Critical connection under Park Drive still in limbo
In the longer term, the City of Boston hopes to continue the path a short distance westward to complete a car-free connection to the Riverway under the Park Drive overpass.
That short connection, all on publicly-owned land, would let trail users avoid dangerous crossings on Park Drive and the Riverway, and it would create a safer, faster walking route between the Longwood Medical Area and the MBTA's regional rail system.
But, as we reported in 2019, MBTA officials are reluctant to allow public access to that area because the T sometimes uses the area under the Park Drive overpass as a staging area for Green Line track maintenance.
New Carlton St. Footbridge connects Emerald Necklace to Brookline, B.U. Bridge
A short distance to the west, the Town of Brookline recently completed its rehabilitation of the historic Carlton Street footbridge, which spans the Green Line tracks to connect residential neighborhoods of eastern Brookline to the Fenway area.
The short link considerably upgrades a well-used, north-south bike route between Cambridge and the Longwood Medical Area.
Carlton, Ivy, and Essex Streets (indicated by the dotted green line in the map above) are all low-traffic routes with contraflow bike lanes to connect bike traffic to the Boston University Bridge into Cambridge to the north.
In addition to wheelchair-accessible ramps, the stairs up to the bridge also include bike channels, which are intended to let bicycle users roll their bikes next to them as they climb up or down:
As a practical matter, though, the channels have been anchored too close to the railing to be useful. When we visited on Wednesday, your editor found that it was impossible to use the bike channels without the bike's handlebars and pedals getting caught on the adjacent railing.
StreetsblogMASS reader Ken Carlson, who visited the bridge when it opened last weekend, told us that he was able to point out the problem to an engineer on the site. That engineer reportedly expressed a willingness to fix the problem by adding more clearance between it and the railings.