The Last Streetcar to Arborway

Saturday, December 28, 1985

It was the last streetcar, or was it? Stepping off the car at South and Custer streets that very early December morning certainly had a death-like feel to it. It was winter, it was cold, and it was dark as the door of the car closed behind me. I stepped onto the sidewalk and watched the two-car train of Presidential Conference Cars (PCCs as they were called) move off into the distance toward Forest Hills. As it rounded a curve in South Street heading to its final destination at Arborway, the sound of its wheels on the tracks echoed off the three-decker houses that framed its route on either side.

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DCR Working on Additional Design Alternative for Arborway Improvement Project; Will Tell Public About It In January

The acting commissioner of the Department of Conservation and Recreation recently announced that due to public feedback they've been working on a fourth design alternative for the Arborway Parkways Improvement Project. In a letter addressed to stakeholders, Acting Commissioner Stephanie Cooper said the new alternative design won't be provided until an as of yet unannounced mid-January meeting. Currently there are two traffic rotaries: Kelley Circle by Jamaica Pond and Murray Circle on Centre Street by the Arnold Arboretum. One proposal would keep both circles, one would remove Kelley Circle, and one would remove both circles. DCR announced three alternative design plans to update the Arborway in November 2020.

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Rush hour at Murray Circle on Monday, May 17, 2021.

State Blames Arborway Gridlock on Ill-Timed Traffic Light

Traffic engineers have changed the timing on a light near Murray Circle, a tweak they say should ease gridlock for car drivers. The state recently painted lanes at JP's largest rotary as part of an overhaul of the whole Arborway. The change has won wide acclaim among bicyclists but raised blood pressure among drivers. The gridlock has been worst along Centre Street from the Faulkner Hospital to Murray Circle. In a press release Friday, the Department of Conservation and Recreation said they've received "some complaints about congestion on the Arborway and Centre Street northbound in the afternoon rush hour."

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Rush hour at Murray Circle on Monday, May 17, 2021.

New Murray Circle, Arborway Lane Markings Spark Anger, Delight

At evening rush hour on Monday, the cars inching into JP's busiest rotary moved slower than a woman pushing a stroller along the sidewalk. Bikes, however, zoomed through via a new bike lane.  

Arborway Cycletrack! The broken link in the Emerald Necklace bicycle network has been eliminated! @EmNecklaceBos @bostonbikeunion @MassBike @StreetsBoston @StreetsblogMASS pic.twitter.com/clPBy9y8r0
— Peter Cheung (@bostonaruban) May 18, 2021

Murray Circle, the rotary that links Centre Street and the Arborway, received new lane markings this week.

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My Ten Favorite Streets to Walk in Jamaica Plain

Alex Cox recently accomplished an amazing feat -- he walked every single street in Boston.  

Cox is currently a Master in Urban Planning candidate at the Harvard Graduate School of Design. He recently achieved his long-term goal to visit every street in Boston by foot or by bike, and holds the Guinness World Record for fastest time to travel to every MBTA station. A long-time resident of the Fenway-Kenmore area, he now lives in Somerville. Here are his 10 favorite streets to walk in Jamaica Plain:

Jamaica Plain has always held a special place in my heart, because it was the first neighborhood of Boston that I ever lived in.

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Arborway Parkway Improvements Virtual Public Meeting Oct. 21

DCR will be hosting a virtual public meeting to discuss the Arborway Parkway Improvements Project on Oct. 21. During the meeting, slides showing the three proposed design alternatives for the Arborway Parkway Improvement Project. The public may ask questions using the “chat” function during and after the presentations. The presentation will be viewable after the public meeting on DCR’s website, and available by clicking here.

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Car Lanes Going Bye Bye for New Buffered Bikes Lanes on Arborway as Early as This Fall

While the Department of Conservation and Recreation work on a longterm plan to improve the Arborway, some short-term changes, including buffered bike lanes are coming as early as this fall. 

"We are proposing to remove travel lanes in three locations. Before making this
proposal, we carefully reviewed pre-pandemic traffic volumes (on which we have collected data on several occasions over many years) for the corridor," wrote Jeffrey Parenti, Deputy Chief Engineer for DCR. The short-term improvements could also begin in spring 2021. Parenti provided a list of short-term improvements and the intended goals of the changes. The changes include:

Adding clear lane lines to Murray Circle.

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