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Parkway Predicament

This article is more than 10 years old.

Last week, the Boston City Council voted in favor of landmark status for the Charles River Esplanade. That vote will make it all the more difficult for the Mass. Department of Conservation and Recreation to enact a controversial proposal to build a temporary bypass over-top a portion of the park while they rebuild the crumbling Storrow Drive Tunnel.

DCR Commissioner Richard Sullivan has for years played down the likelihood of the bypass scenario, but his recent public statements in opposition to landmark status seemed to indicate otherwise.

With the Esplanade now an official Boston Landmark, this seems like a good time to review the alternatives to building a new tunnel. What's former Mass. Secretary of Transportation Fred Salvucci's preferred alternative? Tear down Storrow Drive.

"Much as I think they made a mistake back in the '40s when they [built Storrow Drive], shame on us if we repeat that mistake," Salvucci told David Boeri during their interview last week.

Salvucci thinks the tunnel rehab provides the perfect opportunity to convert Storrow into a genuine parkway (slow moving, narrow, with traffic lights and possibly on-street parking), or maybe even to tear it down altogether.

On this week's show, we ponder the future of Storrow Drive and the Esplanade. We're asking you, dear listener, to weigh-in on which is more important: fast-moving east-west auto traffic through Back Bay, or the Esplanade? Can you imagine Boston's prized promenade as James Storrow had envisioned it: without a major parallel roadway?

This program aired on July 17, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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