Eyes on the Street: Room to Breathe on DCR Parkways

A person riding a bike enjoys plenty of room on a section of Day Boulevard that was closed to car traffic for the weekend of April 11-12. Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.
A person riding a bike enjoys plenty of room on a section of Day Boulevard that was closed to car traffic for the weekend of April 11-12. Photo courtesy of the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation.

This weekend, the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR) closed off segments of several Boston-area park roads to give people more room to recreate with safe physical distancing in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic.

While a number of local officials have been reluctant to endorse outdoor recreation in the midst of the pandemic, the CDC and other public health agencies are also encouraging people to “exercise regularly” and local parks have been busy.

These new limits on car traffic are aimed at reducing park crowding by limiting access to parking areas, while also opening up wide roadways for park users to spread out away from busy trails. Chickatawbut Road in the Blue Hills Reservation between Milton and Braintree will be closed to cars indefinitely, and a long section of Fellsway West between Stoneham and Medford will be closed on weekends.

The agency also set up construction barrels to shut out car traffic on sections of Day Boulevard in South Boston, Parkman Drive in Jamaica Plain, and Greenough Boulevard in Watertown this weekend.

In a press statement, the agency said that “after the weekend, DCR will evaluate the effectiveness” of those closures.

From social media reports over the weekend, DCR seems to have succeeded – while also giving kids and adults a tantalizing look at how much more green space their parks could have with fewer cars around.

Day Blvd. in South Boston:

Parkman Drive along Jamaica Pond:

Construction barrels block cars and a sign encourages park users to stay 6 feet apart on Parkman Drive next to Jamaica Pond on April 11, 2020. Photo courtesy of Sarah Freeman.
Construction barrels block cars and a sign encourages park users to stay 6 feet apart on Parkman Drive next to Jamaica Pond on April 11, 2020. Photo courtesy of Sarah Freeman.

Greenough Blvd. in Watertown:

Fellsway West in Medford:

 

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