Could these streets be made for walking? The Boston Planning & Development Agency and Boston Transportation Department recently released findings + feedback from this summer’s Copley Connect program. Spoiler alert: It’s good news for pedestrians.
⤵️ In case you missed it
For 10 days in June 2022, the city closed a portion of Dartmouth Street (where the Central Library + Copley Square connect) to non-emergency vehicles.
The space was re-imagined as a pedestrian paradise with community programming like cafe seating, block parties, and outdoor yoga.
📊 Breaking down the findings
Community stakeholders met with project staff over the summer, and a public engagement campaign resulted in 1000+ responses. Here’s what Bostonians had to say:
- 62% of respondents were frequent users of Copley Square, on both a daily + weekly basis.
- 72% of people has a very positive opinion about transforming the street into a car-free public pedestrian space.
- Most respondents said they were highly likely to visit Dartmouth Street if it became a permanent public pedestrian space.
The project analysis also considered specific traffic data and time impacts along Berkeley Street, Massachusetts Avenue, and other connected streets.
Overall, the study found that drive times remained more or less the same as usual, though drivers experienced a ~40-second delay during rush hour.
👟 The next steps
Following the pilot program, transportation planners will study more permanent improvements to the street.
The project team is already pitching measures that could help lessen the impacts on driving time, from providing more northbound travel options to improving the existing bike lane.