRC continues to push MassDOT for creative strategies to include underpass designs now or facilitate their construction in the future.
September 7th, 2011: Conservancy President Renata von Tscharner and other advocates testified at a September 7th meeting of the MassDOT Board of Directors. Click here to read her testimony. Three (of five) MassDOT board members have requested a meeting to brief the board on the opportunities to add underpasses to these bridges as they are being renovated under the DOT's Accelerated Bridge Program.
May 18th, 2011: Boston City Council adopts resolution “that the Boston City Council encourages the Massachusetts Department of Transportation to consider all users of the Anderson Memorial Bridge, both on and off the water, and to include pedestrian and biker underpasses through the abutments in the scope of the restoration of the Anderson Memorial Bridge” (Resolution 0723 - City Councilors Arroyo, Ciommo, Connolly and Ross).
March 21st, 2011: Cambridge City Council adopts resolution "that the City Manager is requested to confer with MassDOT to add the underpasses in their proposal to rehabilitate the Anderson Bridge and request that MassDOT work with the Cambridge Community Development Department and the Traffic, Parking, and Transportation Department to refine and implement this plan." (POR 2011 #120 - Vice Mayor Davis, Councillor Cheung and entire membership)
March 11th, 2011: MEPA's certificate did not require MassDOT to include the underpasses in their plans for the Anderson Bridge. While the news is disappointing, we will continue to push forward with our advocacy efforts, namely by broadening our focus to include the Western Avenue and River Street Bridges.
March 4th, 2011: The Charles River Conservancy submitted a letter to EOEA Secretary Richard Sullivan for the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act (MEPA) review of MassDOT's Anderson Bridge restoration proposal. The Conservancy's letter urges MEPA to request MassDOT to add the underpasses.
Conceptual rendering of Anderson Bridge underpass looking down-river toward the Boston side of the Charles from Cambridge (by Tom Gastel)