Saturday, March 31, 2007

Harvard's Cambridge Street Mess

According to Harry Mattison's report from the most recent subcommittee meeting of the Harvard Allston Task Force, the Harvard planners seem to be addressing only the issue of Stadium Way -- not of the more pressing traffic and transportation problems.

I present the following hypothesis: the success or failure of Harvard's traffic plan for Allston will hinge on how they deal with the intersection where Cambridge Street reaches the Charles River (IMPNF, Figure 3-5, annotated):

Harvard's own numbers, estimated using a model constructed in collaboration with the Boston Transportation Department, shows that 43% of their morning automobile traffic will exit the Mass Pike's A-B tolls and enter this intersection. (IMPNF, Table 3-5)

Q: How many cars will this be at the end of their 20-year master plan?
A: 8,145 * 0.43 [morning] + 7,775 * 0.33 [evening] = 6,068 cars per day (IMPNF, Table 3-4; IMPNF, Figure 3-5)

Q: How many cars currently pass through that intersection daily?
A: 28,464 (HUAM PNF, Table 3-1)

Q: What percentage increase in traffic will Harvard's Allston development cause on this intersection?
A: 6,068 / 28,464 = 21%

That intersection is already far, far too crowded. No, it suffers from gridlock. Until Harvard and/or the City fix the intersection, nothing else will really matter.

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