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(flickr/The D34n)
(flickr/The D34n)

Last week, we talked about an ambitious plan to redesign the Charles River Esplanade – from slowing down Storrow Drive to expanding the green space and recreation areas. On our show on Thursday, architect John Shields of the Esplanade Association said this about the new vision:

We can create parkland by moving Storrow Drive under one arch at the Longfellow Bridge, and then by slowing it down just a little bit, we can make it a much more pleasant experience even along its edges.

But some of you had some reservations about the possible changes – particularly about those affecting the roadway. “Jim M” wrote this on our website:

When I lived in Back Bay, I regarded the Esplanade as my backyard. … One of the things I loved about it was the feeling of separation from the city you get when you go there. In a way, Storrow Drive keeps the city out.

“GCarlson77” agreed, calling a proposed Ferris Wheel on the Esplanade "ludicrous” and adding,

There are a hundred different ways that money could be better used.

We also heard last week about the unprecedented number of dolphins beaching themselves on Cape Cod, and about the rescuers working to save them. Several of you wanted to know why these dolphins won't stop straying into the shallows.

“SelkieGirl1999” asked on our website,

Can't scientists perform autopsies...? The dolphins are telling us something – and it's up to us to decipher what that is.

Our own Adam Ragusea, who reported this story, answered her online:

[The rescuers] say they literally haven't had time to do the autopsies. The other problem is that many of these answers depend on test results that have to be sent away to outside labs and take weeks to process. The greatest likelihood is this will all be over by the time we know what it was about.

Some of you wondered whether sonar – perhaps from man-made sources – has anything to do with the dolphins' confusion. We asked Boston University Biology professor Jelle Atema about this. He said that dolphins use sonar for many things, possibly including navigation, and added:

The area in Wellfleet, this muddy, very shallow area that very gently slopes to deeper water, is a terrible area for sound transmission. And so it could very well be that that environment makes it very difficult for them to use sonar, if that is what they really need in order to avoid it.

But he said he couldn't explain why the dolphins end up lost in the first place:

Why they go to the Wellfleet area, I'm not sure anyone knows. It is a great puzzle, puzzling scientists for decades.

We invite you, our listeners, to join the conversation at any time.

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This program aired on February 13, 2012.

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