Comments on Memorial Drive Phase III

Comments on Memorial Drive Phase III

January 27, 2022

Secretary of the Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs

100 Cambridge Street, Suite 900
Boston, MA 02114
Attn: MEPA Office, Christina Lyons

RE: Memorial Drive Phase III – Environmental Notification Form 16495

Dear Secretary Theoharides:

WalkBoston is Massachusetts’ primary pedestrian advocacy organization, working across the Commonwealth to make it safer and easier for people to walk for all activities of daily living such as access to transit, school and jobs. We are writing to you to show support for the MassDCR road diet of the 0.8-mile section of Memorial Drive from Eliot Bridge east to the intersection of Memorial Drive and John F. Kennedy Street near Harvard Square. We are happy to see this project move forward since it was last discussed publicly in the Summer of 2019.

We appreciate that there is continued attention to separating users by mode whenever possible on MassDCR facilities and within the Charles River Basin, following the recommendations from the 2002 Charles River Basin Plan. Converting the existing 6.5-foot-wide path to a 10-foot shared use path paired with a 5-foot wide stabilized gravel path for people walking and running will help reduce conflicts. 

We also applaud you for the addition of mid-block crossings into the project area, an opportunity unlocked by the road diet’s narrower cross-section. There is a new mid-block pedestrian crossing proposed on Memorial Drive near Sparks Street and Mt. Auburn, which provides a direct link to the MBTA Bus Stop for Bus 71 and 73 to further enhance accessibility to this important park and transportation corridor for transit riders. An additional mid-block crossing is also proposed at Memorial Drive near University Road, closer to JFK. Both pedestrian crossings will include rapid flashing beacon lights (RRFBs) to alert drivers to crossing pedestrians. 

With a projected increase in biking and e-bike usage in the coming years, we encourage you to highlight any possible conflict zones between people walking and biking with paint or signage to help minimize these conflicts, particularly at the new mid-block crossings. 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment. 

Stacey Beuttell, AICP

Executive Director, WalkBoston

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