Good news about getting to and from downtown Worcester

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    Finally some good news about getting to and from downtown

    UPDATE: In response to a Facebook post about this news, City Councilor George Russell, Chair of the Public Works Committee, wrote that the meeting scheduled for Wednesday has been postponed until Tuesday, Aug. 6. 

    Getting to, from and around downtown Worcester is no picnic and it will get worse in the coming year(s). Drivers currently have had to navigate, in no particular order:

    • The reconfiguration of Main Street, including the rebuilding of Federal Square
    • Construction on Green and Harding streets in the Canal District
    • The resurfacing of Pleasant Street from Main to Park Ave.
    • Pearl Street one-way downhill to accommodate renovations to the Pearl/Elm Garage

    In addition, there’s the looming dual nightmares of the Kelley Square reconstruction and concurrent repaving of Grafton Street, along with the forever congestion that will be caused by prohibiting left turns off I-290 at Kelley Square up Vernon Street.

    With all this going on it’s hard to find good news about getting in and around downtown.

    Until now.

    The good news in Green Island Boulevard, and it’s a big deal.

    When completed, Green Island Boulevard will connect Madison Street and Quinsigamond Avenue via Lamartine Street.

    In announcing it April 29 as part of a larger investment, City Manager Ed Augustus said, ““Nobody’s not going to know where Green Island is or how important Green Island is to the city of Worcester,” according to an article in Worcester Magazine.

    Green Island Boulevard will be among a number of Polar Park-related items that will be taken up by the City Council’s Public Works Committee at its meeting on Tuesday, Aug. 6.


    So how does a road being built ostensibly to support development of and around Polar Park become such a big deal? Let’s take a look.

    Long before the city was negotiating with the Pawtucket Red Sox to relocate to Worcester, it had signaled its intention to deal with the problematic intersection of Southbridge Street and Quinsigamond Ave.


    Fixing Southbridge Street and Quinsigamond Ave. was on the city's radar more than a year before the city started negotiating with the Pawtucket Red Sox

    The boundaries of the Worcester Redevelopment Authority’s Downtown Urban Revitalization Plan in 2016 included that intersection. In fact, it was such a priority that “Improve traffic patterns and signalization at Quinsigamond Avenue and Southbridge Street” was ranked below just the changes to Federal Square, ahead of even the Midtown Mall (22 Front Street).


    From the April 2016 Downtown Urban Revitalization Plan

    So how does Green Island Boulevard help that?

    If you’re at Southbridge and Madison streets and want to get to Quinsigamond Ave. or Route 146, you have two choices: continue down Southbridge Street with all the other traffic headed to South Worcester or head down Madison through Kelley Square to jump on 290 for the 146 exit. Green Island Boulevard offers a third option that relieves congestion on both of those routes.


    Moreover, taking a right on Green Island Boulevard before reaching Kelley Square gives you pretty much a straight shot all the way to Quinsigamond Ave.

    (Worth nothing that Gold Street used to serve this very purpose. Alas, the Public Works Committee meeting will include consideration of discontinuing Gold Street.)

    It’s also possible Green Island Boulevard could relieve Kelley Square traffic from Harding and Green streets if people heading to 146 continue down Madison to Green Island Boulevard rather than fight the Peanut and 290 traffic.

    Now, what works one way works the other. 

    Looking downtown from Lamartine and Hermon streets, Green Island Boulevard will run parallel to the train tracks and connect with Madison Street

    Having a second, and perhaps more desirable, entry to downtown from 146 should reduce the numbers of cars that travel the 146-290-Kelley Square route while at the same time not further congesting Quinsigamond Ave. at Southbridge Street.

    And it may not just be the easier access that pulls traffic down Lamartine Street and Green Island Boulevard. 

    Fronting Green Island Boulevard will be Madison Properties’ promised development. It was be shocking if the buildings fronting the boulevard do no include retail. And, if traffic does indeed flow from Green Island Boulevard to Lamartine to Quinsigamond Ave, it’s easy to imagine property owners on Lamartine Street, all of whom pretty much hold winning lottery tickets at this point, deciding to cash in and further development -- retail or mixed used -- coming to the area.

    Green Island Boulevard will connect to Lamartine Street, giving commuters a straight shot to Quinsigamond Ave.

    Historic apartment would come with eye-popping price (July 21)

    Nightmare intersection to be transformed (July 20)

    Route 12 in West Boylston closer to adding two new restaurants (June 30)

    New bakery part of $1M building project (June 23)

    Long vacant downtown building to get nearly $9M overhaul (June 17)

    College buys downtown building for $6.9M (June 1)

    First food vendor at Worcester Public Market? (May 28)

    Door closed on city reopening downtown shortcut (May 26)

    Ryan Reynolds' summer blockbuster to film in Worcester next week (May 16)

    Another big change on Lake Ave. as former ITAM Club sold (May 15)

    Demolition of former Four Seasons can proceed, 4 houses planned (May 14)

    Pot shop planned next to popular breakfast spot (May 12)

    Complaints against Worcester businesses in 2019 (May 9)

    Historic restaurant building targeted for demolition (May 7)

    Midtown Mall sold, city wants to hear new owner's plans (May 5)

    Thanks a million! (May 2)

    The answer to this question could determine the fate of Kelley Square redesign (April 28)

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1 comment
  • Lynne Clark
    Lynne Clark Are they EVER going to fix Pleasant St from West St to Park Ave ??!! Especially near the Pickle Barrel ? Its just awful...
    July 28, 2019 - 1 likes this