Letters to the Editor: My dream for the Avenue- Fewer cars, more pedestrians

To the Editor:

Thank you for the opportunity to present my dream and vision for Dorchester Avenue (“Dot Ave. Project: What would you add to the avenue”, Reporter, Dec. 9, 2010). To start however, I’d like to point out that the Avenue is nicer than when this ‘newcomer’ moved here in 1984. While having 33 bars on the Avenue might have been an attraction back then, I can’t say I miss any of the ones that are gone. Most of the ones that have stayed are much nicer than they were then as are most of the businesses on the Avenue in general.

I guess if pressed I miss 40-cent Schaefers at the Town Field Tavern and at times I have pangs for the Adelphia which was the only Greek Cowboy bar I’ve ever seen anywhere. The menu at its current replacement, D Bar, is much better though.

The City of Boston gathered dozens of my neighbors to meet and develop a plan for Dorchester Avenue. The plan was partially scuttled thanks to the stimulus money, which is only for intersections and had to be designed by Mass Dot. So we’re in the middle of a two-year project that will leave Dorchester Avenue done at 15 separate points. The practical solution would be for the city to pick up the ball and complete the entire project as orignally designed thanks to my neighbors’ work. We’re not enthusiastic about that possibility and besides, it doesn’t match my vision which would scrap the redesign and start over again.

I wouldn’t use the Mass Dot designers since all they seem to be about is increasing traffic flow. Who needs 15-foot-wide traffic lanes? Besides, guess what increasing traffic flow brings? How about more traffic!?! Does anyone want more traffic on Dorchester Avenue? You might want the ability to traverse it in less than half an hour at rush hour or on a busy Saturday, but more traffic wouldn’t help to reach that goal.

Instead we should develop and institute a design that would increase pedestrian and bicycle access and safety. The ultimate solution would be to take out one lane of parking the entire length of the Avenue and replace it with a divided cycle track and wider sidewalks with more cross walks. I mean the entire length of Dorchester Avenue, all the way to Congress Street. Get that GMA Postal Facility out of the last stretch and re-open that to all traffic, too.

Then I’d take C-11 cops out of their cars and put them on the street on foot or on a bicycle. It’s hard to fight crime while glued to the computer screen in your cruiser or if you’re stuck in the office filing reports. I’d assign the cops to ticketing the scofflaw parkers and drivers that plague the Avenue.

After that, I’d do more of the same on Washington Street, Blue Hill Avenue, Norfolk Street, River Street, Neponset Avenue, Adams Street, Freeport Street. Ashmont Street, Talbot Avenue, Harvard Avenue, Bowdoin Street, Geneva Avenue, Hancock Street, Columbia Road, Dudley Street and Mass Ave. Then I’d watch the automobile traffic disperse and the air quality improve along with our overall health and well being as more of us ride our bikes or walk instead of jumping in the car to run a local errand.

Finally, we should find a way to get Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods or Foodies to ignore their demographic studies and find a spot in the area. Certainly no one has gone broke thinking the best of Dorchester’s fine taste and consumer needs since I’ve lived here. The successful businesses on the Avenue are generally testament to that.

For those who want more auto-centric answers, I would suggest there are plenty of nice towns on the South Shore to check out. If you go, good luck getting down Route 53, Route 139 or Route 3A during rush hour or on a Saturday afternoon. Dorchester Avenue is tame by comparison and easier to fix too!

Phil Lindsay
Barrington Road