Writer Calls for 'Livable, Healthy, and Prosperous' Approach to McGrath Highway
Coalition pushing for new vision to roads and highways through Somerville and neighboring communities.
To The Editor:
Urban highways degrade the neighborhoods they cut through. Fortunately I-93 has replaced the deteriorating McGrath/O'Brien Highway’s role as a regional conduit. (“A hope of renewal for Somerville,” by Paul McMorrow, 7/1/11, Boston Globe.) In response, LivableStreets Alliance has brought together a broad coalition of community, environmental, transportation, and health advocates from Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, and Medford who all support a new vision.
Each of us wants to reunite our highway-sliced neighborhoods. Our organizations want travel along and across the space to become safer and inviting for pedestrians, bicyclists, and bus riders. We want less noise, pollution, and speeding cars; more trees, grass, storm-water drainage, and places to sit down. We want to encourage local businesses.
We’ve learned to think of road segments—Cambridge Street, Somerville Avenue, Medford Street, the “lost neighborhood” stretch, and the Fellsway—rather than a single corridor with one design. Still, in most places, traffic counts show that today’s car volumes could be handled by four lanes instead of the current six.
By supporting each other and the humanizing values we share, we hope to encourage each of the corridors’ nearly 20 separate planning processes to endorse designs that make our communities more livable, healthy, and prosperous.
Helen Rose, chair of the Cambridge Pedestrian Committee.
Steven E. Miller, Board of Directors, LivableStreets Alliance
Alan Moore, Friends of the Community Path
Ellin Reisne, STEP
Barbara Broussard, President of East Cambridge Planning Team
Heather Van Aelst , Trustee Brickbottom Condo Trust/Brickbottom Artists Building