Synopsis
Freshgate Tunnel

The CITYminusTRAFFIC website presents the ambitious possibility of building a privately-financed, long, “deep-bore” tunnel that would free many miles of Charles Riverbanks from automobile traffic. Specifically, there would be:

  • NO AUTO TRAFFIC for almost 4 miles ON Soldiers’ Field Road & Storrow Drive from WBZ and the Herter Center, eastward past Allston, the Mass Pike and the BU Bridge, and past Boston University, to Charlesgate (just west of Mass Ave in Boston, at the Bowker Overpass to Rte 1).
  • NO AUTO TRAFFIC ON three existing bridges near Harvard (the Eliot, Anderson & Western Ave Bridges)
  • ALMOST NO AUTO TRAFFIC for 1 mile on Fresh Pond Parkway from the Charles to Fresh Pond (only one-way access roads for residents), to link Fresh Pond Reservation to the Charles River Basin.
  • NO AUTO TRAFFIC year-round (24/7) for Riverbend Park. Click on map below to view larger size.

Important to the CITYminusTRAFFIC vision is the news (somewhat old by now) that Harvard University is giving “Serious Consideration” to burying a part of the Soldiers' Field Road at their own expense: http://www.allston.harvard.edu/Envisioning/tfreports/life.pdf (pg 46). Harvard’s idea is to build a “cut-and-cover” tunnel for a section of Soldiers' Field Road, before their new & old Allston campuses. CITYminusTRAFFIC suggests a long deep-bore tunnel instead, and suggests that Harvard play the major role in financing it. The "A86 West Tunnel" now being built in Versailles France is very similar to the deep-bore tunnel proposed at CITYminusTRAFFIC. Its website is: http://www.a86ouest.com/foc-cofiroute/Nav?PageId=500

Considering alternate tunnel scenarios is one example of how there seems to be reason to broaden civic discussion of Charles Riverbank issues - beyond only the Allston Initiative - right now, before commitments are made that would forestall better pubic and private ventures in the 21st century. (For instance, if Harvard University buried one relatively short part of Soldiers’ Field Road in the short-run, there would be far less incentive to build a more ambitious tunnel in the long run.) Many people feel there are greater priorities in Greater Boston than upgrading the banks Charles River Basin Historic District. We agree with them - its one reason why CITYminusTRAFFIC presents this financing proposal that uses no public money.

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