The Esplanade Association is encouraging those planning on visiting the Esplanade tomorrow, Friday, Oct. 7, to be on the lookout for the implementation of its Pathway Safety Improvement Project.
Traffic-safety striping will then be painted on park pathways, resulting in temporary lane closures on the Esplanade at the Massachusetts Avenue ramp, at the Esplanade Playspace near the Arthur Fiedler Footbridge, and in the area of the Fanny Appleton Footbridge.
“We’ll paint only one part of the focus areas so one pathway will always be open, and at no time will the pathways be fully closed,” said Alison Badrigian, EA director of projects and planning, “We’ll paint one pathway at a time to allow for continuous access.”
In 2018, EA commissioned transportation planning firm Nelson/Nygaard to conduct and analysis of the Esplanade’s pathway network and prepare plans to improve safety for the park’s visitors. And in November of the following year, the Esplanade Pathway Safety and Improvement Plan was completed.
“The Plan provides an assessment of conditions, such as current and historical landscape elements, pathway surface materials, and hazards at pathway intersections, as well as a set of potential policies, projects, and initiatives informed by best-practice multi-use pathway design,” according to the EA’s website.
The design and implementation of a set of recommendations recommended in the Plan were originally slated to get underway in 2020 before COVID struck.
“The pandemic put the project on pause for a couple of years,” said Badrigian, until EA issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the project last year.
This resulted in the current partnership on the project, which now includes EA and the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), along with the main contractor, Stoss Landscape Urbanism, a Boston-based landscape design and urban planning firm; and Neighborways Design, a Greater Boston design firm specializing in traffic calming and creating more welcoming streets.
While this is only the first step in implementing the Plan, additional projects are expected to follow in coming years.
“We hope to see more projects in the years ahead to encourage yielding and sharing, and to add to the regional network of multi-modal greenways,” said Badrigian.