Notes from Charlestown: Touchdown!

11/15/2011 Uncategorized


Back in April, I wrote about the ARRA-funded North Bank Bridge – a 700-ft long, 12-ft wide steel sinusoidal truss ped/bike bridge linking Cambridge to Charlestown. At that time, all that were visible were a few disconnected supports sticking out of the river and ground, making it difficult to discern how the bridge would take shape.  But take shape it has! Over the summer, the bridge has gradually appeared, a roller coaster-inspired form that very carefully negotiates the infrastructure and existing buildings clustered around North Point.  Snaking its way across Miller’s River, the bridge recently touched down on Boston soil.

I typically see the bridge during exploratory bike rides on the weekends or evenings, but yesterday morning I decided to stop by en route to work. As luck would have it, the crew was hard at work on the associated landscape improvements (a not insignificant part of the project). There I met Arthur, a self-professed “PR guy” and the supervisor in charge. Distracting him with my bike, I made inquiries about when the bridge might open to the general public. “They’re saying Maaahrch,” Arthur told me. Good news for those seeking alternative ways to make a Cambridge-Boston crossing.

The timing might also be right for the latest map-based offering from Google, previewed in today’s New York Times.  Not unlike street view, Google has developed a “Trike, a panoramic camera system with nine lenses mounted on an oversize tricycle. The company, which already offers 360-degree street-level views of New York City and other cities, has turned its attention to parks, as well as other locations inaccessible by car. The Trike has been wheeling through hard-to-reach places across the globe, mapping them and then offering online Street View tours on Google Maps that let the would-be parkgoer mouse-click along a path.”

While nice to know the bridge might be open for virtual rides, I’m eager to test it out in person.

– Corey