Eyes on the Street: Room to Breathe on DCR Parkways
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.
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:
Thank you to @MassDCR for closing off Day Blvd in Southie off to cars. Makes it so much easier to practice social distancing on this lovely day. PS if we could keep this up once this pandemic passes, I wouldn’t be opposed. pic.twitter.com/bYInZFOAvL
— Nevin Lorden (@NevinLorden) April 12, 2020
Parkman Drive along Jamaica Pond:
— Peter Cheung (@bostonaruban) April 11, 2020
THINGS YOURS TRULY NEVER HOPED TO SEE.. THE CLOSING OF PARKMAN DRIVE. APRIL 12. Now why does it take a catastrophe for government to do the right thing? pic.twitter.com/VJetuH8qnz
— RH (@Rheath1Heath) April 11, 2020
Greenough Blvd. in Watertown:
— Brendan Kearney (@BrendanJKearney) April 13, 2020
Kids were biking and elderly folk were walking in the middle of Greenough Blv.
Plenty of room for distancing.
Only downside is that we aren’t doing more of this. And that it isn’t permanent. pic.twitter.com/E60ueN3JEv
— Michael Scarlett (@mscarlett13) April 13, 2020
Fellsway West in Medford:
Reminder that @MassDCR is still temporarily banning the operating of automobiles along a portion of Fellsway West, to give visitors to Sheepsfold some figurative and literal breathing room. Let's make this permanent! Parkways are for people! 😁 https://t.co/Or9fHnrLtW pic.twitter.com/zG20bdVMP8
— Melrose Ped/Bike (@MelrosePedBike) April 12, 2020
Today, I ran (with a mask) along Fellsway W. which DCR partially closed for pedestrians — I can't imagine ever running adjacent to I-93 in any other circumstances. But today it wasn't so bad.
— Marshall Moutenot (@marsh) April 13, 2020