History of Fort Hill, Part 2 (2008). Mural by: Loray McDuffie, Taylor Saintable, Edwin Perez-Clancy, Christine O'Connell, Julia Andreasson, Jorge Benitez, Divah Payne, Lucy Saintcyr, Laua Dedonato, Gregg Bernstein.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Day time traffic and parking on Fort Hill's Centre Street

Traffic and parking on Fort Hill's Centre Street is different day to night.

This photograph, taken around 9:30 am, shows commuters beginning to stack their cars up on the north-bound side of Centre Street adjacent to Fort Avenue. Three cars parked here between the time this photo and the next were taken. The driver of the latest car seemed to be a Roxbury Community College (RCC) student.

Centre Street during the day
During the day there is substantial traffic on Centre Street, including MBTA and Boston Public School buses. Commuters heavily use Centre Street for commuter parking. There are those who commute to RCC as well as those automobile users who park and then walk down to the Roxbury Crossing T station. It is easy to spot the commuters, hurriedly attempting failed U-turns (that turn into dangerous three-point turns) as they cruise for the remaining spots.

It is strange to tell, but true, that there are commuters from Highland Park who shave five minutes off their commute by driving—instead of walking—from their Highland Park home to park on Centre Street before walking the rest of the way to the Orange line portion of their commute.

On Fridays and other Muslim holy days, worshipers at the mosque also take up on-street parking on Centre Street, Linwood Street, and beyond.

Weirdly, because of the Ruggles station shuttle to Fenway park, enterprising Red Sox fans have also used the Centre Street neighborhood for parking on games days.

On days when regional and state-wide track and field competitions are held at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center, contestants and their supporters use Centre Street for parking. In addition, diesel buses that are used to transport athletes from all over eastern Massachusetts, and which park in the Cedar Street RCC parking lot, labor up Cedar Street and then, turning left, head towards Dudley to turn onto Malcolm X Boulevard to pick these athletes up after the competition.

During the day, the street is episodically hectic. The traffic lights at Eliot Square tends to slow folk down, discouraging to a limited extent 'cut-through' traffic that really belongs on Columbus Avenue before turning down Malcolm X or Melnea Cass boulevards.

The adjacent photo depicts the Centre St/Cedar St/Fort Ave intersection.

This traffic light at Cedar Street is a positive life saver. It took the neighborhood ten years to finally get the city to install it, but it has tamed a very dangerous intersection.

However, at the crest of the hill at the partially blind corner at Linwood Street there are frequent accidents and many close encounters.

The other significant commuter route is Heath to Centre to Highland to Marcella Street. This is used by folk coming from Brookline and Jamaica Plain to cut through to Townsend Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard and on to other parts of Roxbury and Dorchester.

The #41 Centre/Eliot bus to Jamaica Plain uses Centre Street as does the less frequent #14 Heath/Dudley bus. The other significant bus traffic, as previous noted, relates to the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center.

There is significant day time foot traffic as resident pedestrian commuters of Fort Hill walk down Fort Avenue, Linwood Street, and Highland Avenue, joining with the automobile commuters, and down Gardner and Cedar streets to RCC and to the Roxbury Crossing T station. The stream is reversed in the evening as folk trudge back up the hill home—and to their cars.

Over the years the number of bicyclists using Centre Street has increased. In the seasonable months one can see (and hear) the occasional skateboarder and in-line skater.

The next post will address traffic and parking in the Centre Street neighborhood in the evenings and at night.


  1. Consider one new regular reader officially signed up. You live in a great part of the city.

  2. Dear Whalehead King, I'm sorry to reply to your comment so late. I've been psychotically grinding out posts on this misbegotten project, so I missed yours.

    I'm pleased you like Fort Hill. I'm kind of fond of it myself.