A bill to depress Memorial Drive several feet and build an overpass above the road at Boylston St. will be reported favorably by the Massachusetts Senate's Metropolitan Affairs Committee today.
The proposal by Sen. Francis X. McCann of Cambridge calls for the construction of similar overpasses at River Ave, and Western Ave, in order to avoid the "grinding halts" that pile up traffic on Memorial Drive during the rush hours.
If McCann's bill is passed by the Senate and approved by the Metropolitan District Commission, it would turn Mem Drive into a high-speed route to Boston similar to Storrow Drive across the Charles River. The bill also calls for an extension of Memorial Drive behind the Mt. Auburn Hospital and as far as the Watertown line.
At Boylston St., McCann proposes to depress Mem Drive and construct an overpass at about the same height as the Lars Anderson Bridge which crosses the Charles from Soldiers Field. Although the overpass may "knock out a few trees along the River," McCann maintains that it "will not disrupt the landscaping or be high enough to block out light from Eliot House."
The small tract of land in front of Eliot House's "flat front" would be used to construct a direct exit from Memorial Drive to Boylston St. McCann noted that when Eliot was built 20 years ago, a corner of empty land was left because the City anticipated the need for a traffic circle there
"Because of the volume of traffic on the Drive, a traffic circle is useless," McCann said, "but an overpass would help to keep automobiles moving."
McCann reiterated his belief that the monumental traffic jams further up Boylston St. towards the Square can be eliminated "if the City will remove the kiosk and the MTA outlets in the middle of the street."
"The subway entrances and exits must be moved to the sidewalks and the center island destroyed," he claimed.