Seasonal Sidewalks and Hanover Street

May 9, 2012
By

Shown above is a photograph with Photoshopped sidewalk extensions placed on the Hanover Street footprint courtesy of the Boston Herald. Sidewalk extensions could be a tremendous plus to the ambiance of Hanover Street.

The newest idea city planners and civil engineers have suggested for Hanover Street are seasonal sidewalks – that is – sidewalks that extend to the extent that parked cars are removed from the equation on Hanover Street during the spring summer and early fall.

Extended sidewalks allow for dining on sidewalks, one of the added plusses that would literally and physically transform the public face of Hanover Street from congested artery to resident and tourist mecca where pedestrians achieve final victory over automobiles, traffic and bad air.

Also, truck deliveries could be better monitored and given specific delivery times.

Why do some of us believe the extended sidewalks would be a great success?

Because some of us see a Hanover Street without automobiles parked on both sides of it as a better place.

North End Representative Aaron Michlewitz told me the discussion about Hanover Street needs to continue.

He isn’t sure extended sidewalks would solve anything.

Also, some North End businesspeople derided the idea of having truck parking for deliveries contained to an area of Hanover Street far away from where the deliveries actually must be made.

Obviously, this is problematic.

The extended sidewalks idea has some traction because the trend moving forward here is for larger and larger crowds of tourists and patrons for restaurants and shoppers for small stores.

As those crowds grow, so, too, does automobile traffic.

At some point, as I have written repeatedly before, the traffic will simply stop flowing at some point.

Everything will simply freeze into a suspended animation gridlock where nothing moves.

Hanover Street is close to this point right now.

With the summer months of peak traffic and tourism now revving up, the extended sidewalk idea ought to be tried out for a day or two just to see what happens.

How could it hurt?

What could it ruin?

The only thing Hanover Street residents and businesspeople have to fear is fear itself.

To do nothing in the face of the growing crowds coming here is folly.

To dismiss possible solutions is more folly.

Nothing remains the same forever. Hanover Street is a changed place. It needs a redesign to manage the future. Without it, the future looks uncertain and problems are going to expand.

The automobile should be made history on Hanover Street.

It will be a better place without cars.