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Boston’s old Northern Avenue bridge: Who should get priority when it reopens?

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Cars, buses, bikes, feet—interested parties circle Seaport-to-downtown span

Capture Light/Shutterstock

In 2014, the city completely closed the old Northern Avenue Bridge between the Seaport District and Boston’s downtown waterfront. The decrepit span—closed to vehicles since 1997—was in danger of collapse.

One day it’ll reopen, though, in a new-and-improved form (which may or may not incorporate elements of the original). What then? Will the bridge prioritize the movement of pedestrians, bikes, mass transit, or cars—or some amalgam of these?

That’s the big debate right now as the city launches a redevelopment of the bridge that could cost as much as $100 million. Per the Globe’s Tim Logan:

The debate is playing out in City Hall and within a task force named by Mayor Martin J. Walsh to help plan the new bridge. Advocates for motorists and pedestrians are pressing their cases, while local businesses argue for a bus option to help commuters bypass the Seaport’s notorious traffic. Even consultants funded by the city have come to conflicting conclusions.

A decision on which conveyances will get priority is expected before 2019 as is a preliminary design. Stay tuned.